Sunday, February 10, 2013

Minds as Rhizomes

I have been thinking about the development of  my company, Blueprints for Learning.  What follows are some initial thoughts about the business, the importance of relationships and kindness, and the primacy of individual and collective agency at the thinking and feeling levels of the work...

When I think about Blueprints and possible ways of mapping the business, I imagine something like this that attempts to show the infinite possibilites of connections:

minds as rhizomes (M.A. Reilly, 2013)

Blueprints a consulting business. When you hire us, you hire a team that can be designed based on specified and emerging needs and strengths.  We provide direct services for schools, especially those in inner cities and our work in helping to nudge achievement is significant.

I am joined by a cadre of very talented consultants and we are program-less.  We are a design business, not a program.

The more interesting plan we adopt is to follow the talents and intuitions of those we employ and those we serve.  Doing so leads to rhizomatic possibilities and increases the project's energy by locating the work in the present moment.

Our motto might be: We stand where we can see our feet. 

A few ideas that (in)form the work and ways of working:


Learning is making and navigating pathways that are always local, always situated. There is no getting outside the system for a more global look, regardless of the technologies employed.

All viewing is local and deeply personal. As such kindness is required.


In writing about the limitations of knowing the whole of a network in the form of an encyclopedia, Umberto Eco (1984) states:

Such a notion ... does not deny the existence of structured knowledge; it only suggests
that such a knowledge cannot be recognized and organized as a global system; it
provides only "local" and transitory systems of knowledge which can be contradicted by
alternative and equally "local" cultural organizations; every attempt to recognize these local
organizations as unique and "global" --ignoring their partiality--produces an ideological
bias (p. 84).
Partiality, when recognized is a strength.


Where things break, new possibilities may emerge.


The ideas expressed in I, II, and III (in)form the decisions (to some degree) of the company so that breakage, slippages, and other (mis)haps are understood as emergent, not causal; as potential lines of flight; not effects.  We look for these breakages and in doing so find that these actions encourage naming, problem framing and solving--and alongside this, agency.


As we involve other consultants in the work and connect with teachers, principals, superintendents, and the children and their families--these multiplicities create a consciousness informed by ideologies that are familiar and not.  This is surely a gift.

A density emerges that cannot be traced, but can be lived in the present.  We think of this as minds as rhizomes.  The plural usage is important.  There is no single user mind. What we think of as my ideas is really a matter of collective agency that occur across minds, not within one. This is what makes the work transforming and powerful.

 The exponential growth of ideas occurs when we function rhizomatically.

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