Moulton Lava

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Location: New England, United States

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Quadruple Bind

Gregory Bateson wrote about the Double Bind.

I'd like to talk about the Quadruple Bind, in the spirit of the Dining Philosophers.

On one side of the dinner table is a German Philosopher who values Obedience. He is annoyed by Lack of Obedience.

On another side of the table is a French Philosopher who values Empathy. He is grieved by Lack of Empathy.

On the third side of the table is an Italian Philosopher who values Grace. He is troubled by the Lack of Grace.

On the fourth side of the table is an American Philosopher who values Symmetry. He is disturbed by the Lack of Symmetry.

Each of the four philosophers wants to elevate their issue above the others, and they are ensnared in a tragic deadlock.

There is a fifth philosopher, a Martian who values Insight, and who is perplexed by the Lack of Insight.

He's not at the table, because he realizes that none of the other philosophers have the foggiest idea what he's talking about.

There is also a sixth philosopher from the Alkali Desert who is out in the kitchen making a pot of soup, and reading the comic strips as she stirs the pot.


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