112 Scott Johnson Quotes: out of context and in no particular order. #rhizo15

“The radical, committed to human liberation, does not become the prisoner of a ‘circle of certainty’ within which reality is also imprisoned. On the contrary, the more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can better transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.”

― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Marc Ngui, 1000 Plateaus drawings, Introduction, Paragraph 13 http://www.bumblenut.com/drawing/art/plateaus/index.shtml
Marc Ngui, 1000 Plateaus drawings, Introduction, Paragraph 13 http://www.bumblenut.com/drawing/art/plateaus/index.shtml

The alternative to someone like Dave is someone like us – and, importantly, we can imagine ourselves as teachers but I think it’s also an opportunity to recognise the importance of colleagues – the person at the desk beside us, or in the moodle forum, who says the things that make us think or move us from one concept to another.   I was thinking about this week four topic in #rhizo15, what happens if there is no Dave (no teacher), and realized that as I check my #rhizo15 newsfeeds each morning, a bit obsessively, Scott is one of the people I start to look for.   He’s part of the aggregate that I attend to and hope to participate in, as Sarah Honeychurch (another important part of my aggregate) has said: “Scott, maybe we should meme you.”  I knew them both a bit from #rhizo14. I didn’t know Dave Harris but he’s suddenly sprung up (like a rhizome!) and now I watch for him too.

So, thinking about this, on a night when I couldn’t sleep, I started going through Scott’s postings.  I have whittled these down to 100… oh wait no there’s more… a rhizomatic thing is that he keeps talking as I work on this list  (and just then I get a tweet-comic from Kevin Hodgson, another person I look for, about Scott

CElyegHW0AEt6vEand through the magic of web 2.0 i get to add it to this too)… It also just occurred to me that in effect I am transposing Dave’s handing over of the week’s question to Viplav by handing over this posting to Scott…


Thanks to Scott for not being too weirded out by this idea and giving me permission to pursue this posting.  There are many amazing voices in #rhizo15 – but I am interested in how Scott has enriched my experience of learning here.

  1. At one time it seemed preferable to be clear in what I mean. Now I’m not so sure. Contradictions matter though.
  2. I find connections suggestive of what I weakly understand as rhizomatic material. The community as curriculum extends beyond the academic community to less directed and unintentional sources.
  3. …finding connections to what I think D&G are saying in the words of others confirms to me that they are somehow understandable. This might be bad technique but it’s also refreshing to see people not let go of something just because it’s difficult.
  4. This wanders back to nomads and independent learning. Explaining to me feels like it falls into logos by association with institutionalized sense making and accepting definitions confined to the needs of the state. Propaganda, religion, advertising and political persuasion. So teaching as a form of explaining is presumably a structured description of reality yet there are times in my wanderings in self initiated learning where I hit a wall, For instance I can complain about D&G being deliberately obscure but really, I don’t understand them in the way Sian was able to make D&G accessible and I think it’s fair to ask just how independent are we? My having an “attitude” about Continental Philosophy is way different than understanding and then arguing against it.
  5. In school my inability to understand was considered a “failure” by definition of the state. Here the importance lies in the willingness to ask for help? Or maybe the freedom to choose the help I find helpful?
  6. The hurricane picture reminds me of the smooth and striated spaces where the outer mess is smooth and variable and the center resolved into rules that pretend to prediction but are just bossy orderliness.
  7. If objectivity is seen not as an ideal model of universal acceptance but simply a statement of the way things are then the rhizome need not be an abstraction but more a difference machine working the tension landscape of things-that-are and things-that-could-be?
  8. …being literally days ago when I wrote that post I have no idea what I meant.
  9. …a Simonizer would generate unpredictable outcomes appropriate the Rhizomatic zone of dis-similarity where nothing quite fits.
  10. Patrick’s mention of fear of the unknown suggests we need some way to relax around uncertainty so we can draw conclusions from things that have no reason or intention to match up.
  11. an unprovoked attention drifts

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.40.22 AM

  1. I’m not sure the lightness of random thinking is anything more than Brownian Motion
  2. …there will be none of the follow-through that distinguishes a course, only synaptic bilge-water
  3. though conservative governments may wish to shut down big education centres as dangerous gatherings of thinking people, online delivery encourages thinking to infect wider and more remote areas with ideas that befuddle the conservative message
  4. …imagination can be taught or at least cultivated. One form of evil is the discouragement of imagination, which may originate in the social fear of difference?
  5. The stranger is unpredictable.


  1. The idea of permanence is attractive yes though recent history for me is about dumping my past and that’s fun too.
  2. The tension in IT is over the predictable, do we need machines that think like people, or people who think like machines?
  3. Positive sides of ed tech: the IT department becomes lord over all content and though they may lack imagination, they at least aren’t evil.   Bandwidth hogs like D&G are cut down–more than 3 plateaus and you are out of here. Small tyrants running small minded institutions are exposed to the whole academic community and their “good-enough-for-our-students” course ware is now subject to merciless mocking and forced to meet almost modern standards.
  4. Some staff in our department won a Smart Table for the office and being close to the day care it act as both a baby changing table and electronic piano.
  5. …are thoughts and theories of academics the only source of validity. If the goal is to encourage me to think independently and I come up with my own method of discovering “truth” and am willing to defend that method isn’t that better than borrowing a recommended or approved source which I need not account for?
    1914, paragraph 5, drawing.  http://athousandplateaus-drawings.tumblr.com/
    1914, paragraph 5, drawing. http://athousandplateaus-drawings.tumblr.com/ Marc Ngui


  6. Thinking of how school invaded my life declaring itself rightful judge and master suggests the rhizome has to break through many layers of assumption–so common and whole-worldly as to be unnoticeable (irresistible in its meta-normality). We are conditioned to respond only to the known and the crafty answers it displays to name itself correct (answering our question before we can even form it) which I guess is the Objective claiming the decided and posting itself as the apparent. This many stepped process is controllable with it’s structured needs and supposed neutrality while the Subjective only needs to make sense to itself. By any manner of ‘proof’ the Subjective skips through life unperturbed by the need for ‘evidence’ and though we might not like this loosy-goosy attitude, it does provide us with the opportunity for first contact with ideas our judgement will soon pick to death.
  7. Maybe we talk-over the voice of content.
  8. Thinking about content led to applying numbers to learning and how they are currently misapplied leading me to think about how important questions are and how difficult it is to construct a question that reveals a really meaningful answer which had me thinking about Jane Jacobs on urban planning and the way she inquires about the world.
  9. I’m not convinced that division of Pedagogy and Andragogy is based on anything more complex than the fact that adults are bigger and harder to push around.
  10. If something is unconnected to your life then it needs to be made compelling.
  11. We trip over the term “relevant” when talking about education because simply calling something uninteresting “important” still leaves us uninterested.
  12. I’ve been dealing with an institution that holds onto control by responding like a snail. Poke it in the right place with a meaningful question and it responds by withdrawing into its shell and issuing a meaningless policy statement. No doubt the shell is a useful and robust adaptation but the snail itself is useless.

    Gathie Falk, The Last Summer in the Old Eden Already
    Gathie Falk, The Last Summer in the Old Eden Already
  13. I have an image of content being selected for its completeness, correctness and decidedness. It displays as closed object to us–maybe with entry points though not really open. How do we engage with something so finished?
  14. How much of our life is spent as an improved and acceptable model to please others? And who are we learning for when not ourselves?
  15. Huge swing across the political spectrum from conservative to social democratic but I don’t think is represents change. Conservatives had been in office for 44 years straight and had gotten out of the habit of explaining themselves or feeling the need to explain their erratic actions. Strangely, there is plenty of wise and useful advice out there but people prefer reasoning to be simple, even if it’s wrong. What we want to hear rules us.
  16. With not too many more years of conservative government the places will all be turned over to concession stands
  17. did you not pay attention in Sunday school?
  18. It worries me a bit that system design is actually a profession on its own. How can people “know” everything except at the level of abstraction? Or should it be called at the level of objectivity?
  19. Most measuring seems intent on finding single indicators to describe a complex system. Boil down the details and a central truth will emerge.
    portrait of Deleuze
    portrait of Deleuze


  20. …in fact bad connections can spice up a network and make it more vital.
  21. I don’t see a problem with a system in contrast with itself.
  22. In fact it may be a sign of disloyalty to be an independent learner.
  23. It’s a mythology of totalitarian power justified by attaching it to the moral vacuum of business as an imaginary place where screwing each other is held to be a neutral and non-personal activity.
  24. …she gets that just-stepped-out-of-a-saloon look in her hair by dancing with balloons so she might be reacting to the latex?
  25. Is it possible for networks to induce emergence? Aren’t networks the sum of the parts endlessly summing their parts?
  26. I don’t think age is a factor here, more to do with curiosity and the willingness to engage the unfamiliar.
  27. The college she works for has been asked to create an OER course and it will be interesting to see how a totalitarian organization approaches openness.
  28. It seems that a form of management that replaces humans with predictable models that suit organizational goals has become popular in education.
  29. There will always be missing links in any network, things that are missed or even that prefer not to be known by the network. All knowledge is limited by being incomplete but some knowledge collectives seem content on a declaration of completeness. Does this over-confidence lead to more of itself, a lock-down of thought?

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.54.11 AM

  1. The notion that putting dull ideas on a screen will make them more interesting is the old lipstick-on-a-pig design model popular in politics. We seem to process images differently than spoken word but still a bad spoken idea can always be made worse with imagery.
  2. On collage: Being “art” understood by an adolescent mind it was always a soup of subjectivity, but it still was fun–especially because there was no fixed explanation for it. Any story would fit.
  3. the signature pedagogy idea seems right though for hands-on trades some mistakes can be allowed, just not too much blood the first time–tactile learners need all the fingers they came with.
  4. adult learning always felt precarious as in “everyone else seems to have gotten it and I’m here trying AGAIN.” Fortunately the we-get-it crowd don’t hang around places like this.
Foucault’s copy of Anti-Oedipus offered by Deleuze with drawings by his two children. Deleuze points to the drawings and notes in yellow, “Oedipus does not exist.
Foucault’s copy of Anti-Oedipus offered by Deleuze with drawings by his two children. Deleuze points to the drawings and notes in yellow, “Oedipus does not exist.
  1. …welcome to the whatever-it-is-here:-)
  2. it seem like rhizomatic projects involve a commitment to cooperation where convincing yourself of the value of participation is an attitude that seeks confusion over orderliness. To me, cats are open to decision making unconstrained by an initial need to make sense of the world. First rule is to chase whatever moves. The unfortunate outcome is that catching and playing with that which was chased kills it, at which point the cats disburse leaving a dead object ready for academic discovery.
  3. Hard enough deciding on who I am at the moment:-) Is it nomadic to be everywhere’ish?
  4. if we don’t worry wouldn’t we be less attentive?
  5. could we look at objectivity as a form of bonding such that trying to “keep up” is socially considerate while the subjective is inconsiderate? As open as I would like to appear it’s also vital that I stay intact and sometimes distort experiences to fit my needs. To have and cultivate bad “manners” and not give a rats-ass what others think. Can being nomadic also include being biased?
  6. It all plays to unexamined tacit assumptions or social mythologies that in a way are objective. To break through this level of “understanding” requires accessing a different part of the brain–maybe a less hurried part?
  7. those plant people are strangely appealing.
  8. at one time it seemed this MOOC would get simpler. That some strategy would kick in… it hasn’t and I’m thinking it doesn’t matter. Things just keep moving with each thought building on the one before by taking it apart and leaving us wondering how long the current one will last.
Bill Reid's Spirit Canoe at Vancouver International Airport, multiple exposure with Hipstamic app
Bill Reid’s Spirit Canoe at Vancouver International Airport, multiple exposure with Hipstamic app
  1. Being driven might be our natural state while others settle. My parents were artists and never mentioned end-points. There were places to go but they were never described as destinations. More like different base camps to branch out from. Have to think about this.
  2. Advice from your children is tricky because you never know if they learned from you and arguing against it is disagreeing with yourself.
  3. …like to at least explore a person’s thoughts on WHY something happened before the WHAT happened to get the personal feel before the analysis. People do things for reasons that may not be revealed in what came back at them.
  4. Cause and effect in human relations can be very difficult to untangle and our encounters with constructs like institutions can feature a sensitive and aware human encountering a cold and impersonal policy. The WHAT of what happened has no will or reasoning power–it just happened to a model individual unrelated to the real person who triggered the response.
  5. We give up our intuitions and insights in an attempt to be the dispassionate observer uninfluenced by beauty.
  6. …maybe just needing to be right we become wrong?
  7. good point about power. It distorts the objective to its own end of seeming rational because “everyone knows” disarms us because we need the social so badly. That’s my key problem with the medical system–they have sanctified themselves in the objectivity of the oppressor. And here I go after another rabbit.
  8. how about a list of the failings of objectivity if it were personified? ‘Subjective’ is a not-so-nice way to refer to the personal and tends to devalue experience as unreliable or a distortion of some higher understanding. If we enthrone objectivity as a higher state of experiencing the world then we are tasked with deciding which reality is most true? Fault #1, objectivity is a construct of naturally subjective humans who are notoriously unreliable.
  9. Here in rhizo it’s kind of “call us when you get there” thing where everyone smiles as you get on the wrong bus.
  10. that looks like the wrong wrong bus.Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 12.02.24 PM
  11. There was some disappointment last year that D&G never really got discussed. Some us, like me avoided the discussion by making up elaborate excuses and creating distractions (not to mention despairing remarks) and the whole thing became known as “The Tragedy of the Rhizome” as it on the scale of the sinking of the Titanic but went unnoticed. Sad really–though predictable in this crowd.
  12. Maybe D&G weren’t meant to be read?
  13. life would be so much easier if we all could just wiggle out of problems that won’t resolve . . . our current election campaigning features the corrupted logic of the managed argument that a candidate can be ‘for’ services to constituents while being ‘for’ lower taxes raising the problem of cutting staffing at the services to pay for increased services.
  14. Alternately, the rhizome allows you to adapt to changing conditions by frequently changing your mind.
  15. …a fixed outcome for a traveler could be an openness to the unexpected. This need not disorient the person but delight them in the strangeness of contrast. Traveling outside one’s comfort zone can erase strategies for learning and be quite uncomfortable but sometimes the safe linear stepping stones create a false model of the world as predictable as A followed by B and instead of knowing how navigate people just sail to the same place every time. What happens when expectation fails? What next?
  16. …a subjective is an unrevealed destination while a objective is an argument for not going there at all.Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 12.05.27 PM
  17. proof of participation seems different than proof of contribution but I’m unsure why? Being there isn’t enough, nor to my mind is the melding of voices into one. Can collaboration matter if it doesn’t leverage difference?
  18. The limitations, disagreements, personal interests and general unwillingness of humans to cooperate makes collaboration either close to a miraculous achievement or a forced march to nowhere.
  19. So the difference is my personal perception that collaboration is unproductive and personally invasive unless it allows for a range of differences which may make it practically too difficult to manage.
  20. Submitting yourself as neutral while simultaneously being investigator and subject can seriously mess with a person’s identity.
  21. the irresistible messiness of rhizomatic jack-foolery.
  22. we should let people go astray and not always worry them about bad choices. (And this doesn’t mean letting children run out into traffic). Maybe encouraging learning from all experiences including “mistakes” is the key. Saying “shit-happens” is really poor pedagogy and a huge loss of potential.


  1. To me, the whole structure of education was / is centred on discovering what someone else already knows. There’s no invitation to genuinely participate–only to go around collecting ‘appropriate’ answers that can be traded.
  2. When I’m asked to remove my self to be ‘objective’ I find my thoughts push all the learning from experience that built me away and I need to operate as channel for ideas that are borrowed and not of myself.
  3. …like a herd of freely associating, autonomous cats.
  4. I remember libraries as attempting to confirm reality by displaying so many versions of it that it couldn’t not exist. From there you were on your own to pick one, some, or just start your own.
  5. in school it often seemed the teachers were crushed if you didn’t “learn” something measurable. It wasn’t for their selfish needs, though they might have felt it a personal or professional failure to have not “gotten through” to me. The need to demonstrate learning has been reduced to cause and effect–take math, learn math, exhibit math on tests. What you can do with math is limited to what you’ve been given to do. Not knowing where we are going and going anyway is unresolved at the start and maybe we are averse to begin without knowing how it will end?
  6. I think people who believe in equity will act with fairness but most people have to be hammered into awareness.
  7. How do we get past mistaking contemplation for passivity?
  8. introverts as change makers feels like something difficult to measure.
  9. This is a free service by the way:-)
  10. No one likes hard topics, though I suppose a discussion over why the Tooth Fairy pays less for girl’s teeth might catch on:-)
  11. But I do worry that we’ve become immune to what measurements tell us by their overuse. Maybe we need to feel the inequality first and then the numbers confirm it?
from David Fullerton's
from David Fullerton’s “I’m Sorry” series. http://davidfullarton.com/
  1. I do like the notion of thinking systematically, creatively and critically being measured by schools as institutions. It gives the impression that these qualities are a public value to be judged by experts. Something else to fail at in the eyes of the state.
  2. There’s a close relationship between locality as a space between the imagining of nodes. Locality seems less fixed yet more understandable by its chance to be variable and living while the node is an object or artifact needing a single identity to hold its position.
  3. neurons form pathways to favorites or groups of faves and though these affinity groups may evolve they tend to evolve together–maybe as a loyalty to the rut they all share? In a way this a self limiting system. In Viviana’s nodeless rhizome concept we have lines without the need for destinations. Things appear and often vanish leaving you to explain…what?
  4. Networks seem like an artificial model conceived by humans and then applied to nature. And then we turn and take the biological rhizome and apply it to human learning, then as George Seimens mentioned rhizomes act as generators of copies and we’ve been talking about them (I think) as instigators of diversity–or as I prefer, signal jammers and suggesters of alternative pathways.
  5. The rhizome waits for no one.
  6. The problems were solved by getting rid of all the “difficult” students, their teachers and having nightly inspirational talks on the actual meaning of the word “Wonder” as applies to doughy whiteness in a loaf of Wonder Bread.
  7. When objectivity becomes a form of publicly accepted bullshit it needs challenging or it becomes further embedded.
  8. we still need to go out into the mess or we’ll run out of things we think we know.
  9. it does feed my interest in how things fail so it’s interesting to watch
  1. When the city paved our street everything grew wheels.
  2. . . . the world repackaged in tedious explanations passing for understandings. Or maybe there’s process we can learn for seeding ideas that we can stand away from and not feel the need to intrude and direct? .
  3. We need a Pleasing Number Generator that could take any data and make it agreeable to the receiver.
  4. Why do we suppose taking things apart will reveal something about the world?
  5. for as often the term ‘free range’ comes up on the menu these days it might be better for us chickens to do our thinking inside the barn where no one is looking for us?
  6. Content is insecure completeness.
  7. During a brief career in education I realized that I’d always found learning vital even though school pushed me away.
  8. The online world has made them accountable beyond their tiny empires and that matters a lot to students here who deserve more than shit for education.
  9. I feel compelled to provide transitions between boundaries which almost feels like a slavery to content.
  10. The idea of waiting until we are deep into the mess to start on a strategy of sense making beats avoiding the mess to be safe. That said and notwithstanding housekeeping tips from an anarchist, I think I’ll stay out a bit longer.
  11. educational technology is developing theories though it seems to be mostly trial and error at the moment and hasn’t reached magnificence of a philosophy.
  1. the level of trial and error beats resolved theories and makes for more interesting discussions.
  2. the idea of renewal and shedding old baggage is essential–I won’t say essential to progress which I wonder about o I’ll say essential to allow new voices to be heard.Rauschenberg, Express, 1974

One thought on “112 Scott Johnson Quotes: out of context and in no particular order. #rhizo15

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s