The Way to Waimanalo

Anthony Chaney

in Runaway

Published by University of North Carolina Press

Published in print October 2017 | ISBN: 9781469631738
Published online January 2018 | e-ISBN: 9781469631752
The Way to Waimanalo

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The narrative setting for this chapter is the new Oceanic Institute and its sister facility, Sea Life Park, in Waimanalo, Hawaii, in the early 1960s, where Bateson is studying the way dolphins communicate with each other. Among his colleagues – pioneers in dolphin training for public performance and ocean scientists with military contracts – Bateson was beloved but misunderstood. At issue was Bateson’s deep scorn for modern utilitarian science and B.F. Skinner behaviorism. The source of this scorn can be found in Bateson’s background: his youth in British naturalism and as the son of the founder of genetics William Bateson; his 1936 marriage to Margaret Mead, their work in Papau New Guinea and Bali, and their part, along with Ruth Benedict, in Boasian cultural relativism and the culture and personality school of anthropology; Bateson's anthropological morphology, learning theory, and concept of schismogenesis; and his black ops work with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II. In the aftermath of the war, the US government opened its doors to the social sciences to aid in its Cold War policies. Bateson’s marriage to Margaret Mead crumbled amidst his refusal to accompany her through these doors.

Keywords: dolphin training; B.F. Skinner; behaviorism; William Bateson; Margaret Mead; Ruth Benedict; cultural relativism; learning theory; Cold War; anthropology

Chapter.  11425 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental History

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