Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Technical difficulties

What do you do when the hard drive on your computer fails out of the blue. After I had patted myself on the back for having a backup (not as complete as I thought at the time, but all my user data was safe), I decided to spend a week reading.

In the past two weeks, I have started to read, read or finished reading:

Conversations with Milton H. Erickson, M.D. (Vol. 1)
The Art of Changing Brains (Zull)
Train Your Mind to Change Your Brain (Begley)
Angels Fear (Gregory Bateson and Mary Catherine Bateson)
Saving the Appearances (Owen Barfield)
Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. (Bandler/Grinder)

I also previewed two books by favourite children's authors before passing them along to a young friend.

All of the books are quite specifically about the relationships between self, perception and whatever exists outside the self to be perceived or influence perception. Barfield, Bateson and Erickson all describe these relationships as they perceived them about thirty to fifty years ago. Zull & Begley present much more recent science. Interestingly, it does not seem to me that science is changing our perceptions of the relationships much - while the stories are now about parts of the brain and neuroplasticity, they are the same stories of momentum and stability and transformation that Erickson tells.

There is much in this choice of reading to suggest that people can find common ground across different generations and across different disciplines. It also suggests that there are real, significant distances to be crossed between the desire for precision (at the expense of communication) and the willingness to risk precision in order to find common ground.

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