“The true nature of things may be said to lie not so much in the things themselves as in the relationships which we construct and them perceive between them.”[1]


The philosopher and anthropologist Gregory Bateson made the remark that the book of Genesis summarily dismisses the problem of the origin and nature of matter, while the book seems to be specifically concerned with order. Order is a matter of sorting and dividing.[2] That is interesting. Nature abhors a vacuum and a gap is very rarely a vacuum but rather a tension between two things.

What, for example, does the gap that separates education from ignorance actually tell us? If we were to say: The problem is not so much education or ignorance, but the gap between education and ignorance. What would that mean? It might mean that education is fine among the educated and ignorance is fine amongst the ignorant, but that the gap between the two gives real tension. The social problems arise when the tension between the two makes demands on people outside their sphere of control. Gaps represent tensions between two concepts. Usually these represent a social difference, whereby the one is preferred over the other because of the assumptions of a culture.


Taxonomic Reduction is a first step in the analysis of similarities and differences. It is where we try to break down a whole into its separate parts. In other words we seek out gaps. We try to look for similarities and differences and on the basis of these group things accordingly.

[1] Terence Hawkes, Structuralism and Semiotics, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1977, p. 17.

[2] Bateson, Op. Cit., p. 29