A Book Review of Nora Bateson’s “Combining”

How possibilities bring things together

Kenneth Silvestri
ILLUMINATION-Curated

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“Combining” Nora Bateson ©

It is not that there is no wish to meet the deeper needs — it is that healing cannot be divided or measured by department. The confusion is compounding. (from Nora Bateson’s poem, “Hallway of Hallways”)

In the mid-seventies, I applied to the interdisciplinary department of Family and Community Studies doctoral program at Columbia University, intentionally submitting a poem in lieu of the formal application at the suggestion of the beat poet Allen Ginsberg. My soon-to-be mentor Paul Byers, (who had a working relationship with Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson) convinced admissions not to pass on me while my application was “not familiar” he urged them to accept me on probation.

My eventual dissertation committee, representing different disciplines, described my research of how Double Binds stifled educational and political reform as challenging and “unfamiliar to us, but profound.” This is where I would like to begin my review of Nora Bateson’s brilliant book Combining, (Triarchy Press, 2023) about the need for communication that is ecological and fosters possibilities.

To start with, Nora believes that “The familiar is not the only way.”
She uses stories and artistic examples to explain how all the contexts in our world are…

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Kenneth Silvestri
ILLUMINATION-Curated

Dr. Kenneth Silvestri, is a psychotherapist, certified homeopath, poet, and author of A Wider Lens; Train Romance; and Legacy Poems, www.drkennethsilvestri.com