hey Dave and all, I almost responded with a new blogpost then thought I’d keep the conversation going here instead.
As I said on twitter, the “caring” part was something that said it all, for me. That when you say community you use it to signal caring. Not all pedagogues are like that. It is also totally OK that rhizomes technically don’t “care” because “we” as humans feel and care. When we use a metaphor, story, etc., then we know that not every characteristic of it need apply to the “real experience” we’re trying to help describe or analyze or explain (that’s a response to Simon, sort of).

Seems this covenant part resonates with others as well (I see Rebecca’s reply also) – since it’s culturally alien to me, I’m not “getting it” but I’m sure you’ll all help me understand where you’re coming from. It sounds paternalistic (as does a lot of religious discourse) and describes maybe Dave’s relationship to us at first, but I don’t get how it describes everyone’s relationship to each other, or to the community. Clearly some people “left” early on; some people left after 6 weeks, and I don’t know if any of us have any kind of unconditional commitment to rhizo14…

The last part was very interesting to me, though. That’s what I would have written a new blogpost about. The “academics” and “validation” and “certainty”. It made me think about how academic discourse is sort of a barrier to entry, isn’t it, into this exclusive club? But also, though, that one can be a more “open” academic, willing to question canons of knowledge, established traditions of research, established discourses even. Strangely, I can’t stand reading most postmodern texts, but I clearly have a lot of postmodern tendencies (not fully, though, because I never finish reading the texts – I start them then get lost).

I think, though, that my own comfort with my uncertainty is that as I progressed with my PhD, I learned that the more I know, the more I realize I do NOT know, and that I can follow my own path towards pragmatically learning what I need, rather than follow some path some other person has set for me. And you know why that’s really important? Because I am here in Egypt, and all of those theories I’m reading about? They were written by some European person from a totally different context. We’re all human, a lot of if resonates with me. But how Bourdieu’s theories of social reproduction apply to me differs from how they applied in France back when he was developing them. My research on critical thinking brought this up, but it also made me think of the ways critical thinking came from my own culture (Islamic culture, and also Egyptian pop culture), but how “different” it looked from the Western literature on it, even though it was fundamentally quite similar. Maybe I should be writing a whole blog post about this. I mean, recently, I read Howard Rheingold’s term “peeragogy” and I thought, really, how’s that different from social constructivism, peer instruction, whatever. Then again, some people might ask how’s rhizomatic learning different from connectivism, and there are these subtle differences, right? Like the emotional part, which is important to me. But see, the emotional part that I’m talking about, it comes from the PRACTICE of rhizomatic learning, from the PERSON of Dave in his way of talking about it. I can see Simon’s point about RHIZOMES not themselves having feelings or caring… so it can’t be that rhizomatic learning as a “story” sees rhizomes as “caring”, but it can be that what Dave Cormier means when he talks about rhizomatic learning includes a “community as curriculum” component that need not fit neatly (though I think he believes it does – it’s probably me who is being dense or not meticulous enough in reading him and definitely I’ve not understood what I have read of D&G too well) —- anyway! My point is this: the important thing for me is: does the learning theory explain or describe my experience, or a part of it?

More in a response to Rebecca somewhere below…