Tearing and Mending

Nora Bateson
34 min readOct 18, 2022

Transcontextual Learning and ‘Healing’

Nora Bateson Oct 18, 2022

“The fabrics of interaction are going to be torn and they’re going to mend. And after all, we are only a model of what we are trying to talk about, and it would be absolute nonsense to try to construct that model as though it did not contain the tearings of fabric.” — Gregory Bateson (p 293)

Can you hear the sound of fabric ripping, hypocrisies bursting out in little torn spots here and there?

Through these raw holes, language is beginning to be woven deeply around the sensitive and complex presuppositions about day-to-day life that must be brought into the realm of our conversations. Many established patterns of communication appear to be pixelating, unable to hold the complexity that will no longer be silenced.

News media, academic research, political discourse, market analysis, and legal systems… are hamstrung by their own capitalization, losing credibility by association with the very history they were previously accredited. It will not be easy to de-contaminate these patterns of communication, nor will it be convenient to re-think the ways in which their mutual influence has brought goodness into the world alongside exploitation and a history of horror. In trying to address these conflictions it becomes clear that indeed these conversations are the stuff of both survival and destruction; running in the same veins, carried in the same blood. Prying them apart is not an option.

Many beautiful minds and hearts at work are now trying desperately to meet the dangerous era of many interlocked crises. With each passing day it seems that the possibility of collectively meeting these crises is undermined by increasing ideological polarities. Ideological divisiveness is turning family members against each other, and breaking communities. The divisions spread like cancer, repelling people that might otherwise be ready to help one another in these times of need. The word ‘trauma’ is soaking through almost every conversation. So much so that it’s meaning is becoming confusing. People are holding profound brokenness in their beings. The need for people to be able to need people as well as be needed is looming large in the face of upcoming decades of social structures being undone by political, economic, and ecological events.

But — seemingly we cannot talk to each other right now without feeding the divisions. The past has…



Nora Bateson

Filmmaker, writer, educator, lecturer, President of the International Bateson Institute. Books: Small Arcs of Larger Circles 2016, Warm Data *upcoming 2019