Ampen, Don’t Dampen

Ampen, don't dampen

A week of reflection. Finding that friends were hurting and we didn’t know. Knowing that I’d been hurt as well. What to do? What to think? What to say?

A slogan from Terry jingling around in my head resulted in the above poem.

A conversation yesterday to help others with their research gave further chance to pause and reflect on some of the highs and lows of some of my more recent online interactions …

Being told my philosophy is not worth consideringFriends remixing and enhancing my words and images and sharing them with the world
Being told I was only worth befriending as a means to meeting other friendsA friend inviting me into their Digital Lighthouse
Discovering that other "researchers" had stolen our researchFriends liking and retweeting the things I make and write
Seeing some writing pulled apart maliciouslyFriends annotating some of my writing in
Postcards from friends dropping through my letterbox and cheering my soul
The anticipation of each new Daily Create
Sharing photos for Silent Sunday
A kind soul listening and helping me to find a better skin for Mastodon
I could go on, and on, and on with these acts of kindness ...

So is it worth it? Well, it’s not  a cost-benefit analysis, but I am happy to have all of the friends that I have, and I will try to ampen, not dampen – to celebrate all the wonderful things I see online, and ignore those that I think are less wonderful. Here’s the poem again as hieroglyphics for today’s Daily Create.

Ampen, Don't Dampen


Posted in #CLMOOC, D&G, Online learning, Peer interaction, Philosophy, postcards, Rhizomes | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Who owns a hashtag

twitter gaolWhat are the status of hashtags? Are they things that can be owned by individuals or groups of individuals? Once I have laid claim to one, can I request, or even demand, that other users follow whichever rules I have decided apply? Can a group  (explicitly or implicitly) come up with a set of rules or conventions that apply to tweets containing a particular hashtag? I was prompted to think about these questions during a Twitter conversation that begun after a discussion about whether remixing a stranger’s words, or images, was something we’d do. A tweet by Wendy left me thinking of tweets to a hashtag as being a signal that a person might be open to a conversation. Here’s the conversation a few of us had about that this morning.

Image stolen from @dogtrax

Posted in Misc, Online learning, Peer interaction | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Find 5 Friday songs

It’s Friday, I am alone on the office, and it’s that time of day. Here’s five songs that I like for #F5F

The Damned Smash  It Up

The Members The Sound of the Suburbs

Jeff Beck  Hi Ho Silver Lining

Terry Jacks  Seasons In The Sun

The Monkees  Daydream Believer

What are some of your favourite songs?

Posted in #CLMOOC, Music | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Changeling cats

I was going to do something clever for this Daily Create, but as I was working it out I looked around and saw both cats posed perfectly in my study. So I grabbed my camera and quickly took these photos – see how Cagney turns into a cushion and then into Lacey?

Posted in DailyCreate, DS106, Photos | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Who are you looking at

A wander around our local park earlier to use my new fancy camera


A lot of the birds seemed to be staring and asking who the heck we were to be in their space.







Posted in Photos, Scotland | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Funny Fallacies

I know clever and funny people. Today’s Daily Create asked us to illustrate our favourite fallacy.  I chose this – note my use of Wikipedia as a source:

And got the following two responses:

Which Karen elaborated on:

Both very funny responses to my original fallacy and use of Wikipedia 🙂

Posted in DailyCreate, DS106, Philosophy | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Lion and the Unicorn

lion and unicorn staircaseIt’s a funny old day … in a not funny at all sort of way. A weak and wobbly bigot is teaming up with some truly awful abominations, and all we can do is sit and watch. It looks as if a second referendum is off the table, at least for now, and I’ve had a nursery rhyme knocking around in my head all day:

The lion and the unicorn
Were fighting for the crown
The lion beat the unicorn
All around the town.
Some gave them white bread,
And some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum cake
and drummed them out of town.*

So at lunchtime I wandered over to the main building and took some pics of my old friends there.



Watch out, England. This unicorn is not giving up yet.

* The Lion and the Unicorn are  the heraldic symbols of England and Scorland

Posted in Photos, Politics, Scotland | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Solidarity, comrades

After I wrote my post yesterday I read a comment on #digciz by Stephen Downes, and this bit struck me:

We need to base society on voluntary cooperation, rather than involuntary collaboration.

Exactly. That’s what’s wrong, imo, with talking about digital citizens. I know not everybody shares my bleak view of the state and what it is to be a citizen (though some do), and I had a long chat with folk about it on Twitter, which Sheri mentions here in a very thoughtful post.

So how should we refer ourselves when we interact online? Terry provided me with food for thought in a Vialogues comment, saying:

I am thinking more lately that citizenship is just a form of solidarity and mutual aid.

So, I disagree. I still think being a citizen is about being surveilled, and taxed, and that nation states are things that we didn’t invent and we now don’t know how to get rid of because:

A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably. Wittgenstein, PI, $115

But I agree, in some way, with Terry’s idea that how we interact online should include mutual (where wanted) aid – in the sense that we have each others’ backs. So, on the eve of what could be a very bleak day for UK politics, I offer you solidarity, as a comrade. If you want it, that is. As one member of the human race to another. Not as a citizen – digital or otherwise.

friendship” flickr photo by CONNIE….  shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license


Posted in Online learning, Peer interaction, Politics, Wittgenstein | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

I am not a digital citizen

comic strip

I’m keeping half an eye on the #digciz hashtag at the moment and watching folk have a conversation about digital citizenship. I don’t understand why they are using the term “citizen” at all – it’s really not clear to me that my relationship with the various places online that I visit or inhabit is that of a citizen at all. Typically citizenship comes along with a bunch of rights and responsibilities that are given to me in virtue of being a citizen of a particular state. So which state is it that accords me my digital citizenship? Can I leave it if I want? What sort of contract do I have with this state? A social one? Explicit? Tacit? Hypothetical? All these questions are problematic enough in the context of nation states, and I don’t see how we’d even begin to answer them in the context of the digital realm (for want of a better word). Maybe looking at Estonian Digital Citizenship would help? (Thanks Niall for the pointer – it doesn’t help, haha.)

And what is this digital thing that I am meant to be a citizen of? Is this really meant to be referring to my online behaviour, or is it referring to everything digital that I do? Is there some set of rules that I don’t know about that apply when I sit here, in the privacy of my study, and look at my digital pics of my cats?

I’m genuinely perplexed by this, so if you understand why folk are wanting all the conceptual baggage that comes with the term citizenship, or at least willing to put up with it because of other benefits it carries along with it, please, please let me know. Until then I’ll keep on being a person, online and offline.

Comic remixed from one by @dogtrax

Posted in Online learning, Philosophy, Politics | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Deleuze is hard

bee and bramble flowerI remember a couple of years ago, maybe during rhizo14, some people getting annoyed about Deleuze and complaining that it was hard. Well, it is – no doubt about that. I’ve spend years practicing philosophy and I still don’t find it easy.  Like any other discipline, there’s conventions that need to be understood before a lot of it makes sense.

So I was delighted to find this the other day in an article about Deleuze, which I am going to quote at length as it’s just so much what I want to say:

Scholars add to human knowledge and help us to see and understand the world in new ways. To do so, they often invent and use concepts that are not part of ordinary language. This specialised scholarly language is known as jargon, and it can elicit scorn, especially outside the academy. But to criticise jargon as such is tantamount to saying that scholars should not go beyond common sense, which is a betrayal of their vocation. Though scholars might abuse jargon, they often need it to push the borders of thought.

The problem is that although some philosophers make up new words in order to explain new things (or invent new concepts, as Deleuze would say), this seems to have been abused by what I will call the bad pomo brigade, as satirised by Sokal. Sokal famously submitted an article full of nonsense to an academic peer reviewed journal and had it published. On the day of its publication Sokal revealed in another publication that his article was a hoax. But, as the article on Deleuze says, this is not a rebuttal of any use of jargon in philosophy.

The wrong lesson of the Sokal controversy, however, is that people in the humanities or social sciences must always use familiar language. In Deleuze and Guattari’s work, technical terms and neologisms almost always have precise etymologies and convey clear images. At its best, their philosophical language helps us to perceive the elusive factors of reality that affect what we can more easily see and measure.

So, while not being as optimistic about the clarity and lucidity of D&G as the author of this article, I do agree that it is sometimes necessary to invent new words, and that – like other sciences – philosophy needs its jargon.

As a general rule, scholars should speak as clearly and as simply as they can, without compromising the integrity of their ideas and enquiries. Few people complain when scientists or mathematicians use a technical vocabulary, and that courtesy should be extended to scholars in the humanities and the social sciences. Many common-sense terms today – such as paradigm shifts and electoral realignments – started off as jargon, and we could anticipate and welcome other scholarly terms making that transition. Rhizomes.

But here’s where I disagree with the author. For, though rhizome is a technical term in D&G, it is a term that they themselves appropriated from botany. And this, I think, is why many people misunderstand the full power of the concept. A rhizome in D&G is not a metaphor and talking about gardening does not help. Rhizomes in D&G are heterogeneous – they are multiplicities. Deleuze is a philosopher, not a bad botanist. And he’s have been better off making up new words to explain his concepts rather than borrowing some from other disciplines.

Posted in #rhizo14, #rhizo15, #Rhizo16, D&G, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments