Mary Catherine Bateson quotes

  • We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Educational #Memorable #Willing

  • Fear is not a good teacher. The lessons of fear are quickly forgotten.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Teacher #Lessons #Forgotten

  • Sharing is sometimes more demanding than giving.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Knowledge #Giving #Sometimes

  • The timing of death, like the ending of a story, gives a changed meaning to what preceded it.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Change #Death #Giving

  • The family is changing not disappearing. We have to broaden our understanding of it, look for the new metaphors.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Understanding #Looks #Metaphor

  • Insight, I believe, refers to the depth of understanding that comes by setting experiences, yours and mine, familiar and exotic, new and old, side by side, learning by letting them speak to one another.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Believe #Diversity #Understanding

  • What would it be like to have not only color vision but culture vision, the ability to see the multiple worlds of others.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Color #Vision #World

  • Human beings do not eat nutrients, they eat food.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Food #Humans

  • The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Inspirational #Thinking #Stories

  • Of any stopping place in life, it is good to ask whether it will be a good place from which to go on as well as a good place to remain.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Inspirational #Memorable #Goes On

  • Traditionally in American society, men have been trained for both competition and teamwork through sports, while women have been reared to merge their welfare with that of the family, with fewer opportunities for either independence or other team identifications, and fewer challenges to direct competition. In effect, women have been circumscribed within that unit where the benefit of one is most easily believed to be the benefit of all.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Teamwork #Sports #Women

  • ...a disgruntled reflection on my own life as a sort of desperate improvisation in which I was constantly trying to make something coherent from conflicting elements to fit rapidly changing settings.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Reflection #Trying #Elements

  • Orthodox Judaism is a thicket of detailed injunctions, Biblical commandments elaborated during centuries of prohibited proselytizing, functioning to limit interaction with outsiders. At the opposite extreme, Islam, still the most rapidly expanding of faiths, demands little immediate knowledge from those who would convert. The convert is permitted to enter and then to learn by participation, although there are plenty of detailed regulations and abstruse theological ideas to be pursued later, and the regulations do effectively separate believers from nonbelievers.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Biblical #Opposites #Ideas

  • The caretaking has to be done. "Somebody's got to be the mommy." Individually, we underestimate this need, and as a society we make inadequate provision for it. Women take up the slack, making the need invisible as we step in to fill it.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Done #Steps #Needs

  • The past empowers the present, and the sweeping footsteps leading to this present mark the pathways to the future.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Past #Empowering #Pathways

  • We do not need to understand other people and their customs fully to interact with them and learn in the process; it is making the effort to interact without knowing all the rules, improvising certain situations, which allows us to grow.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Knowing #People #Effort

  • Solutions to problems often depend upon how they're defined.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Problem #Solution To A Problem #Solutions

  • Worlds can be found by a child and an adult bending down and looking together under the grass stems or at the skittering crabs in a tidal pool.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Children #Together #Bending

  • Fluidity and discontinuity are central to the reality in which we live.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Reality #Fluidity #Discontinuity

  • Most higher education is devoted to affirming the traditions and origins of an existing elite and transmitting them to new members.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Peace #Tradition #Members

  • The critical question about regret is whether experience led to growth and new learning. Some people seem to keep on making the same mistakes, while others at least make new ones. Regret and remorse can be either paralyzing or inspiring. [p. 199]
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Regret #Mistake #People

  • Rarely is it possible to study all of the instructions to a game before beginning to play, or to memorize the manual before turning on the computer. The excitement of improvisation lies not only in the risk of being involved but in the new ideas, as heady as the adrenaline of performance, that seems to come from nowhere.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Lying #Games #Play

  • Caring can be learned by all human beings, can be worked into the design of every life, meeting an individual need as well as a pervasive need in society.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Memorable #Caring #Design

  • In many ways, constancy is an illusion.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Memorable #Way #Illusion

  • In many ways, constancy is an illusion. After all, our ancestors were immigrants, many of them moving on every few years; today we are migrants in time. Unless teachers can hold up a model of lifelong learning and adaptation, graduates are likely to find themselves trapped into obsolescence as the world changes around them. Of any stopping place in life, it is good to ask whether it will be a good place from which to go on as well as a good place to remain.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Life #Teacher #Moving

  • As you get up in the morning, as you make decisions, as you spend money, make friends, make commitments, you are creating a piece of art called your life.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Life #Morning #Art

  • When any relationship is characterized by difference, particularly a disparity in power, there remains a tendency to model it on the parent-child-relationship. Even protectiveness and benevolence toward the poor, toward minorities, and especially toward women have involved equating them with children.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Peace #Children #Differences

  • There are few things as toxic as a bad metaphor. You can't think without metaphors.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Thinking #Toxic #Metaphor

  • Often continuity is visible only in retrospect.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Perspective #Retrospect #Continuity

  • When parents die, all of the partings of the past are reevoked with the realization that this time they will not return ...
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Past #Parent #Realization

  • Jazz exemplifies artistic activity that is at once individual and communal, performance that is both repetitive and innovative, each participant sometimes providing background support and sometimes flying free.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Music #Time Flies #Support

  • Every loss recapitulates earlier losses, but every affirmation of identity echoes earlier moments of clarity.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Loss #Echoes #Identity

  • Improvisation can be either a last resort or an established way of evoking creativity.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Creativity #Way #Lasts

  • Monotony and repetition are characteristic of many parts of life, but these do not become sources of conscious discomfort until novelty and entertainment are built up as positive experiences.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Change #Entertainment #Novelty

  • I had repeatedly accepted inappropriate burdens, stepping in to do what needed to be done. In retrospect, I think I carried them well, but the cost was that I was chronically overloaded, weary, and short of time for politicking, smoothing ruffled feathers, and simply resting.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Thinking #Cost #Done

  • A glad welcome to this affirmation by a group of psychologists that the self does not stop at the skin nor even with the circle of human relationships but is interwoven with the lives of trees and animals and soil; that caring for the deepest needs of persons and caring for our threatened planet are not in conflict.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Caring #Animal #Self

  • The capacity to combine commitment with skepticism is essential to democracy.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Commitment #Democracy #Politics

  • Goals too clearly defined can become blinkers.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Goal #Blinkers

  • Wherever a story comes from, whether it is a familiar myth or a private memory, the retelling exemplifies the making of a connection from one pattern to another: a potential translation in which narrative becomes parable and the once upon a time comes to stand for some renascent truth. This approach applies to all the incidents of everyday life: the phrase in the newspaper, the endearing or infuriating game of a toddler, the misunderstanding at the office. Our species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Memories #Thinking #Games

  • The Christian tradition was passed on to me as a great rich mixture, a bouillabaisse of human imagination and wonder brewed from the richness of individual lives.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Christian #Imagination #Religion

  • ... as we age we have not only to readdress earlier developmental crises but also somehow to find the way to three affirmations that may seem to conflict. ... We have to affirm our own life. We have to affirm our own death. And we have to affirm love, both given and received.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Love #Age #May

  • Human beings tend to regard the conventions of their own societies as natural, often as sacred.
    -- Mary Catherine Bateson

    #Sacred #Natural #Conventions