D & G and Connectivism

I was curious about how deep I would dive into the ideas of Deleuze & Guattari, in particular after the discussion started by cathellis13. And after a few pages I realized that it won’t be too deep. Just as Wenger says he did not want to enter the community of practice of the wine connoisseurs who know what “purple in the nose” means, I do not really want to know in detail what the “purulence of the nose” (p. 285) has to do with the philosophical subtleties I am not trained in.

But on a more superficial level, some interesting stuff caught my eyes which aligns well with my understanding of both Connectivism and McGilchrist’s book about the Making of the Western World.

For me, the core of Connectivism is that nodes have long been overrated over ties (or items over relationships). So when the Wikipedia article on Deleuze speaks about

“an inversion of the traditional metaphysical relationship between identity and difference. Traditionally, difference is seen as derivative from identity […] To the contrary, Deleuze claims that all identities are effects of difference.”

I think this quite compatible:

‘Hence, instead of asking traditional questions of identity such as “is it true?” or “what is it?”, Deleuze proposes that inquiries should be functional or practical: “what does it do?” or “how does it work?”‘ (ibid.)

means for me, ask about the connections rather than the nodes.

Similarly, my take-home from McGilchrist is that the West has too much relied upon one of two basic modes of brain operation: the one that is focused on isolated, fixed, static, abstracted, decontextualized items to be grasped, collapsed and wrapped into nested boxes, while the other one caters to the interconnections, relationships and contexts. explorer-tree
The hierarchy of nested boxes or nested subgoals can be thought of as a tree (of course, an upside-down tree, but this is common in any filesystem explorer). So when D & G say

“It is odd how the tree has dominated Western reality and all of Western thought, from botany to biology and anatomy, but also gnosiology, theology, ontology, all of philosophy” (p. 18)

this is again quite compatible.

Is this comparison too simple, is there a fallacy? I would love to learn from other course participants if it makes sense to them.

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8 Responses to D & G and Connectivism

  1. jennymackness says:

    I too have been thinking about the effect of Cath Ellis’ post on #rhizo14. I realised (as she suggested) that it is difficult to make any sort of sensible response without being better informed about D&G – so I have been digging around, under the search title of ‘ Introduction to Deleuze
    and Guattari, or Beginner’s Guide to Deleuze and Guattari. First I found this – http://htmlgiant.com/random/the-beginners-guide-to-deleuze/ which then led me to this http://www.brightstupidconfetti.com/2008/01/today-i-give-you-full-lecture-by-manuel.html – in which Mauel de Landa discusses Deleuze’s theory of non-human expressivity. This seems to me to relate to your point that ‘nodes have long been overrated over ties’. I’m not sure if you will agree, but for me, the idea of community with it’s focus on social learning (i.e. nodes), doesn’t fit easily with rhizomatic learning. I think what we are seeing is that the ‘network is the curriculum’, but the idea of community is already being challenged. Hope this makes sense 🙂

  2. I think that’s a nice comparison, and it definitely makes sense to me. The tree like structure of my hard drive really does not suit the way I remember things, and you just reminded me of why this is a problem – because I remember rhizomatically, not arborescently, a lot of the time.


  3. x28 says:

    Jenny, many thanks for the links which I will follow soon.
    “the idea of community with it’s focus on social learning (i.e. nodes), doesn’t fit easily with rhizomatic learning.” I had not thought about whether nodes might be totally missing in rhizomes. Until now I thought rhizomes were just an alternate metaphor for a network, just a bit more ugly and messy. But perhaps you are right and they lack network advantages altogether.

    Sarah, I am very happy about your versed opinion. If you, in turn, want some thoughts by an IT person about your hard drive problem, you might want to take a look at this and this.

  4. jaapsoft2 says:

    the tree in a hard drive and the mapping construction in a computer a tree-like (Arboreal) but a real computer can do a search in all this maps and places without help of these maps. In a mac it is called spotlight. T

  5. x28 says:

    Jaap, thank you very much for your visit, and for your advice which is certainly helpful in many many cases where I know a suitable search term. Unfortunately, I often don’t remember a proper search term. I wonder if D & G would see this search term as a circumscribed, arborescent, identity?

  6. jaapsoft2 says:

    The proper search term is difficult, if you know the term the search is almost done. It may take some searches to find the right search term. (You R not alone in this) D&G would not care for a right search term, any term will in the end, give a result. The rhizome is endless.

  7. helinur says:

    just noticed that you have the old link to my blog, which moved two weeks ago here:
    I am proud of having a domain of my own 🙂 The old link is working, edublogs let it be

  8. x28 says:

    Heli, thanks for the alert and sorry for the mistake. It is corrected now.

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