Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Double Bind

Gregory Bateson, who influenced Felix Guattari, used the idea of the double bind as a potential cause for schizophrenia. It goes like this, apparently:

'Grown-up-in-authority to child: "Speak when you're spoken to" and "Don't talk back!"
These phrases have such time-honoured status that the contradiction between them is rarely perceived: If the child speaks when spoken to then he cannot avoid answering back. If he does not answer back then he fails to speak when spoken to. Whatever the child does he is always in the wrong.'