Double Bind

A double bind is an emotionally distressing dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, in which one message negates the other. This creates a situation in which a successful response to one message results in a failed response to the other (and vice versa), so that the person will be automatically wrong regardless of response. The double bind occurs when the person cannot confront the inherent dilemma, and therefore cannot resolve it or opt out of the situation.

Double bind theory was first described by Gregory Bateson and his colleagues in the 1950s.

Double binds are often utilized as a form of control without open coercion—the use of confusion makes them difficult to respond to or resist.

A double bind generally includes different levels of abstraction in orders of messages, and these messages can be stated or implicit within the context of the situation, or conveyed by tone of voice or body language. Further complications arise when frequent double binds are part of an ongoing relationship to which the person or group is committed.

Double bind theory is more clearly understood in the context of complex systems and cybernetics because human communication and also the mind itself function in an interactive manner similar to ecosystems. Complex systems theory helps us understand the interdependence of the parts of a message and provides "an ordering of what to the Newtonian looks like chaos."

Read more about Double BindExplanation, History, Complexity in Communication, Examples, Phrase Examples, Positive Double Binds, Theory of Logical Types, Science, Schizophrenia, Usage in Zen Buddhism, Girard's Mimetic Double Bind, Neuro-linguistic Programming, Terminology

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Famous quotes containing the words bind and/or double:

    Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written.
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