Rules or patterns?

For me, the most interesting part of rhizomatic rather than arborescent thinking is, that it allows for networked complex patterns rather than just stubborn rules, which may be simple, or hierarchically nested and complicated (if written in Legalese), but always black and white. Similarly, in rhizomatic thinking, rigid “what is” definitions may be supplemented by rather associative meanings that may answer questions like “how does it relate to?”. 

However, in the first few days of the Rhizo14 MOOC, I have read the words “rules” and “definition” more often than in months before. In the lively debate, people seems to get polarized by provocative suggestions. 

I also am surprised that English is short of words for the many shades of grey that can be expressed by the German  translations of “cheat”, while usually we have much less words and more different word senses.

But also over here, too many different things are confused and lumped together by (often mindless) drill of the formalities of citation rules: (a) assuring the traceability of scholarly knowledge, (b) acknowledging someone else’s ideas, or (c) using a rightholder’s works. No wonder that students’ questioning (c) finally percolates through (a).

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5 Responses to Rules or patterns?

  1. balimaha says:

    I like the distinction between rules and patterns 😉

  2. x28 says:

    Thanks Maha. Of course it is not my own idea, and I forgot to attribute it to Stephen and George and connectivism. But I cannot cite a single phrase with a page number anyway.

  3. jennymackness says:

    >> the most interesting part of rhizomatic rather than arborescent thinking is, that it allows for networked complex patterns rather than just stubborn rules

    Thinking about this I can see that rhizomatic thinking allows for networked complex patterns – but I’m not sure that we can ever be free of rules. Two things occurred to me. First is the idea that we need negative constraints for emergence to occur, Second is that if there aren’t any constraints people will put them in, as implicit or explicit rules, anyhow. I have been thinking a lot about what is ‘hidden’, ‘unspoken’ in rhizomatic learning – rhizomes are, after all,n underground!

  4. Pingback: Rhizomatic Learning – A Pedagogy of Risk | Jenny Connected

  5. x28 says:

    Thanks for your thorough thoughts. When I translate your “negative constraints” into my IT terminology, it is a computer firewall blacklist rather than a whitelist, and this makes certainly sense for creating some basic trust. And maybe the constraints need not always be imagined as a high wall with barbwire; perhaps some landmarks (like Keith Harmon’s or Vanessa Vaile’s) would suffice?

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