Monday, November 13, 2017


I am up too early in the morning, juggling
in my head.

This is what researching complexity does to you  - you find yourself with two many balls spinning around in your brain.

Fuck it.

I dropped an F word.

I have diminished responsibility.


Some of those balls have been thrown into the air by others.

Stop it, stop it, bloody stop it.

There it is.

I dropped a B word.

It's your fault.

There are too many of them now.

All at once.


I dropped a D word.

I keep trying, but I need to practice more to keep it up.


Damn that Nietzshe.

What was it Sarah was saying the other day?

She had dream dialogues with a dead German philosopher.

Well as long as he left her to sleep and he didn't wake her up.

I am beyond dreaming.

I am regretfully awake.

At half past four in the morning.

I woke up to go and paste the juggling photo on a conference presentation.

That's what was keeping me up.

Up till midnight transcribing a conversation with a young teacher in a bar.

What was it that he said at the beginning of the dialogue?


Then the conversation went on for another fifty two minutes.


I have done eleven minutes of transcription.

It took me an hour.


So here I am.

I have all these bloody balls in my head.

Some of them are nodes on networks - people, stories, discourses, smartphones, classrooms.

Others are spread out over time.

Others you need a zoom lens to see and study.

I have turned into some sort of biologist with a microscope.

I have turned into some sort of naturalist in a hide listening to bird song, watching a fox, watching an owl, watching a boar eating acorns, watching me, watching me.

I keep my head low, I wear camouflage for fear that I will disturb the wildlife.

Is this my bloody hide?

It will get me skinned.

Touches of sense?

Touches of madness rather.

It was Waldrop that set it off.

Well he dropped a bloody ball.

Well have to blame somebody.

And muggins here picked it up.

And now it's spinning around in my head.

At dawn.



"The edge of chaos, the constantly shifting battle zone between stagnation and anarchy, the one place where a complex system can be spontaneous, adaptive and alive."
Mitchell Waldrop.

That's where I find myself at four forty eight in the morning.

At the edge of chaos.

I size it up.

I keep my eye on the ball.

I am clearly alive.

This is spontaneous.

I suppose this is some sort of  adaptive action.

I am alive.

But uncomfortably awake.

But, Mitchell did say "battle zone"... 


November 13th 2015.

Some die.

I am missing them.

I am missing them.

I am missing my friends out there.

In no particular order.

They keep popping up in my head.

Where's that juggling gif that I made?

There it is.

I thought it would come in some day.

It's a bit rough.

It will do.

Blimey, why did I choose those pictures?

I can't remember.

I am missing my friends out there.

In no particular order.

Terry, Kevin, Sarah, Wendy, Maha, Mia, Ken, Keith, Ron, Alan....uncle Tom Cobbley et al.

I could go on.

I'll be back.

Online....Offline, I have been juggling.


Concentrating on getting those balls up.

I have been juggling.

Stop throwing me bloody balls!

I already have too many.

I know they are juggling too.

My friends...that is.

I have been juggling.

But not here.

Not visibly.

I am juggling now.

On paper.

In my head.


I am looking forward to having more play time.

No. I am looking forward to less solitary games.

Too many balls in my head.

I have been quiet quite a while.

The conference presentation is almost ready.

I am almost ready.

Learning on the edge of chaos...

Trying to map a route with/through complexity ain't easy.

It ain't easy.

It won't go in straight lines.

There are too many curve balls to catch.

Sod it.

That's my limit.

There's those students to throw a few balls to.

They can juggle too.

For me, for them, for you.

We all drop off eventually.

I am hoping this will help me drop off.

For an hour and forty minutes.

What was it that Nietzsche was saying?


  1. Like beautiful dots of paint 🎨 the balls fall to create dreamtimes, storylines, journey paths and maps to meeting places. Miss you too.…

  2. Dreaming of Nietzsche in the early morning? Hope you put those juggling items away for a few hours and found some peace.

  3. “Blessed are the sleepy ones: for they shall soon nod off.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

  4. It seems that peace can be found in a couple of ways, and both can work. First, I can arrange all my balls neatly at rest on the floor about me in perfect meaning. Second, I can keep my balls spinning in elegant arcs with confident, practiced hands that create new, surprising meanings. Really, both work, and I've appreciated both, but in the long run, I'm always drawn to the second.

  5. On your tweet stream for this post was a reference to entropy, which commonly, and for not all bad reasons gets equated to chaos. To people chaos is unsettling, an undesirable state.

    But to a physical system, and as entropy is as a property, it's all about potential energy. A system with more entropy, less order, has more energy in it to do something. Think about it as physical states. Gases have more entropy than liquid which has more energy than solids. Solids have more atomic order (structure) then liquids than have more structure than gases. To move from a higher order entropy (disorder) to a more ordered one, say going from water (liquid) to solid (ice) you need to expend energy (aka use a refrigerator).

    So the chaos, all those balls in the ear, might be seen as a state of not just high entropy but high potential.

    Of course this is easy to write when it's not 4:48am ;-)

    I say keep juggling, do not give up entropy so readily.

  6. 100% with you. Juggling theoretical frameworks and literature reviews. Missing my online friends.