It was a light fog,
not enough to be dangerous
or obscure objects,
just enough to add a halo
around lamp posts
and a softness to distant views.
Above, there was a flickering,
perhaps from stray headlights
caught in the fog,
an optical illusion,
from far away lightning.
The flickering became more frequent
and the roll of thunder
answered one question
to be replaced with another.
Would the storm pass to the north
or would we feel the full force?
Was it something beautiful,
or a little bit of both?
It was all a matter of perspective
that the start of the rain
did not help resolve.
One of the quotes from #LoveBadeMeWelcome that I shared yesterday was "Embrace ambiguity, not vagueness". A person from the Rhizomatic learning group responded to this, talking about his own journey, ending off with “I think I could call myself a recovering certainty-addict.”
I wonder how much we are a culture of certainty-addicts. How does this relate to rhizomatic learning?
Meanwhile, another friend posted about humanism and transhumanism.
In that thread, one person posted, “I think it's very important to have clear definitions - otherwise we'll be proceeding from one confused state to another, and that will be rife with problems and pitfalls.”
Yet when we get into arts, philosophy, and religion, I wonder how much it really is possible to have ‘clear definitions’. There is much ambiguity to be embraced. This does not say that we should be embracing vagueness or wishy-washingness, but I wonder if the quest for ‘clear definitions’ isn’t often a fools quest for certainty addicts.
Yes, perhaps we are all proceeding from one confused state to another, only seeing through a mirror darkly.
How does transhumanism, rhizomatic learning, and mysticism all fit together?
Slowly, I digest the thoughts and experiences of the “Love Bade Me Welcome” conference at Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Much of what happened the first two days, I allowed to wash over me, to fill me, and not get stuck in notes. Those thoughts and experiences will need to resurface in other ways, perhaps in poems or worship.
Yet I did take some notes on the second day, and more on the third day. Often, they were just of phrases that caught my attention, so I’ll share them here, mostly just as is.
“Agony of a civilization which seems to have lost its coherence.”
“Come to a conference on poetry and theology not to escape the world but to explore it more completely”
“The landscapes of the heart gave us great art as well as The Third Reich”
“The divinity’s in the details.”
“To teach is to learn twice”
“Embrace ambiguity, not vagueness”
“Addicted to certainty”
Another part of my notes are of people to read and resources to explore.
Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the day – Added this to Doggcatcher on my smartphone
A Year of Being Here “daily mindfulness poetry by wordsmiths of the here & now”
Mary Karr (particularly her Descending Poetry)
Anthony Wilson – Livesaving Poems.
Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac - Also subscribed via DoggCatcher.
Commonweal Magazine apparently often has poetry.
For theological sources, Frederick Buechner, Walter Brueggemann (particularly "Finally Comes the Poet") Garrett Green (particularly “Imagining God: Theology and the Religious Imagination”) and Evelyn Underhill
Amos Wilder (Thornton Wilder’s brother)
In this week’s #Rhizo15 writing prompt, Dave asks, “Must rhizomatic learning be an invasive species?” People have explored this idea, talking about echo chambers and filter bubbles, but I think people are looking at this incorrectly.
Yes, rhizomes choke out other plants, but not all other plants. They fight for resources with other plants, particularly other rhizomes. From a practical side, this past week for me is a good example of this. Normally, I write about #rhizo15 soon after the prompt comes out. However, this week, I was at a conference at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music on poetry in the church. It has been the focus of much of my reading and writing over the past few days. To stay with the rhizome metaphor, for the past few days, that conference choked out even the #rhizo MOOC.
Likewise, I believe the ‘filter bubble’ discussion is off track. I’ve long been focused on filter bubbles, especially because of my background in politics. To the extent that #rhizo15 is the only filter someone has, is the only context of someone’s online communication, then yes, it could be a filter bubble. I recognize that this could be the case for others, but I suspect it is the exception rather than the rule.
If we stay focused on formal education, it would be like saying a person is taking only one course. Yet that is not often what happens in formal education.
To return to Dave’s questions: “Are we just replacing one authority structure with another?” Yeah, perhaps. But so what? Instead, we might want to ask, is the authority structure of rhizomatic learning more or less beneficial than traditional authority structures in education? Is it more democratic? Is that a good thing? Likewise, when Dave asks, “Community as conformity?” I see this as a potentially serious issue, but I have to wonder, is rhizomatic learning more or less driven by conformity than other forms of learning?
The Teacher Ascends
to bid the students farewell.
The past few years
have changed everyone.
Yes, there are still a few
more interested in money
than perpetual memory.
Earlier in the spring,
it looked like all hope had been destroyed
only to return
a few days later.
It is still a confusing time
now that we must go out into the world.
What spirit will sustain us
in our daily lives?