"But you've given me nothing," retorted Alice, a touch miffed.
"Are you sure?" came the enigmatic reply.
Lewis Carroll. Masquerade. 1872
It was this unlikely reference, from a lesser known work of Carroll which came to my mind.
I had just read Dave Cormier's edited title for his "Rhizomatic Learning Course" on its Facebook group:
"Rhizomatic Learning - designing for people, not content."
Actually it wasn't Carroll's Masquerade which first came to my mind.
It was the story of a hare, a golden hare.
I shall explain.
Kit Williams' Masquerade.
Masquerade was a book by a certain Kit Williams.
It was elaborately drawn, beautifully designed and at its heart was an enigma.
Not only were the readers attracted by the book's artfulness, its killer feature was its promise of a puzzle which might lead the attentive reader to a dream of great riches...
Kit Williams had fashioned a golden, bejeweled hare and had buried it somewhere in the UK.
The whereabouts of the enormously valuable treasure would be revealed to those readers who deciphered the code hidden in the book.
The book became a publishing phenomenon.
Tens of thousands of the books were sold.
It had captured the public's imagination.
It was in phase with the zeitgeist of its epoque.
There were complaints from householders who became fed up with people digging up their gardens, convinced that they had found the hiding place of the Masquerade hare.
Eventually the hare was found in 1982 by a Mr Ken Thomas.
Masquerade and Scandal!
This discovery would be the source of a later scandal.
It was alleged that the winner had cheated!
The finding of the hare did nothing to discourage certain treasure hunters who convinced themselves that there was not a single hare but two, or perhaps three...or more.
The story of the hunt for the hare would be documented by a Mr. Bamber Gascoigne, a popular TV presenter of the period.
Bamber Gascoigne, having been asked by Williams to witness the burial of the hare and to document the contest from beginning to end, did so in his book Quest for the Golden Hare. Gascoigne summarized his experiences thus:
- "Tens of thousands of letters from Masqueraders have convinced me that the human mind has an equal capacity for pattern-matching and self-deception. While some addicts were busy cooking the riddle, others were more single-mindedly continuing their own pursuit of the hare quite regardless of the news that it had been found. Their own theories had come to seem so convincing that no exterior evidence could refute them. These most determined of Masqueraders may grudgingly have accepted that a hare of some sort was dug up at Ampthill, but they believed there would be another hare, or a better solution, awaiting them at their favourite spot. Kit would expect them to continue undismayed by the much publicised diversion at Ampthill and would be looking forward to the day when he would greet them as the real discoverers of the real puzzle of Masquerade. Optimistic expeditions were still setting out, with shovels and maps, throughout the summer of 1982."
- Source Wikipedia.
Dave Cormier's Masquerade.
Dave Cormier's "Rhizomatic Learning" is Masquerade I thought...
I think that "Rhizomatic Learning" is a great story for people who enjoy intellectual enigmas and digging around with like and unlike-minded others.
Just find a few fellow learners amongst the throng, wait for them to drop their masks or dance along aside them regardless.
Masks are fun!
Learning is a ball.
Mystery adds spice!
The "Rhizome" can provide a backdrop to any learning treasure hunt you care to engage in, particularly on the web!
Just choose your -cal, the rhizome is unequivocally adaptable.
Deleuze and Guattari's Masquerade.
Deleuze and Guattari, provides boundless territory for the intellectually challenged, over a thousand French plateaus of mindful/less digging.
An ultimate Masquerade!
Yes "Rhizomatic Learning" reminds me of (a) Masquerade.
It captures zeitgeist for postpostmodern, hyperconnected complexity...
We live, we learn, we chatter, we quest for (a) meaning...
We dig here, we dig there.
We find no(some)thing very, very, much.
A handsome prize awaits for the reader who finds a first edition of Lewis Carroll's version.
I have been looking for it for so long...