Community learning – the zombie resurrection

On January 14th of this year i started a 6 week course to help me explore something I’ve been working on for most of my professional career. The term ‘rhizomatic learning’ is an approach to teaching and learning that is based in the works of Deleuze and Guattari, and presents learning as uncertain, destabilized and both very individual (in the sense that everyone’s experience is different) and communal (in the sense that making sense is a collaborative journey). I’ve been trying to teach this way for many years and have been trying to find a place to talk to others about it so that I too can have that communal experience while I’m working on telling stories about the rhizome.

Well… the course started and about 500 people signed up in way way or another. Some registered to the P2PU site, others only to a facebook group or played around with the #rhizo14 hashtag on twitter. The course was designed around challenging questions (eg. how do we enforce independence?) that are meant to elicit conversations that focus on the messiness of learning… a messiness that is very much at the heart of why i think Rhizomatic Learning is useful to talk about.

The conversation started, and started to pick up steam. Lots of interesting discussions, often taking off in directions that I hadn’t anticipated, or, frankly, that weren’t about what I thought the question ‘should’ be about. In week 2 i realized that this ‘should’ was inappropriate and I just allowed myself to have more fun with the conversations and enjoy the communal atmosphere. The course was to ‘end’ in the middle of February… and then it didn’t.

Zombie MOOC
Always with the zombie trope you say? The zombie is mindless and reanimated (though recently this definition has expanded 🙂 ) and this course came back to life without a ‘head’ as it were. After my last goodbye was sent out to the participants, a week 7 popped up on the website. The participants continued the course, but without any ‘teacher’ filling the role as guide or decision maker. They continued on like this for another 6 weeks, and while activity is now only active in the facebook/twitter/gplus realm (that i know of), the communal learning process continues. The course (now called #rhizo14 by all involved) has refused to die.

It has become that individual/community space that i was hoping for when the course started. People post ideas, challenges and thoughts and others bring their perspective to it… we learn, often in vastly different ways, from each interaction. And then this post shows up on the original P2PU course today –

Very cool/weird, don’t know if I’ve joined the course or not. Lots to learn as the whole rhizmatic learning thing is a new concept/term to me, but very interested none the less.

Invitation to a Zombie dinner party?
Zombie’s aren’t always the best hosts. Well… if you’re not a zombie already. I’m sure they’re fine for other zombies. But this person who has signed up is new to the idea (of RL), open to engaging, and willing to put themselves out there. I love to see a new person admitting their uncertainty from the outset, it often opens the door for lots of good things later on. But do we just invite them to join in the conversation with the zombies created by the #rhizo14 experience?

We decided during the course (before the zombies existed) to go ahead and run the course again next year. I had, at the time, considered it a way of onboarding folks to the rhizomatic learning experience and then leaning on the people from this year to form a layer of community organizers that could enrich the experience for those who were coming in for the first time. And while we do get new registrants to the old course… this is the first person that has actually commented in a month or so. It’s time to decide, how do we get to the next step of this course (if we even should)? More specifically

If we care about community learning, how do we integrate new people into an existing community learning ecosystem? How do we keep the zombies from eating them? 🙂

So we focus on a new course that will allow the wonderfulness to happen, or, to put it more succinctly from our facebook rhizo14 chat… “dave, what do u want”. And my answer, as it often is with regards to learning, is that it depends.

Researcher Dave is fascinated by the problem of integrating people into learning communities. Anything that tests out the possibilities of or develops new practices for this tricky little problem is something that is pretty much at the top of my interest list. The challenge of seeing community as a learning approach is that communities tend to harden a little bit, with shared language and practices, and slowly become more difficult (but by no means impossible) to join. As everyone’s content is mostly their own, i should be able to burn last year’s course and simply start again… from scratch. Researcher dave is not invested in the success of the course, necessarily, but in learning from the process. Bye bye rhizo14 hello rhizo15!

Teacher Dave has slightly different feelings about things. I want the 2015 version of the course to go as well or better than 2014. This includes being fair to both the returning participants and the new participants. How do we integrate the two groups in the most seamless manner possible? How do we ask challenging questions that respect the community knowledge carried over and still allows for there to be new material for people to negotiate knowledge with? Maybe keep the old one on P2PU and then create a second, connect the two…? Simply reopen the P2PU site and keep going? #rhizoforever?

Community Dave thinks that we need to open that question much more broadly and see what the disparate but still engaged #rhizoers think about the subject. The crowd, in this case, could have a fair amount of wisdom to share, and the experience of going through that question could be very valuable in and of itself. I’m not sure what they’d say… but that the whole reason for asking them 🙂 #rhizo?

Leadership in community
So, I guess, this is my attempt at number 3 on that list. I’d be interested to hear what people think about continuing with an existing community and integrating new people. Send along some links to other people chatting about it if you can find it…

One way or the other I will ‘decide’ whether it be by weight of a community opinion, or a last minute shot in the dark. In the end balancing community opinions and the need to actually make yes/no decisions might be one of the critical literacies in a rhizomatic learning approach. Many things can live in complexity and should stay there… but… well, we’ll see how the buts work out. I care about keeping the #rhizo14 community, I like those people, i enjoy the way they interact. How to keep it going…?

Author: dave

I run this site... among other things.

34 thoughts on “Community learning – the zombie resurrection”

  1. This was something I was was pondering when I wrote that post about combining cMOOCs with xMOOCs. The cell model I touched on had another dimension where they had finding and integrating new members as part of their DNA. They would intentionally find new community members so they could multiple groups. I just decided not to touch on that because that was their form of evangelism and with George Siemens talking about forming his own church… 🙂

    But, one way to fight that hardness that comes with certain communities is to recruit new members and form new groups that mix older and newer. And then repeat that process on a regular basis. That’s probably why so many religious groups are growing – they preach pulling in new members as part of the core of who they are. We already have Rev. Groom, so what the hell right?

  2. No it to keep.

    Life cannot be saved or is it reified? (some word like that)

    Connections existed before, will go on or not. No matter.

    They will go on in some way in us/by us/through us despite us.

    I am not a zombie as far as I am aware.
    This is not a miracle. This is normal. Its the other bloody courses which are crap – those which demand outcomes. People like meeting people who will feign understanding/tolerance of them/and do stuff they enjoy with them.

    Just do what you want. Ask people whatever.

    They may say yes or no or they don’t know or care. Either the spark catches or its apparently a damp squib. It’s not because I am useless at lighting a barbecue that fire doesn’t work…

    Good course. Quite possibly best course ever.
    Thank you.

    Carpe Diem.

    PS still think that rhizo live has life in it. I mean a real bonfire on a beach somewhere.

    Now that is worth working on. Massive Open 0ffline Knees-up (I claim invention rights of that acronym 🙂

  3. I almost commented on facebook… To say something along the lines of… Some new members who joined fb and were championed by one of us the “old” zombies were able to fit in quite seamlessly (Clarissa partway thru the course, Shyam a while after it was over) – so I’m thinking… Between now and January (and whoever put that particular date? Just so we can change the number after rhizo? Because it is a free time between semesters for some ppl?) – what do we do with new signups? As I said to Vanessa on fb, maybe there should be something somewhere on p2pu that clearly states where the course/community is “happening” right now and what to expect. Meanwhile, I think you are free to do whatever you like with the “next” rhizo15 and I am pretty sure “we” will enjoy helping out, welcoming people in… But you’re right. The newbies will sense a zombie culture that might make them feel excluded (happened for me with edcmooc)… Buuuuut it might all be about making those things explicit and open to discussion, in the new run, rather than just discussing it amongst ourselves in the old run, which automatically “excludes” newbies from the discussion. Ummm

  4. Dave, I like the idea of many groups or maybe “denominations” of the Rhizomatic thought world. Feels like it has more potential though as an operative method of understanding that resists self-definition there might also be the reality of fluctuating consciousness that already resides everywhere?

    Obvious problem one is as you say the language and norms are becoming fixed and this might chase new people away–even zombies must have preferences? Problem two is our already shameless self-regard could make us seem boring–or make us imagine we are not. Problem three resides in the claim to difference when nothing stays different–how do things change? How is change identified? Doesn’t change bring life to everything anyway and isn’t something that is done by us but by its very existence?

    And to change the subject… Is rhizomatic learning something that could be applied with deliberation? I think that I think the rhizomatic quality escapes intentional application and emerges by randomness. In that case control would collapse it? Except this vulnerability to intervention of intent might indicate a kind of reflexivity where though we think the rhizome is independent, it thinks the same of us and we are dancing together without knowing it?

    And puts me in a corner where I’ve called up a spiritual force to account for a relationship that is hard to see but there nonetheless. Like chaos exists and we exist at the same time so beneath this seeming contradiction is an agreement?

  5. Broadcast on more of our distributed networks. It seems early to worry overmuch (or even at all) naming iterations, icons, etc.

    Why not just plain #rhizo? There are worse things we could do (cue Rizzo song from Grease )

  6. Well, I dunno. I think I agree with Maha. How about having a landing page now on the P2PU course that explains that the “official” course is not running at the moment but that activity still goes on in FB/Twitter/G+… we might still exclude unintentionally, but I have a sense that we are open to trying to include newcomers. I hope that we’re not going to bore everybody else who tries to join. Well, we’ll have to suck it and see, whatever transpires.

    I wanna be at Si’s MOOK 😀

  7. I for one would love to see how this course could transition into become a community. Apart from some of the steps you detail in your “Success in a MOOC” animation, other things I’ve seen lead to being an inclusive and welcoming space for newcomers are:

    an initial designated place to go or structure to plug into to help ground them in the community and get comfortable with its norms

    a recognition or welcome as a means to acknowledge that they have entered and exist

    introductions or the ability to connect and “know” others

    a place to ask questions, express concerns, vent and openness and transparency in the community to these processes

    multiple ways to engage and the opportunity to exit and return

    I’ve expanded a bit more here: When a Course becomes a Community

  8. I think you (or someone?) did a great job at various points of trying to include everyone – I got suggestions to go retweet things that hadn’t been retweeted yet, comment on blogs that hadn’t been commented on, etc.. There was a lot going on around learning about social presence, technology, as well as the D & G ideas or the iterations of translations of those ideas and an academic/non-academic interplay AND a lot of folks who already knew each other from other MOOCs or institutions, some of whom were welcoming and gracious and some really wanting to talk to each other it felt like, like at a faculty party. There’s a vast difference between a conversation about “what is this idea of cheating as learning” and “oh i think i’ll write a paper about this.” So, in a way there was a kind of #prerhizo14 that might not have been acknowledged much – people were already having conversations that #rhizo14 gave them a forum for. So I think that whole continuum of things would happen in #rhizo15 too and, rhizomatically, parts of those conversations might lead us other places for learning we didn’t expect. My initial interest in #rhizo14 was better understanding D & G but what I ended up being most interested in was the applicability of these ideas to the non-academic world of training, adult special education and disability studies and while I got to connect and have great conversations with people within the “class” I also had conversations in my own community with people who have no idea this class existed and wouldn’t have had the expertise to connect and follow either the conversations or the technology. I look forward, hopefully, to #rhizo15 and more good questions.

  9. My concern with having an existing culture in place is we are robbing new people of the excitement of creating something themselves. This is a response to Lou also on the notion of lurking. To lurk is to acknowledge that something exists worth attending to though it may not seem worthy of responding too. It may not draw you in which is fine but it may also be missing a sense of responsiveness as might happen here as we cluck along with each other.

    Reading about dialog and psychiatry my sense is that responsiveness is wired into us as a trigger of attention and participation. What makes school such a bore is the false responsiveness of that-which-is-known. Even kids aren’t fooled by it. If we do repeat the known then at least we should add novelty, contradiction or surprise. For instance I was at a lake the family used to go to on holidays and while walking around the edge looking at the water striders that are very much a feature of still water there appeared a tadpole. No big deal except the tadpole was the size of a man’s shoe and seemed to be talking to me. I missed what it was saying but as a childhood hunter of tadpoles I suddenly felt hunted myself by this unexpectedly menacing creature.

    The expected altered by reality running on its own without assistance might answer Kafka’s: “In the combat between you and the world, prefer to the world.” I’m thinking Rhizo15 should run on its own.

  10. All formal learning involves joining conversations that started years before you got there and will continue years after you leave. What’s great about the rhizome is that we see and care about this – and think about how to draw new people into the conversation in meaningful ways. If only all education did this.
    Another cool outcome is that being in this messy here and now helps to form a critical tool or lens to take back to these other ‘learning’ spaces that seem so settled and comfortable and safe and known and knowable. We get to mix that up a bit.
    The messiness *is* the learning.

  11. Agree with Aaron’s point about the #prerhizo14 relationships and conversations. I know several folks were part of other MOOCs liked the #edcmooc and these connections and threads seemed definitely a play. Some have listed the cultural norms of the group, but I wonder what an exercise of collectively brainstorming these would look like. Openness and tolerance have been mentioned. What are the others that could be principles guiding this community?

  12. None of my rhizomatic plants use the calendar year to be reborn in a new separate space.

    I don’t think you can or should try to repeat the experience; it will never be exactly the same as the first round. It can and should be different. Why be bound to time? #rhizo14 as a handle need not represent the current date, it could represent the birth of the community (a consideration for hash tag thinking is if you want to anchor it in a year) (hindsight).

    You will and are getting feedback but you also get to decide. I wonder what would happen if a rhizomatic community collectively expressed a desire for an unrhizomatic structure (not likely but a curious scenario).

    Good luck with the coin flips

  13. Okay, I’m starting this comment over. My first attempt had all the preachy, cosmic overtones of a Sunday School lesson.

    I think the emergence and cultivation of community is a common problem faced, for instance, by most successful religions. I’ll speak of Christianity as I know more about it, but I suspect the patterns are similar.

    It seems to me that most religious communities that explode rhizomagically are kicked off by the exhilaration of a new vision, a new way of framing life, to use Lakoff’s term. Rhizomatic learning shares some of this exhilaration as many Rhizoers, but certainly not all, form a new frame for education. (Yes, I recognize that comparing rhizomatic learning to early Christianity is a bit over the top, but as Flannery O’Connor noted, if you draw with large, bold strokes, people get the point.)

    The danger with exhilaration is that it tends to surround people with the halo of the primary group. Like a honeymoon, sooner or later the glow fades and the enamored couple have to figure out how to live a stable, productive life with each other. Rhizo14 has to figure out how to do education in the day-to-day world of well-meaning, but too often dull organizations.

    Early Christianity, as I understand it, figured out that service to the local community works—service freely offered (think OER) to men and women, free and slave, legal and outlaw, rich and poor. The hot exhilaration of a new frame joined with the regular, even dogged, delivery of service to the community is an explosive, potent combination, and it worked for Christianity for a couple of centuries—at least until politics co-opted the energy of service and twisted it into what Buddhists call a near enemy: proselytizing, often at the point of a sword. Near enemies are activities similar in expression but radically different in motivation and in outcome, and they highlight a tension in the life of an emerging community.

    To my mind, the most important consideration in cultivating a community is service, free service to the local community, both f2f and online. I’ll make this personal: how can I serve my writing students rhizomatically? How can I serve my school? How can I serve my professional community of writing teachers? And how can I serve without proselytizing, without trying to make people convert to rhizomanity (I am quite certain that I will regret coining that term—tomorrow)?

    I want to avoid proselytizing because I think its motivations and results are so different from those of service and eventually undermine service. Service is motivated by the other and results in helping, collaborating, and cooperating. Proselytizing is motivated by self and results in building a stronger, bigger group (connectivists, say) to compete with other groups (we will wipe out all those behaviorists and cognitivists and assimilate the constructivists, both social and non-social).

    So I think we will soon learn if the Rhizo community has real legs if we continue to open spaces where people can discover for the first time, or can rekindle, the exhilaration of dancing education in a new way. Seasoned Rhizoers will have to be sensitive to those open spaces and forgo the great wickedness of telling newbies, “Yeah, well, we did that last year.” Let the newbies dance, and applaud.

    But exhilaration fades, so we must sustain it with a practice of rhizomagic service to our local communities, and this is the practice that will tell in the long run. If we are doing good things, people will come see. If we aren’t, they won’t, and we will rightly fade away. Scott Johnson seems to suggest to me that we should let it run to see what emerges. So what value and values are we bringing to the table? I like the Rhizo MOOC, but I want to explore how to bring some of that rhizomagic into my classroom in a very conservative school.

  14. I joined #change11 in week 29 (of 35) It happened to be Alec Couros week and my learning world changed forever – because I was able to participate in an open learning experience.

    Although others within the community were obviously exhausted – I was new, engaged and enthusiastic. It was one of those – serendipity moments – because the community had formed already – and I “found” it.

    However – I also joined #moocmooc – and participated for one week – and was exhausted and could not manage one more day.

    #CLMOOC and #teachtheweb both pop up throughout the year. “We, the learners, know when we see the hashtags start flowing more frequently – that something may be happening. Another example is #tvsz when I see that hashtag I know I either better figure out what is going on, or jump off of twitter for awhile. I didn’t officially participate in #rhizo14 but everyone kept talking about it and sending tweets – it was amazing because I just had to pay attention. I didn’t even have to “officially” participate to know what was going on – by watching the momentum and energy.

    Keeping a common hashtag like #ds106 or #etmooc, or #edchat gives meaning to a learning community. It encourages the innovators and community members to keep the discussion going and have a virtual hangout space. The common hashtag represents bread crumbs for others who are interested in the something out there.

    A hashtag that has is “aged” has more meaning to me – because it has more stories (and more learning behind it).

    Although I know there is no need to start an “organized” course right now- there is nothing wrong with including those kindred souls who just want to “hang out” online as well as the lurkers who want to learn more.

    Focus on next year’s “experience” but always keep the momentum….because that momentum is energy filled with some pretty amazing people. Support the momentum and community….like writing this post, or replying to someone…just help keep the energy going.


  15. I shared your blog with my colleagues as we’re thinking about the relationship between our student blogging program and our specific time-limited courses. We have similar questions, hopes and puzzlement, so this is very helpful.

    Persistent communities are familiar to internet users* but strangely unfamiliar in educational settings. We have a haphazard understanding of cohort engagement as a good thing but mostly we see this through the lens of the specific course: these people, this time around, this conversation, with this result.

    I think we introduced blogging to our students as a way of wondering about community alongside and around courses, so it’s not an either/or. Could you see yourself running #rhizo15, #rhizo16 etc like tours, and perhaps even letting others run them too? Then after the tour is finished, it’s up to individuals if they want to go on and participate in whatever part of the persistent community is on a platform that works for them? [insert lots of thoughts about FB here]

    I don’t know, “newbies”, that feels kind of … I want to say (very quietly) cultish. I’m not sure that would make this newbie feel more welcomed. So there’s that.

    ** When I first taught online in the mid 90s, in IRC, I spent a fair bit of time in #callahans having a think about what it meant culturally and socially to walk into a bar and engage with the people who were already there, the people who set it up. Your post made me realise I’ve been thinking ever since then about the exact same thing.

  16. Carbon14 is subject to slow decay (hence its use in dating). Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  17. I have an allotment, on which both raspberries (rhizomes) and couch grass (rhizomes) co-exist but I don’t believe the raspberries benefit from the presence of the couch grass. If Dave can evolve from couch grass to raspberry then so should we.

  18. With the talk of religion, I wonder, what gap does Rhizo fill? Religion isn’t just about a message, it also fills a gap for people who are in need – a lack of community, a need for a social support system? Something.

    I think several of us are drawn to rhizo because it fills a gap – it is a place where we can have open discussions and challenge our ideas. Not all topics take hold – some posts are mostly ignored, but others resonate – and when they do, they become meaningful conversation where learning occurs … I think that several of us are not in physical places that allow us to have these conversation elsewhere, so Rhizo fills that gap, it gives us that space to ask questions and learn … but also to have a little fun now and then too …

  19. Keith, I think you might be talking about intentionality and the responsibility of creating a space or class and my idea of letting it run as it wishes does seem inappropriate. In Rhizo14 there is something present that’s not just random or ethereal that can be left to whatever happens. For sure the mark of our presence is here as participants and my thought at first was that this “history” might constrain future occurrences of Rhizo–inadvertently creating an object with its gravity, inhabitants and norms that would make it something to be “joined” rather than “become.”

    I should read up on my Buddhism on how something “becomes” (that word sticks in my head). My sense is we want to act on the world in a positive way here and not be passive about what has been made? Yet not stamp it as “ours” or declare things “done”?

    Wonder if rather than dabbling in causality we can think in terms of gifting? Gifting seems like a concept that fits teaching and giving of self to others.

  20. This is awesome! I’m constantly brought back to Wenger’s Legitimate Peripheral Participation concept –
    It’s like my Papert’s gear or something. Anyway, this idea of introducing new members into an existing learning community reminds me of it once again. I belong to a number of antique motorcycle enthusiast forums where people talk mostly about their oily leaking projects and they use the community to get them moving once again. These forums are an excellent example of this type of community where the peripheral learner begins by searching the forum for answers to a personal learning query. Slowly as the newb begins to develop skills and competencies, they begin to share their own posts and even start answering questions that newer members might have. Many of these forums provided over a decade of threaded knowledge in which new members join everyday to learn.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  21. I need to evolve from couch potato, Simon 😛

    Rebecca – totally agree about #rhizo14 having filled a gap. My supervisor has been trying (unsuccessfully) to force some of us here at Glasgow into an academic community. Meantime you folk all popped up and voila.

    Scott – I wanna hear more about gifting! Also: have you come across Heraclitus?

    Jordan – we do similar with our undergraduates and Facebook groups: the senior students join the junior groups and answer the sorts of questions they themselves asked last year.

  22. Sorry, Scott. Sometimes I write wrong. My thoughts got all tangled up in the Christianity analogy, which saddled my comments with unnecessary baggage. I’ll try to correct myself.

    I was trying to agree with most of the other comments, including yours. Rhizo14 did a great job helping many people reframe their view of education, and I think this is what most found so exciting about it. Many of us have continued this excitement, this exhilaration, beyond the end of the six-week event, and we want to continue this excitement even further. Dave, then, asks: “how do we get to the next step of this course (if we even should)? More specifically if we care about community learning, how do we integrate new people into an existing community learning ecosystem? How do we keep the zombies from eating them?”

    Guiding emergence of a community is a very tricky issue. Simon, I think, suggests that we not guide it when he says, “No it to keep.” You rightly note the issues that arise when a group begins to define itself from the outside, risking becoming boring and predictable and undermining the very grounds for its initial energy and excitement. Alan Levine cautions against trying to reproduce last year’s dance. All well said and wise. I don’t think any of us want to devolve into an argument about whether or not rhizomatic learning is or is not a legitimate learning theory.

    But then Rebecca Hogue asks just as wisely, “what gap does Rhizo fill?” I think her question gets to what I was trying to say about service, though her answer is better. First, Rhizo14 provides spaces for community-building, or communion (yes, I know, that term edges dangerously close to the religious again, but it’s a good term). Those who question the current educational frame can find good energy in Rhizo14 spaces, with plenty of room and encouragement to explore and activities to enjoy. My own thoughts about service were about how to push the Rhizo14 spaces into my current instructional and professional spaces. If Rhizo14 has real value, then how do I open that value to others, but without proselytizing and becoming an apologist for Yet Another Learning Theory (YALT—though YELP would be more appropriate, I couldn’t make it work).

    For me, the key is Rhizo14 spaces, in the plural. Let’s continue to explore rhizomatic learning in multiple spaces, including a 6-week Rhizo15, without privileging any one space and declaring it definitive. Let’s open new spaces for whoever wants to play. We can make our spaces as big as we want, as many as we want, and welcome all interested parties who want to play. AND we can each be an offshoot of Rhizo14 into our local, non-rhizomatic spaces. I think we can do all this without defining ourselves as a learning theory or a cult and without behaving as a learning theory or a cult.

    I do hope this mops up some of the confusion my first comment caused.

  23. In answer to Keith. When I talk of it I mean that #rhizo14 is less entity than swarm. You can provide “flowers with nectar” you can follow fellow bee paths but we are not sure what or who constitute flowers or how to identify bee flight paths at particular moments or whether the bees/ants or other have detected other attractive nodes, swarms.

    Also to Keith, I have been working on integrating what I figured resembled rhizomesque patterns into my teaching and above all using online networks to mess up offline power balances. Now moving onto next step where off/on distant/close networks interact across spaces.

  24. Hi Sarah, have not heard of Heraclitus and will resist looking him/her up on the net until until I get a recommendation from you. Trying to cure myself of scanning the net for “information” unattached to people I know. There’s a marketing scheme over here for lobster were the waiter brings a selection of lobsters to your table and you can scan its little attached chip to find out the name and biography of the fisher-person who captured the poor thing. There’s something immediate and human about this that could be a Rhizo14 topic:-)

    Gifting has come up in training apprentices where the obligation to the next generation of trades people is clouded by their being a constant pain in the ass. Like being a parent, it’s an adaptation to be sure something that can’t not be
    done gets done with as little bruising as possible. There’s something about gifts that the receiver validates by use that tempers our natural habit of thinking of self-only. “Shop Class as Soulcraft” by Matthew B. Crawford talks about this connection through shared work. I bet Jordan would like the book too.

    The idea of the gap brought up by Rebecca resonates with me too. Where I used to work conversations would never start. Even if people were brave enough to be humans to each other there’s a constant silence over the place. People are fired for questioning anything and rat on each other like it was a contest to biggest asshole. That said, it’s kind of dangerously interesting:-)

  25. Keith, I think we are understanding each other. Maybe religion as a forbidden topic is screwing things up by setting off alarms that distract us? That doesn’t matter to me but dropping it is okay too.

    For me, the biggest issue I face is a world where saying you are doing what you clearly are not doing it taken as a legitimate currency of exchange. What used to be considered “politeness” or gentile consideration of others to speak less harshly has turned to a requirement to defraud our intentions or efforts of a reason for being. Think I read somewhere that this is called “Corrupted Dialogue” and might be explained in the notion of schizophrenia from D&G though I haven’t been able to read them.

    What happens when out words are in constant redefinition as we speak them? I don’t know except that the process that Dave uses to fiddle with assumptions seems to release meaning in dialogue back to being meaningful. Instead of symbolic relations with ideas that are distanced by word replacement trickery we might be able to return to words without intermediate steps to understanding?

    While I love the idea of uniqueness and subscribe to a world as unstable as my life I understand that newness can emerge from deliberate effort to replicate the positive. The idea of structure represents a kind of “weighing down” to me as does design feel like a limitation. Yet structure also supports and carries loads that are not necessarily limiting like traditions that make us more interesting, more complex.

    What if we were all lucky to have connected to Rhizo14. Right time, place, temperament, etc.? Could it work with another group? Thinking about I’d say yes.

  26. Keith and Scott took me years to throw off religious distraction to feel freely able to express issues of faith which for me has nothing to do with self but to do with complexity and unsense (i.e. Not insense).

  27. Simon, I think we imagine repeating similar experiences as having to exactly replicate them as we might in rituals where deviation in the smallest detail can disrupt the chain of causality (or displease the gods) leading to failure? Doing the same thing over and over again is a sign of madness, or a sign of learning what works, or a lazy shortcut, or a sign of expertise, or who knows what? Often we know what we want so well we see it caused by everything we do. Reading about difference right now and I don’t think it is understood for the beauty of its representing something unresolved.

  28. To confuse things Simon I went to look up “repetition” in my favourite book “What is a Person” by Christian Smith and ended up finding a discussion on proactive emergence:
    “…proactive emergence involves cases in which agency of the emergent operations resides in the emergent entity. Here the emergent entities are the subjects of the emergent processes and outcomes on which they depend.[… introduces the dog here] Dog ontology (real being) was the agent of dog ontogeny (organic development)… The kennel owner, for instance, did not assemble the dog parts to produce an emergent dog organism for the pet owner. The agency behind the emergence adheres in the emergent entity.”

    Could we say that rhizome ontology was / is the agent of rhizome ontogeny? Something Vanessa alluded to in the Twitter chat by suggesting the Rhizome, in a sense, has a mind of its own.

  29. thanks for sharing. I was trying to agree with most of the other comments, including yours. Rhizo14 did a great job helping many people reframe their view of education, and I think this is what most found so exciting about it. Many of us have continued this excitement, this exhilaration, beyond the end of the six-week event, and we want to continue this excitement even further. Dave, then, asks: “how do we get to the next step of this course (if we even should)? More specifically if we care about community learning, how do we integrate new people into an existing community learning ecosystem? How do we keep the zombies from eating them?”
    Link great

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