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Gregory Bateson's “Uncovery” Of Ecological Aesthetics

  • Peter Harries-Jones
Part of the Biosemiotics book series (BSEM, volume 2)

UN reports generally concentrate upon quantitative analysis of the direct drivers of ecology on global poverty and ecosystem change, but the contributors to the Millennial Ecosystem Assessment (MA) have initiated a discussion of ‘indirect drivers’ – the relation of culture, aesthetics and spirituality to global climate change – and, for the first time, have made this qualitative evidence endogenous to their models. The MA validates ecological aesthetics as a science of quality but finds difficulty in presenting evidence in support of its claim. Ecological aesthetics has achieved prominence at local level as well, among those in forestry management of national, provincial and state parks in the United States and Canada. Yet they too find difficulty in assessing evidence; indeed their attempts to derive a match between perceptual categories of aesthetic beauty and ecological sustainability have generally failed. The qualitative science of ecological aesthetics which Bateson developed towards the end of his life offers several avenues out of the near impasse in these two cases. Bateson studies ecological aesthetics at a second order level, stressing the contextual difference between industrial society’s understanding of basic categories of space, time and connectivity, and the same categories perceived from a more ‘holistic’ point of view – ecological aesthetics as a form of “conservation of time”.

Keywords

Climate change difference as second-order event ecological indicators meta-pattern sustainability and aesthetics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Harries-Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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