Faith and Fight
Faith and Fight
This chapter explores double-bind theory and the concept of power, including the sexist tendency among proponents to blame the mother. Similarly, radicals, liberals, and secular existentialists challenged the “tragic turn” as bourgeois accommodation to status quo power relations. The holism of systemic approaches foregrounded the old problem of whether nature supplies an ethic. Bateson and the double-bind research team struggled to account for power in the schizophrenic family in a way that blamed neither victim nor victimizer. Bateson's recognition of progressive stalemate in the schizophrenic family drew on the systems theory concept of runaway. Runaway in arms race policies, in turn, reflected political and theoretical conflicts between Norbert Weiner and John von Neumann, the leading mathematicians of the Macy Conferences on Cybernetics. In two essays, Bateson critiques the centrality of power in von Neumann's game theory. Meanwhile, Bateson's conflicts with the more pragmatic research team members, such as Jay Haley, lead him to cast about for a new direction. His eulogy for Frieda Fromm-Reichmann echoed a similar debate over political quietism between Reinhold Niebuhr and Richard Niebuhr.
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