Whose rules are they anyway?

Original illustration of the Caucus Race from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by John Tenniel 1865

I’ve been talking a lot in my various social networks, communities, collectives (whatever the heck we are!) about exactly what #rhizo14 was.  Was it a MOOC? A course? A happening? A party?  Who knows.  At the time it all began we talked about falling down the rabbit hole, and a year later there’s a sense that we still don’t know the rules, yet we carry on playing.

That reminds me. Recently I was invited along to a maths games event. I took a couple of friends because we thought it would be fun. It wasn’t, really, but that’s by the by. One of the games on offer was a Mahjong set, but it didn’t have any rules accompanying it. I googled, and discovered there were many different sets of rules – none of which the people playing could be bothered to read. They made up their own set and had a perfectly ok time – although the rules they adopted made it hard to tell when, if ever, either of them had won.

Were they wrong? Do you have to know the rules of a game and abide by them in order to be really playing the game? Arguably not, according to Wittgenstein.  Read Scrabble and see what you think.

John Tenniel`s original (1865) illustration for Lewis Carroll`s “Alice in Wonderland”. Alice sitting between Gryphon and Mock turtle

With #rhizo15 around the corner I feel like the Mock Turtle, by the way, suggesting that it might be fun fun thing to do. Will you? Won’t you?

I’ve been playing around with musical metaphors to describe my experience in #rhizo14 and some other enjoyable experiences. It’s a bit like pogoing to free form jazz.  It can be a lot of fun, but you don’t have to join in.

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2 Responses to Whose rules are they anyway?

  1. Simon Ensor says:

    “Pogoing to free form jazz.” So that’s what you have been up to! Worrying outcome.

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