Thursday, April 16, 2015

Doodling in Latin...

Any scrap of paper will do.

(The scrap on the left, on which the image of an old man is drawn, is an example.)

This class has got nothing to do with me.

I shall be elsewhere.

I escape the clutches of Latin grammar and let my mind wander.

I am the archetypal distracted student.

I am the one at the back that the teacher gives stern looks to.

All those bad school reports now make me realise that the teachers were less concerned about my learning and more concerned about my playing their game.

I just couldn't be bothered.

I watched Dave Cormier's video presenting the theme for week 1 and it left me feeling a little frustrated. I didn't like the sound of 'learning subjectives'; I mean that literally I didn't like the sonority of the word subjectives.

Apart from the obvious objective subjective (false) dichotomy there was little, I felt I could dig into, to explore.

It felt to me like I was already with a spade and wheelbarrow to unearth rhizomes and all I got was a lump of concrete just under the surface.

After an initial exploration of what other diggers had come up with, I found a few rich roots to unearth and to contemplate.

They had clearly found more inspiration.

They were not bothering so much to dig downwards into the Dave Cormier prompt, they were working laterally, letting their gaze wander more widely.

I chose three posts which marked me from the first days of rhizo15:

Firstly there was Keith Hamon's wonderful swarming post:  "Ethics in MOOCS: the Two Four Ten or so Commandments of #rhizo15"  . Each of Keith's posts are a MOOC in themselves.  I have great admiration for the sobriety, the precision, the intellectual depth of Keith's writing.

Then there was Susan Watson's "Subjective Learning Subjugated-Objectives Subversive-Subjunctives." I love how Susan uses language, how she exudes energy in her writing. I love her word play, she set me off on one of the games that I prefer.

After there was Mary Ann Reilly's beautifully written, heart-breaking piece on the death of her mother "What it was I was listening for." It made me think back on how rhizo14 had been for me in part a process of grieving.

I immediately went back and read two posts that I wrote at the beginning of that course: Suspend disbelief and Life beyond the meme. Learning is often recursive. Learning is indeed grief engraved.

I came back to Dave Cormier's 'learning subjectives' what on earth could I do with it?

Prompted by Susan Watson's word play, I decided to cut up the word 'subjective'.

How many words could I find with 'ject'?

Trajectory  - that was a good start. It connected with mapping and rhizomes. Rhizomes map laterally.


Hmm.  Prefixes and Suffixes I thought that could be worth exploring.

In fact what did 'ject' mean?

Latin classes were actually proving pretty useful so many years after.

I googled 'ject' - I had never done that before.

All of that thanks to Dave Cormier!

'Ject' is a 'root' word - marvellous for rhizomes!

I found a resource for English students.

There was something in the introduction which immediately struck me:

'An oddity about this ROOT is that it never stands alone, as other ROOTS do. 
Standing alone it has no meaning.'

These ROOT-WORDS are JAC, JEC & JECT meaning THROW & LIE. An oddity about this ROOT is that it never stands alone, as other ROOTS do. Standing alone, it has no meaning. It is entirely dependent on prefixes and suffixes to be meaningful. 

1. Dejected : de JECT ed (de jekt’ ed) adj. 

Low in spirits; cast down 

2. Dejection : de JECT ion (de jek’ shun) n. 

A condition of despair; depression 

3. Adjacent : ad JAC ent (ad jas’ ent) adj. 

Next to; as, the adjacent house 

4. Adject : ad JECT (a jekt’) v. 

To add to; to annex 

5. Adjective : ad JECT ive (aj’ ek tiv) n. 

Not standing alone; a word which modifies a noun 

6. Adjectival : ad JECT ival (aj ek tie’ val) adj. 

Using many adjectives; as, an adjectival style 

7. Conject : conJECT (kon jekt’) v. 

To plan; to surmise 

8. Conjecture : con JECT ure (kon jek’ chur) v. 

To form an opinion; to surmise 

9. Ejaculate : e JAC ulate (e jak’ yu late) v. 

To throw out; cry out 

10. Eject : e JECT (e jekt) v. 

To throw out; as, eject him from the hall 

So, those Latin classes were not only useful for practising my doodling, they also enabled me to recognise how words are constructed.

I take back all that I have said about Latin.

Rhizomatic learning in rhizo15 is about making connections.

Dave Cormier you are a genius.

What a wonderful week 1 video!

We are at ROOT social  animals we are JECTS.

We are thrown out and there we lie, helpless.

Little by little we try to make sense of our lot.

I think we all come to the same conclusion: Alone we are meaningless.


  1. If I might interject ... "intermezzo" was my mot du jour yesterday. I think today can be "interject".

  2. This got me thinking about words that don't truly have an independent meaning. Their meaning is derived from context. Conjunctions (perhaps JUNCT sounding like a cousin of JECT) are interesting. And, but, or are more like rules than words with meaning. Their role being to connect, negate, question. Those are functions that have some metaphoric weight for this community.

    1. There is much I could say (if I could remember what I have read) about words having no intrinsic meaning outside of a context. Thank u Patrick will look that up.

  3. Simon, I want to roll around in this post like I'm in a field of flowers and jump in it like like I'm in a pile of leaves. Love it.

  4. Love the full circle this takes from the visual image you begin with and the story about learning in Latin (for aren't we always learning?) and how you makes roots in this current day through playful exploration of parts and w/holes.

    1. Thank u Mary Ann u gave me a clue to read what I wrote more closely. Indeed it goes full circle. Thank u again for your sensitive artfulness.

  5. In writing, trajectory is an informative discussion (or map) of the various avenues texts can travel as they both affect, and are affected by, the world.

    1. Thank Jaap, I think I will look at trajectories more intently.

  6. Alone we are meaningless! says so much! Why re-ject-ion is such a hurtful action - we all need to mean something to someone!

  7. Ooh! I like that you left out pro-ject, as I think the verb often means asserting one's own assumptions. My experience of #rhizo15 so far is that we are all adjacent, making conjectures and seeing how they fly.

    1. Project how could I have forgotten that Lisa? Thank u will add to my JECTs.

  8. Simon, this is so wonderful. I'm dancing with Susan on the pile of leaves, and I suspect many others are as well. I especially like how relaxing in the face of something that was at first uncomfortable or annoying allowed you to drift laterally to something that worked for you. All of us will find something in an open MOOC that affronts at first, we just have to relax and drift. Have faith. An interjection, a disruption, a fold is just a step away. Thanks so much.

    1. Actually Keith to be honest I read your blog and caught your drift. It also connects with discussions I was having with Terry Elliott about derive (fr). Thank you.

    2. What u are saying about dissonance and drift is so Aikido.

  9. Simon, you are the master thought doodler. I love following the map of your thinking connections, the turning out of your thoughts. Seems effortless. Now I'm wondering why "ject" is making me think of the Jetsons. Strange.

    1. That Barry is telepathy. I screenshot a picture a few hours ago of the Jetsons. No kidding

    2. I just googled aikido, and it looks like something that I could get into. May find a teacher. Thanks.

  10. If I may... INTERJECT, I would mention that you brilliantly tie the Root back to the Rhizome while making sure that the main point of our Humanness is central to learning. I found my connection in the last 4 words. Alone we are meaningless.

    Thank you Simon.