online: 24 august 2019
modified: 22 august 2019
22 august 2019 collective
my first thought is that collective action is seldom achieved . . . it
is more likely that two people who think they are collaborating are in
fact failing to do so . . . perhaps because of the difficulty of who and
what one is . . . this being a prerequisite of acting together . . .
unless there is some external medium which brings a continuity of its
own . . . what do i mean by this? (it could be nonsense or it could be
command and obedience being one such self deception . . . (and i am sure
there are others) . . . what i am thinking of here is music and rhythm .
. . and such formal characteristics that enable two or more people to
collaborate without something imposed from outside . . . for instance
choirs, teams, dances, wars, competitions and probably many othe
external ways of supporting collaboration . . .
i like to think that my work could enable others to collaborate when
this has been impossible . . .
and here i am reminded of some words of Edwin Schlossberg:
The skill in writing is to provide a context in which other people can
*Edwin Schlossberg, "For My Father," in About Bateson: essays on Gregory
Bateson, ed. John Brockman (New York: Dutton, 1977), 157.
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