I can’t help feeling that the community/network discussion is a bit of a red herring in the same way that I think that ‘the community is the curriculum’ sits uncomfortably with (for me) the idea of rhizomatic learning.
Yes there are distinctions, affective distinctions between community and network but I have the impression that rhizomes are active at a level of desire which is underneath but underpins expressions of affection.
We are in ourselves networks acting within networks in which we can feel attachment or love or alienation – that is human. A rhizome is unfeeling, unthinking like a network but animated by ‘desires’ for life. Part of this ‘desire’ is connection and therefore when we feel connection with others or with a tree there is a sensation of being part of something bigger than ourselves. Feelings of community therefore may include this feeling of being part.
I think it is essential desire of humans to feel some sort of connection to their fellows even if it is alienation. Feelings of community may enable creative production – maybe. I think in rhizomatic learning the important part is the potential for diversity of connections which driven by rhizomatic desire may lead to formation of stronger bonds at certain levels.
Somehow I think that the rhizome is an organic version of what I have understood connectivism to be. I think that you can take a long view on activity in a network (community in this view is irrelevant) and see it like a machine – that would be connectivism for me. But nature, however machine-like is not just a machine and is clearly animated by fuel, sparks, life-force. I think this is where D&G’s expression of ‘desiring machines’ comes in. I also think that however scientific, or rational one is there is inevitably uncertainty in our perception of chaotic complexity which may be uncomfortable – desire for making sense/meaning – but there is no meaning to a rhizome (an organic network) it just is.
For us to more easily contemplate uncertainty, we need community, culture, connection, horizons, so as not freak in a nausea-prompting Wasteland. This is where I would say ‘community as curriculum’ acts as an interface for going on a voyage of discovery into nomad’s land. Dave is an aimiable, knowledgable (more than he let’s slip) pied piper. He has emotional drive which creates sparks in ways that more apparently cerebral people don’t. The sparks are what stimulates growth of connections. The key issues are how to feel part of something bigger than ourselves without ripping ourselves to shreds through power battles which distract us from a bigger picture – we are part and particle of all there is.
Not sure how much sense I have made for you.
Ah yes, I think that one thing which worked in #rhizo14 (but for a while) alienated some more science-bound academics was the rich diversity of media, emotional, spiritual, nonsense produced.