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… the above is my variation on WP’s comment on the “Hey Soul Brother” post:

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.
Benjamin Disraeli

1st update:

Oh, and WP’s comment on this one can be read as an explanation of  why I titled it Sing/write, not Write/sing a song. Something about the best way to start a blog being to start reading them — by Jarvis (?)

Well, there was also the alliteration embeddedness to observe:

sing write … with subject

2nd update:

After two Train-related posts, I thought it would only be fair to include a video:

Youtube credit: Uploaded by on Nov 24, 2009

June 28, 2012 update:

Pat Monahan explains the meaning behind his Grammy-winning song, “Drops of Jupiter” on Youtube

Yet another update, July 8, 2012:

Drops of Jupiter studio recording at

Update, July 8, 2012: A studio recording of the song, plus visit site for free music

Credits for concert tip and the original lyrics of “Hey Soul Sister” by Train go to this URL

If I may, I’m taking the liberty, yet again, to get creative with somebody else’s lyrics:

“Hey, Soul Brother” [my changes in color]

Hee-ey he-e-ee-ey he-e-ee-ey

Your whisper stays on the temp’ral lobe o’ my left-side brain
I knew I wouldn’t forget you
And so I went and let you rock my mind
Your sweet caress
The smell of you in every man that I address
I knew when we collided you’re the one I have decided
Who’s one of my kind

Hey soul brother, ain’t that rather rather… Unbelievable, unforgivable–
The way you move ain’t fair you know
Hey soul brother, I don’t wanna miss a single thing you do. Tonight.

Hee-ey he-e-ee-ey he-e-ee-ey

Just in time, I’m so glad you have a one-track mind like mine
You make my life connected
Insist that you direct it, but we will see (well, won’t we)
I’m so obsessed
My heart is bound to flutter right out of my chest
I believe in you, you’re my hero, one and only
And I’m always gonna wanna rock your mind

Hey soul brother, ain’t that rather rather… Unbelievable, unforgivable–
The way you move ain’t fair you know
Hey soul brother, I don’t wanna miss a single thing you do. Tonight.

The way you can cut a rug
Watching you is the only joy I need
Don’t be gangster, don’t be coy
You’re the only one I’m dreaming of
You see I can be myself now finally
In fact there’s nothing I can’t be
I want the world to see you be with me

Hey soul brother, ain’t that rather rather… Unbelievable, unforgivable–
The way you move ain’t fair you know
Hey soul brother, I don’t wanna miss a single thing you do tonight
Hey soul brother, I don’t wanna miss a single thing you do. Tonight.

Hee-ey he-e-ee-ey he-e-ee-ey Tonight.
Hee-ey he-e-ee-ey he-e-ee-ey Tonight.

updated: image and text, June 19, 2012

Well, more synchronicity here.

Remember Gregory Bateson’s puzzle, about what connects the orchid with a host of other biotics, including “me” and “you”? (see my multimodal file on parallels between Bateson and the early pragmatists, p.  9) It turns out, unsurprisingly, that Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus, rely on “the orchid and the wasp” biological mutualism to illustrate their concept of the rhizome (on the analogy of the biological rhizome [< Gk “mass of root”], see definition below). Biological “mutualism,” or what I’d compare to “ecology,” was theorized at least as far back as Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, where he talks about orchids (once again!!!) being pollinated by a specific subspecies of insect.

The Deleuzian-Guattarian rhizome/rhizomatic as a mode of knowing, knowledge making and representation thereof, is pretty much what I have been calling “heterarchy/-ical” (combined with “ecological”) as an alternative to a hierarchical (tree-like, in their terms) epistemological format. I advocate heterarchy/-ical as the ecological mode of Open Review/Ecological Knowledge epistemologies (a couple of posts ago).

Of course, if in a D-G rhizomatic model everything is connected to everything else, and entry and exit points, beginnings and ends cannot be locationally fixed, then the rhizome concept is deeply ecological/systems theoretical.

What I’d be specifically interested in–over and above the overlap with systems theory, e.g., epistemologically–are two biological aspects thanks to the analogy to a plant rhizome: 1) fecundity (biol. propagation) and 2) resilience (biol. perennation). That is, per 1), the regenerative powers of the rhizome, whereby, if a piece is separated from it or extends it, it will sprout a whole new plant, effecting propagation. Per 2), the ability of a rhizomous plant to wait out the winter season underground, and then to re-grow, out of the rhizome.

Thus the rhizome is a powerful competitor of fractality for the role of a metaphor for the epistemological regeneration-upgrade in history and geography (see Bateson file referenced above).

Thinking of Bateson’s “deuterolearning” (learning to learn), and basically the same idea as a measure of successful education in John Dewey’s philosophy, it is logical to think of successful education as rhizomatic.

Ditto the responsibility of anyone (who has knowledge to share) vis a vis anyone else who might (want to) benefit?

Which takes us back to the open, ecological co-construction of knowledge.

To your attention: a free stock img of a sympodial (with rhizome) and a monopodial orchid:


  Iris: rhizome [Credit: John H. Gerard] rhizome, in botany, horizontal, underground plant stem capable of producing the shoot and root systems of a new plant. This capability allows the parent plant to propagate vegetatively (asexually) and also enables a plant to perennate (survive an annual unfavourable season) underground. In some plants (e.g., water lilies, many ferns and forest herbs), the rhizome is the only stem of the plant. In such cases, only the leaves and flowers are readily visible. [the links are to entries]

Since Ana Ramos set me sur leurs traces, a quotation adapted from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What is Philosophy?, 204 (Qu’est-ce que la philosophie, 192):

Art is not chaos
It is a composition of chaos
Giving forth
Vision and sensation
Not foreseen, never preconceived

[credit: senselab, c/o Erin Manning]


WP’s comment on this one:

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
Author Unknown

My other pres at Congress2012, in a different ecosonic venue:

This one had a lot of nodding heads in the audience (likely students and post-docs), and ended in smiles and applause. Special thanks here are due to one of 2 anonymous reviewers of the initially submitted abstract, who by the read of it, indignantly pointed out that Kathleen Fitzpatrick had been doing work on open reviewing for quite sometime, and had not been mentioned–which is how I found out about her at all. It was also reassuring that that version got lowest grades on “originality,” meaning that academia IS already thinking re Open Reviewing, which is what I had not known from where I had been all these years.

So in the revised version (below) I threw in more references, including K.F., of course, and my special angle on the subject, educating grad students in that mode of academic publishing. NOT JUST “class blogs,” which are worlds away from peer review-level publishing.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t this an obvious way for academics to contribute to how wikipedia-type knowledge is being created in the wide-n-wild world (www) out there, in however minimal a way??? By educating students in epistemological collaboration, before unleashing them on the world?

Launched in 2007, the research presented in this paper is part of the “open” movements in academia, as theorised by a number of authors (John Willinsky 2006, Christine Borgman 2007, Kathleen Fitzpatrick 2009/2011, a.o.). Its evolution is traced through observations and pilot studies, conducted in graduate course settings and the online journal environment (cf. Alexandrova 2009, 2010, 2011). Since publishing is the spell-out of what academia does and is, it requires priority attention. For the “price” of a thorough makeover, the open review e-publishing model being developed can make a substantial contribution toward optimizing the epistemic sustainability of the university, and graduate particular. The question is, Why pay the price? Assuming that graduate programs are expressly invested in educating for society`s conceptual leadership, their projected impact on academia and society at large can be treated as return on the investment of creative thought, time, funding, and … expectations.

While the philosophy behind the project has a lot in common with Fitzpatrick`s open peer review vision, for example, its research value lies in representing specifically the perspective of graduate students as academics-in-the-making, as well as generalizing to academia as a whole, and even looking to applications beyond it. If the desired change in academic practices and worldview is to take effect, it is crucial to address both clauses of the university`s dual research/education mandate. Future academics should be incorporated into the process, organically and substantively, just as the (self- and mutual) life-long education of faculty themselves should be supported, productively and strategically.

The envisioned “educative publishing” involves knowledge co-creation in an online wiki-type environment. It relies on shared epistemic responsibility (an extension of Code 2006) and self-governance (cf. Bateson’s self-correcting complex systems). Quality assurance is by “open review” (OR), where participating authors are each other’s commentators. A working papers e-journal issue illustrates the students-only format, and a conference proceedings e-book the faculty-and-students mixed format. The OR model, tested in the pilot studies above, offers 1) a highly productive mode of knowledge co-creation and quality assurance through mutual epistemic “scaffolding” for current and future faculty, and 2) a proper “translation” from print to internet publishing, replacing exclusionary, (double-) blind peer review with interactive, “seeing” forum review. By employing net-native knowledge-making modes it simultaneously speaks the language of younger generations and rewards earlier generations with the mitigation of some well researched flaws of traditional reviewing (Godlee 2000, Lamont 2009).

In conclusion, the proposed educative OR publishing model enriches the research epistemologies and networks of both junior and senior academics. It transforms academic publishing from selection-based to learning-oriented, honing abilities that can serve well in and beyond academic contexts. In effect, it “generalizes” education both vertically, from student to professor, and laterally, from academic to web user, simultaneously flattening hierarchical structures and replacing one-way with interactive communication and evaluation. The expectation is that OR-type quality assurance has as much chance of making a difference in academia as wikipedia and open source have done in the public domain, despite initial predictions of failure. Recognizing some real drawbacks, e.g. in the shape of institutional and curricular conservatism, academic scepticism, fluctuating motivation and aptitude/preparedness (see Guédon and Siemens 2002, Fitzpatrick 2009, a.o.), the bottom line is that, if one extrapolates from the conducted pilot studies, the proposed radical change in knowledge making and validation promises to pay off.

Given the projected upgrade of epistemic sustainability supported by publishing web design which can be professionally or socially constructed (see Feenberg 2002), academia is presented with a choice between actively contributing to the currency and quality of (non)academic knowledge production and standing back as an “objective” analyst of the latest “viral” web developments. Shouldn’t the advocated makeover generate—on an academia-wide scale—an agenda for action rather than a dilemma?


Alexandrova, Lynne (2011) Online Publishing, Academic Listening, and Epistemological Sustainability. Presentation at CSSHE, Congress 2011. Related poster: Enacting Online Interaction: The Open Review Format.
———- (2010) Turning the Tables on Epistemological Disconnect and Axiological Paradox: A Mindmap for Graduate Education Programs. Poster at the Annual CSSHE Conference, Congress’10, Montreal, Quebec, May 29-31, 2010.
———- (2009) Graduate2B, Shall We Online-Ride Beyond the Grade? A Case for Educational Publishing. Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Communication Association, Congress’09, Ottawa, May 30, 2009.

Bateson, Gregory (2000 [1972]) Steps to an Ecology of Mind. With a new foreword by Mary Catherine Bateson. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press.

Borgman, Christine L. (2007) Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Code, Lorraine (2006) Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Feenberg, Andrew (2002)Transforming Technology: A Critical Theory Revisited. New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen (2009) Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy . Open review URL <> Published in print by NYU Press, November 2011.

Godlee, Fiona. (2000) “The Ethics of Peer Review.” Ethical Issues in Biomedical Publication. Ed. Anne Hudson Jones and Faith McLellan. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. 59-84.

Guédon, Jean-Claude and Raymond Siemens (2002) “The Credibility of Electronic Publishing: Peer Review and Imprint” TEXT Technology 11.1 (2002): 17-35.

Lamont, Michèle (2009) How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment Cambridge, Masss: Harvard University Press..

Willinsky, John (2006) The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Another, very true WP comment. Well, now that there’s online, “paper work” need not trouble us writers as much.

I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.
Peter De Vries

This year Congress was held in Waterloo. The abstract for 1 of my pres’s, on a familiar walk-in-beauty ecosonic topic below. Well received. Had a good talk with Ana Ramos, a co-panelist, after the end of the session. If you’re looking for her, you may find her sur les traces du virtuel... [in the footsteps of/tracking/in pursuit of the virtual]
You may remember previous ES posts on the cultural aspect: here, here, and here. In the last one you can read the quotes from teachings/religions from around the world that I had with me on a pretty poster, and dropped somewhere on my way to the pres. (: So, thanks to ES, I could at least show the quotes to the captive audience.

This paper explores conceptualizations throughout human history which pre-sage today’s notions associated with what has been theorized as “holism,” (Shiva 2010) “systems view of the world” (Laszlo 1996), “ecological thinking” (Code 2006). The “ecological view” adopted as the umbrella term, is treated as involving human relatedness to self, other, all existence. The thesis is advanced that said view has consistently marked didactic, cultural, philosophical and religious thought, exemplifying valuable knowledge (guiding human thinking-being-acting) which has yet to find its proper implementation.

In support of that thesis, the analysis reviews the rich array of epistemologies-spiritualities in the text-and-photography anthologies of T.C. McLuhan (1996, 1994), which open up a panoramic view from antiquity to the present. To those are added the anthropological studies of Bateson and Mead (1936, 1942), Peshkin (1997 & elsewhere), a.o. All of these point to modes of relatedness different than that of the mainstream “developed Western world,” which has only recently started to appreciate the vital importance of ecological relatedness.

The cross-cultural data are attuned to philosopher Vokey’s (2001) “moral discourse in a pluralistic world” thesis and psychologist Haidt’s (1999) “happiness hypothesis,” both of which in effect involve integration into multilayered ecologies. The provisional conclusion is that to actualize said integration, humanity would have to tap into “ecological” imaginaries, combining multicultural traditions and new knowledge. To the extent that the desired shift corresponds with conscious action, it would have to figure prominently on the agenda of multidisciplinary theory in order to help organize local/global practice. The paper concludes with implications for media and education.


* “May you walk in beauty!” is a standard Navajo greeting. It is also conjugated in prayers.



Bateson, Gregory and Margaret Mead (1942) Balinese Character: A Photographic Analysis. NY: New York Academy of Sciences.

Bateson, Gregory (1958 [1936]) Naven: A Survey of the Problems suggested by a Composite Picture of the Culture of a New Guinea Tribe drawn from Three Points of View. Stanford University Press.

Code, Lorraine (2006) Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Haidt, Jonathan (2006) The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom: Why the Meaningful Life Is Closer Than You Think. Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition.

Laszlo, Ervin (1996) The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time. Second edition. In the series “Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences.” Hampton Press.

McLuhan, T.C. (1996) Cathedrals of the Spirit: The Message of Sacred Places. Toronto, Canada: HarperPerennial, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.

McLuhan, T.C. (1994) The Way of the Earth: Encounters with Nature in Ancient and Contemporary Thought. New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster.

Peshkin, Alan [Buddy] (1997). Places of Memory: Whiteman’s Schools and Native American Communities.Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Vandana, Shiva (2010) Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. South End Press.

Vokey, Daniel (2001) Moral Discourse in a Pluralistic World. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

WP’s comment, yet again quite appropriate:
I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
Elmore Leonard

In this presentation I study the epistemological “self-similarity” obtaining between the early pragmatists, on the one hand, and Gregory Bateson, on the other. Most of the 68 images are screenshots from Nora Bateson’s documentary. Needless to say, for these I give full credit to the movie creators, and ask any potential users of the file to do the same–in agreement with the Creative Commons License copyright attribution requirement for noncommercial use.

Please click image to view:

Nora remembers:

He was always learning—from everyone and everything around him— from the dog, from the fish tank, from the scientists who came to visit, from poetry, from art work, from me. And as a child, I learned from him that learning never stops.
* * *
… I used to sit on the floor beside him drawing pictures and listening while he gave lectures. Even then, it seemed to me that he was peering through a trap door to the inner workings of life.

Since ES’s last post got TWO WP comments, and a “1 post to go till the 130th” heads up, here are the quotes, in post #130.

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.
Leo Rosten

Be obscure clearly. E.B. White

I also have to jot down a few things about Congress2012 in Kingston-Waterloo last week.

McLuhan’s Monday Night Seminars resumed on a once-a-month basis in the Fall of 2011, the year of McLuhan’s centenary. Podcasts of some of the meetings are available at

For McLuhan Program events, keep an eye on:


Forty years ago, media theorist Marshall McLuhan taught a series of legendary “Monday night seminars” in the celebrated Coach House—located on the physical, intellectual, and organizational boundary of the University of Toronto (UofT). McLuhan foresaw that expanding digital media would reshape the very fabric of society. His vision was cultural, not technological, and his methods were to look askance, and ask probing questions.

In his honour, the Coach House Institute of the UofT Faculty of Information has relaunched the Monday night seminar series in this same Coach House. The aim of the series is to renew the Coach House’s role as a space to enlist the most searching minds, the most intense visionaries, the fiercest imaginations—and give them a still, quiet place to unfetter their imaginations & (re)think the digitally-mediated world.

Don’t miss our final seminar topic this term… and future announcements:


Sidestage realities intersecting narratives of media influence


  • Joshua Meyrowitz, Professor & Chair of Communication Department, University of New Hampshire in Durham; Author of No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior
  • Shawn Micallef, Author of Frontal TO and Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto; Senior Editor Spacing;  Co-founder [murmur], Toronto Star columnist, & 2011–2012 Canadian Journalism Fellow at University of Toronto’s Massey College
  • Derrick de Kerckhove, Professor emeritus, University of Toronto; Author of The Skin of Culture and Connected Intelligence
  • Sharon Switzer – TBA, Artist; Director, TUFF and Art for Commuters; Programming curator at Pattison Onestop, which owns and operate
  • Dominique Scheffel-Dunand (Professor of Linguistics (York University); Director of McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology (University of Toronto)

The Monday Night Seminar series has been an ongoing event offered by the Faculty of Information McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto running until Winter/Spring 2013.  It invites intellectuals, (re)searchers, artists, practitioners and cultural activists to convene and engage in intense intellectual dialogues—from edgy seminars to intense conversations and imagine how can we exploit our familiarity with digital media and harness the technologies of change to unleash a vibrant future for profound, discontinuous, soul-redefining encounters. Hosted by iSchool @ the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s College @ the University of Toronto, and McLuhan100.

Register, free of charge:


June 2012
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