Books – them selfish creatures #rhizo14

Indian Headdress

Indian Headdress by John Dalkin (C) all rights reserved

Beauty is in the mind and soul of the bereader
Although reading a book might be a different experience every time you read it, it is still an alone experience. The different perceptions and insights we might have when reading the same book at different points in time are conjured up by the reader’s subjectivity, the fact that we are ever-changing creatures – inside and out. It is, nonetheless, an alone process. We could compare the experience to that of listening to a song being played in a very small room, and the sensory experiences that will ensue, and then playing that same song in a very large room, with entirely different acoustics. The sensory experience will certainly be a different one. The same music resonates differently in each scenario. Therefore, it could be said that it is the reader – the human element engaging with the print – that is dynamic, and not the print itself. In that sense, books are indeed limited/ing.
The old becomes the new again
There is a significant connection between ancient oral traditions and internet technology. Both systems operate via networks. There is something about the power of the eloquently spoken word. And its power exponentially increases when individuals experience the spoken word collectively. When a tribe elder gathers the young ones around a fire to tell them stories of their ancestors, I can’t help but wonder whether giving each of them a book containing the same stories would be as rich an experience. You see, it’s not just about the story itself, it’s also about the making of the fire, the way the young ones distribute themselves around the circle, with maybe the older ones sitting right and left of the tribe elder, it’s what they eat or drink during the gathering, it’s what they wear, and maybe, most importantly, it’s the coarse voice of their elder, telling them their own story almost musically, the tempo of the words, one after the other, and the curious questions that the young ones might ask, generating an increased understanding of their tribal identity, of their unity as a group – a network of people.
“As he looks back at archived tribal pictures and sees his young face in the crowd of elders, Pinkham, now 30, understands. ‘I realized it wasn’t something I waited for, it was the development of the mindset that goes along with our people,’ says Pinkham, tribal ethnographer for the Nez Perce Tribe.”    Wyatt Buchanan
Books – them selfish creatures
It may be that the internet – the inter(action) via the net(work) – purports just that connectivity among people, and that can be as powerful as the tribe gathering around the ritualized fire. It might be that once people truly realize how extremely powerful and transformational a tool the internet is in its core, the more digital literacy will become a reality in people’s lives. And that’s where ‘books’ is making us ‘stupid’. If we consider the ability to network, to successfully connect with other individuals and have one’s brain expanded by the learning that results from the engagement, as a critical element of digital literacy, then books might really be doing just that – making us ‘stupid’ in our isolation, alienating us from networking and (re)acquiring all of the necessary skills to thrive in today’s global tribe.
print books = linear  / person <alone>
networks = rhizomatic / people >together<
“…let us put our minds together and see what future we can make for our children…”.
Nez Perce Chief Joseph
Reference nodes:
With much gratitude to photographer John Dalkin, who kindly granted permission for me to use his astonishingly beautiful fractal/photo. Thank you, John!

#Rhizo14 knock, knock


Fractal by Hermann Kaser via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Let me tell you a story. It’s the story of how I found you.

I found you while looking for myself. I found you via a very special network – my personal learning network.

Here’s how it went…

The Blue Bird Tweeted:

My dear friend and mentor, Carla Arena, shared this delicate gem via Twitter. A beautifully lapidated piece by a lady called Carolyn Durley. These words instantly struck a chord deep within:

Carolyn, being a teacher as myself, ventured into the universe of education and how ‘cheating’ may actually bring down walls and pedestals, from whose heights we – teachers – stand. We, teachers, the repositories of all knowledge. It might have been (and it most certainly was) through sweat and tears that we got to where we are in terms of acquired knowledge and experience, so our students should just endure the same hardships and be worthy of becoming – one day – knowledgeable. It was poetic. It was subversive. I had to pass it on to my personal learning network, among whom I was certain there would be those wo’d be moved/disturbed deep within. I RTed and I followed @c_durley down her rabbit hole. And then…

Enforced independence. Quite paradoxical, indeed, Carolyn. I was hooked and mesmerized by it all – the ideas, the sensations. We humans are naturally wired for movement forward, intrinsic motivation is in our very DNA. We, teachers, may foster independence, nudging our students forward, being role models of autonomy and independence ourselves. Not only as teachers, but as learners – as people. I felt compelled to jump in the discussion:


Carolyn and I became co-followers and co-readers of each others’ writings. I had been entangled by the rhizome that stemmed from A Fine Balance, and Twitter, and the entanglement continued.

And I ended up – literally – stumbling upon yet another gem. Had to share it.

And so it was that, another rhizo prospected that gem, and also ran into me.


I’d come full circle in the rhizome, just to find that it had spiraled into yet another branch, another rabbit hole.

I stared into its darkness, and asked rhizo-Dave: “Too crazy to leap, ya think?”

And then the next thing you know…

Rhizomatic learning is, for me:

  • non-linear learning
  • prospecting gems
  • ethnographic discovery
  • discovering how you’re wired
  • connecting with otherness and then with yourself
  • how I go about my professional and personal development in this brave new world of all things technological