Tag Archives: entanglement

Entanglement in online communities

(This is undergoing a lot of editing.)

This week for rhizo15 thoughts were steered to the role of Dave in our cosmos of rhizomatic learning – questioning whether Dave at “the helm” is surplus to requirements if the community is the curriculum.

 Patterns everywhere

If you start looking around, you might find yourself repeatedly drawn to the same patterns.

My favourite vintage brooch
My favourite vintage brooch


my favourite flower
my favourite flower

The rhizomatic learning community is distributed across multiple online platforms, and some of the visual analysis of communication suggests that there are multiple nodes on, off and beyond these platforms.

The data visualisation of #rhizo15 is fascinating (“My God Dave, it’s full of stars!”) as Daniel Lynds daily #rhizo15 dataviz shows:


So, #rhizo15 is a complex network.  I began to think about the connection between measurement and having a “Dave”. What role does a “Dave” have in the space and time of #rhizo15, #rhizo14 past and future #rhizo?? All have never really had a neat beginning or an end. Dave, as the instigator of questions, is absolutely part of these nodes – all of them – even if he’s not. A paradox. He is part of every node, whether or not he interacts now, in future, or in the past.

Yet Dave is not creating the nodes, leading the nodes, moderating or managing them, and like all of us, not even aware of many of them. He is not the centre of the network, because it is a network without centre. Yet he is also is central to the network in terms of its energy as a community. So, how can we think about Dave as a role – vital to the network, yet also expendable in the sense that rhizo15 can continue regardless of Dave and yet it also couldn’t.   Then, a tendril of curiosity began to unfurl in my mind.  All these eclectic random lunchtime readings, mucking about in quantum theory, mathematical patterns in nature, ecology, permaculture, rewilding – they all share a bond of entanglement.


… space-time arises out of a series of interlinked nodes in a complex network, with individual morsels of quantum information fitted together like Legos. Entanglement is the glue that holds the network together. If we want to understand space-time, we must first think geometrically about entanglement, since that is how information is encoded between the immense number of interacting nodes in the system. Quanta  

“Dave” IS entanglement?

Stay with me here, but I think that entanglement in a quantum context, makes sense out of why we need a Dave. The more I read, the more startled with the relevance to thinking about the role of “Dave” in the #rhizo15 cosmos:

“The key to achieving this simplification is a principle called “locality.” Any given electron only interacts with its nearest neighboring electrons. Entangling each of many electrons with its neighbors produces a series of “nodes” in the network. Those nodes are the tensors, and entanglement links them together. All those interconnected nodes make up the network.”

from Network Tapestry – Quanta magazine:

Dave is to #rhizo15 as entanglement is to quantum networks. 

“Entanglement is the fabric of space-time…it’s the thread that binds the system together, that makes the collective properties different from the individual properties. But to really see the interesting collective behavior, you need to understand how that entanglement is distributed.” (Brian Swingle)

Dave – The Entangler. Bringer of locality. 

So how do we even begin to understand how entanglement is distributed?. Oops. No-one has seemed to have worked that that bit out yet and so this is not neat thinking with nice edges. Sorry. 🙂

What does entanglement look like then?

IMG_0781-0To try to understand entanglement more, maybe a visual idea of what it looks like might help.

Owen Comec who is producing beautiful interactive visualisations can help us non physics inclined folks to perceive entanglement within a quantum network.  Also, check out artist Fred Swist’s artwork, Quantum Entaglement: The absence of (spare) time.

In #rhizo15, the community seeks to understand by creating artifacts, content and sharing and remixing threads of discussion in the fabric. We’re experimenting in the space and time available.The community also measures and observes itself, seeking to understand the detail of our own collective behaviour.  Questioning our Dave’s existence. Wondering about life without Dave.

Can you see that we are in the same patterns of thinking if we scale up to thinking about the whole cosmos? Isn’t that beautiful?

We are entangled in the same way that Dave is. As we know from the change in Week 4 – individuals in community can entangle ourselves more by posing a brilliantly energetic question:

Why entanglement?

Quantum theory asks question about patterns in complex networks found in nature and in space and time. It’s hard to understand, your brain will hurt, but it is far more relevant than we might realise. This is good stuff for thinking, I think. It’s properly valuing the margins. Dunk a bit of quantum physics in your tea along with your gingernut biscuit, and we learn.

So, how you might go about the job of entangling an online community?

How do we use our big brains to encourage community entanglement?
How do we use our big brains to encourage community entanglement?

I dunno. Maybe ask Dave. My observation is that he asks questions that people strive to answer, but questions that don’t really have an answer. Questions that trawl your thinking right through the tensors in a community:

offline online
subjective  objective
local  global
self  community
tame  wild
ancient  modern
commercial  creative commons


Ahem. Problem. Understanding how entaglement works is at the very fringe of science being teased out by incredible minds. How does this help?

With this post,  I am skimming across the surface of these concepts, but there is,  I feel, some worth in exploring the concept of community through entanglement, entanglement in permaculture, entanglement in ecology….

If you follow me into entanglement, just relax:

(I know nobody made it this far. Lots of editing to come.)