Please note that you are REQUIRED TO SUPPORT YOUR IDEAS WITH DIRECT QUOTATIONS. Good paraphrasing (including detailed descriptions of the diagrams) is important too, but there must be at least three direct quotations from the text-based reading for the assignment. Page references must be provided in brackets or by a citation method of your choice.
Please note that, for purposes of the Essay, Korzybski’s Structural-Differential and the associated red-pill/blue-pill diagrams count altogether as one ‘source.’ After all, the ‘pill diagrams are just ‘Bizarro/colonial’ Structural-Differentials. Except for question 4, it is crucial that you fully understand the meanings of the diagrams and relate them in detail to the other source. Your writing process should start from quotations from the readings and precise analysis of the diagrams, not vague ‘feels’ from the audio-lectures.
1. Explain how the political and social dynamics that produced the CBC in the 1920s demonstrate the uniquely explicit relation between blue-pill and red-pill ideas – and also the idea of a ‘no-pill’/ ‘new leaf’ epistemology – in Canada.
Sources: the Structural-Differential, the blue-pill/red-pill diagrams, “Magic in the Air” and “God in the Air” (excerpts from The Microphone Wars) by Knowlton Nash.
2. Explain Gregory Bateson’s theory of natural systems as abstracting systems (with conscious purpose as a kind of extreme and potentially dangerous extension of the abstracting process) with reference to the Structural-Differential and the blue-pill/red-pill diagrams.
Sources: the Structural-Differential, the blue-pill/red-pill diagrams, “Conscious Purpose Versus Nature” (excerpt from Steps to an Ecology of Mind) by Gregory Bateson
3. Drawing on the scientific insights of both the Structural-Differential and Horowitz’s ethological perspectives, explain how the limitations of humans’ sensory capabilities can lead to problems in our relationships with nonhuman animals. Compare and contrast anthropomorphism and Uexküll’s concept of “umwelt” as two different approaches to relating with nonhuman animals across sensory divides.
Sources: the Structural-Differential, the blue-pill/red-pill diagrams, “Umwelt: From the Dog’s Point of Nose” (excerpt from Inside of a Dog) by Alexandra Horowitz
4. Explain the contrast between the human and the Cetacean umwelt. How does the analog- digital relation operate differently in the communication systems of each species (or family in the case of Cetaceans)? How might we more precisely imagine the communicative matrix of the Cetaceans?
Sources: “Umwelt: From the Dog’s Point of Nose” (excerpt from Inside of a Dog) by Alexandra Horowitz, “Some Problems in Cetacean and Other Mammalian Communication” (excerpt from Steps to an Ecology of Mind) by Gregory Bateson
5. The Structural-Differential proposes a semantically (i.e. both sensorily and conceptually) reliable map of the differences between what we say – the label levels – and what we sense – the object level – and between both of those levels and W.I.G.O. – whatever is going on at the Event Level. But Korzybski, though he did advise children should be taught with the structural differential from the age of kindergarten, was not so foolish as to believe an infant would be born with that scientific sense of order.
Explain Daniel Stern’s concept of the Weatherscape as one demonstrating a fundamentally different experience from the sense of order that the Structural-Differential models. Six-week old Joey does not ‘have’ an object level – she IS the object level (and in some sense, almost ‘is’ closer to the Event than we). And yet she (or he, as in Stern’s text) is already developing the epistemological sense we all naturally develop when we learn language. Where do we find the roots of the ability to sense Structure and to Differentiate in the midst of the Weatherscape?
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