Gregory Bateson: research invitation

Jerry Russell

Staff member
We are planning a big article about Gregory Bateson. Here's what we wrote about him in our recent post about Catcher in the Rye:

Gregory Bateson had established a scholarly relationship with hypnotist Milton Erickson as early as 1932. (As we will be demonstrating in a new article to appear shortly, Bateson was another key figure in the early development of the OSS and the CIA and their program to create the counter culture.) Bateson would have been fascinated with Erickson’s research, which involved the idea that hypnotically effective trance states could be established in the course of ordinary life activities such as reading, talking to a therapist, or watching motion pictures, especially if intense and traumatic emotional states could be evoked by the experience. During such trance states, Erickson believed, the subconscious mind of the the target could be accessed by means of hypnotic suggestion.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming
This idea was later taken up by Bateson proteges Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who commercialized it as the system of “Neuro-Linguistic Programming”, described in their 1975 work “The Structure of Magic“. They drew on Noam Chomsky’s theory of transformational grammar to explain that the subliminal messages could be formed within a deep linguistic structure lurking beneath the surface interpretation.
Does anybody have information on Bateson? Not the easy stuff at Wikipedia, but anything deeper that connects him to CIA or MK-Ultra during the postwar years.
Thanks, mad1, for the interesting history at Counterpunch. Perhaps Timothy Leary really was fascinated with LSD and hoped it would have positive effects, and tried to use the CIA to his benefit, but wound up being used instead.

If there are any links to Bateson in the Counterpunch article, I'm not sharp enough to pick up on them. The main topics are Dr. George Scott, Dr. Henry Murray, Dr. Leary, and the negative effects of their experimentation on their many "research" targets.
To be clear I was posting to the "Manufacturing the Deadheads" thread not to your specific request on Bateson. For me there were a number of revelations in the article perhaps the most interesting the Unabomber connection. I remember his brother's comments to the press at the time about Ted's brilliance and his problems ever since his college days.