CCK08: Week 6 The C Words and the D Words

It has been a different tempo week for me this week. After I posted the Not an Island post I discovered at first hand the power of networks.

The spike in visits to this blog reflects Stephen’s mention of the post in The Daily. The tempo reflects too that I have been getting the garden ready for our daughter’s wedding on Saturday.

Early in the week I read Jenny’s post on slow blogging and took my lead from the ideas she discussed. I noticed too Chris Lott’s comments on Jenny’s post. I wonder if there is a ‘smouldering’ category in connectedness that lies between ‘rapid-fire and off’?

Stephen’s post about Adrian Hill’s posts was another impetus to slow blogging this week.

Robin Heyden’s post on the qualities of connected people and Pierfranco Ravotto’s posting of his grandmother’s photograph and his subsequent post about Complexity, Chaos and Research provided a very gentle read and reaffirmed for me the importance of transparency in writing.

I was further distracted by the ABC’s Not Quite Art program Culture Shock broadcast on 14 October. The program includes an interview with Ben Croshaw. The creator of the Arthur Yahtzee character has some 4 million visits to his website for his reviews of adventure games. Here are some of his YouTube links.The Not Quite Art program has a MPEG4 and WMV downloads of the program here.

Not Quite Art traces how our culture is shifting from the hierarchical, local and parochial structures to a global and networked world where Australian artists have audiences around the world, yet often remain relatively unknown in their local community.

After CCK08 tag-surfing on WordPress and following up most of the Google CCK08 alerts I read this week’s sources including George’s recent post on Complexity, Chaos and Emergence and the additional paper by Cynthia Kurz and David Snowden on  sense-making in a complex and complicated world. I have been following up on course members’ reviews of these articles.

I was struck by the C words in the sources (complexity, chaos, Cynefin) and the D words in Stephen’s SlideShare presentation.

I have been thinking about Chaos for some time. Back in 1996 the New Scientist published this article about some work I was doing in football (soccer). I had come to think about chaotic behaviour after the publicity given to James Gleick‘s book and to thinking about some of the ideas in figurational sociology identified in one of the earliest readers in the Sociology of Sport (1971). I had read a little about Rene Thom’s catastrophe theory too. The Rules of Disorder had encouraged me to think about apparently random behaviour.

This week’s readings in CCK08 have reawakened those early musings. I have to be very honest though… I do not have the mathematical capabilities to address the ‘phase space‘ characteristics of chaotic behaviour nor do I have any clear understanding of the mechanisms of strange attraction (other than being attracted intuitively to the concept). As a result of Gleick’s work I am interested in perturbation and equilibrium and was interested to see Seth Bullock’s slides in this regard.

I joined the second Elluminate session on Thursday morning (Australian time). Alec Couros’ presentation provided an excellent addition to the discussion about course design and gave me an opportunity to re-read Renata Phelps’ paper Going with the Flow of Non-Linear Learning.

I noted that George has posted a mid-course review. This week has seemed like a catching of breath for me. I have not visited Moodle for some time but am keen to join Second Life given Fleep Tuque’s work. I am finding that the richness of the blogs, the stimulus of The Daily and the emerging themes of the course are enabling me to link biography and the practice of connecting. I enjoyed Kenkat’s return this week as another part of ordering the complexity of a connected commitment to learning.

Now it is off to the wedding with some First Life connecting to do!

CCK08: Not an Island?

Week 5 in CCK08 has opened up a lot of thoughts for me. I have tried to read as many blogs as possible and am staggered by the richness of what people are doing. I have not experienced such a focused creative incandescence before and I have spent an enormous amount of time thinking, reflecting and admiring.

I was contemplating John Donne’s Meditation XVII (including the ‘No man is an island’ lines) when I came across this link to Jason van Genderen’s 2008 Tropfest short film.

This article provides some background information about the film and the film makers.

CCK08: Week 5 Stephen, George, Jon, Terry, Frida, Antony and Leonard

I have been looking forward to this week’s CCK08 Connectives and Collectives readings, viewings and listenings. I do not read ahead of the course and reserve each Monday for reading, reflecting on and writing about that week’s materials.

I am fascinated by the creativity of course participants and the emerging visualisations of the ideas, concepts, thoughts and reflections. This week I would like to add a music metaphor to the mix of discussion to make sense of connectives, collectives, groups, networks and affordances.

Although my knowledge of pop music is somewhat dated I recall that some musicians were listed by their names (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) whilst others were aggregated as a group name (The Rolling Stones). Sometimes a member of the group became pre-eminent during the lifetime of the group and had their name listed ahead of the group (Diana Ross and the Supremes). Sometimes a backing group was formed to support an established individual (Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds).  Sometimes the creative energy in a group had a centrifugal effect and groups disbanded (The Beatles). Still other groups chose a title to conceal the identity of the individuals even though their artistic flair was an individual (unique) contribution (The Traveling Wilburys).

Given the differences I perceived in Stephen’s, George’s and Jon and Terry’s contribution to Week 5’s discussion I thought I would list them as individuals in the title of the post rather than as The Collectives. As ever, I reveled in Stephen and George’s views. I found Jon and Terry’s social view of e-learning thought-provoking. (I was sidetracked by contemplating Figure 1 in their paper. Is the relationship between a network, collective and group symmetrical with equal space for each element and overlap?)

Whether it is serendipity or providence I have been listening to Frida Ohrn’s (Oh Laura) Release Me.

The lyrics are:

I am the wilderness locked in a cage
I am a growing force you kept in place
I am a tree reaching for the sun
Please don’t hold me down
Please don’t hold me down

I am a rolling wave without the motion
A glass of water longing for the ocean
I am an askful flower breaking free but you keep stopping me
Release me
Release me

I am the rain that’s coming down on you
That you shielded yourself from with a roof
I am the fire burning desperately but you’re controlling me
Release me
Release me

I think these lyrics embody the issues Stephen and George discuss this week.

A few weeks ago the SBS broadcasted a Leonard Cohen tribute I’m Your Man. In it Antony Hegarty sang If It Be Your Will. YouTube provides a link to Leonard Cohen’s own version of this song.

These are the lyrics:

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will.

In the context of this week’s readings it is fascinating to hear two distinct voices (Antony Hegarty and Leonard Cohen) with the same content. I am wondering if Frida, Antony and Leonrad encapsulate the issues under discussion this week.

By coincidence I have been working with someone who is exploring the works of G H Mead, Harold Garfinkel and Erving Goffman. Even with these three thinkers the profundity of the study of the self and social norms is enormous!

I am hopeful that I will remain an ‘askful flower breaking free’ whilst being nourished by the wonderful connections offered by a network (and community) in CCK08.