On the Matter of Invasive Ideas

Invasion of species

Dave pulls out the metaphor of “invasive species” for the latest round of thinking in Rhizomatic Learning. This has a few dimensions to it, and I will be thinking about this a bit more as we move forward into week. My first impulse was that invasive species are bad. Then, I thought, but not always.

That led to this comic (which, I now realize, is very America-centered in its reference to invasive species … you may have your own where you live) this morning:

Invasive Ideas

The question, on this level, is: How does a rhizomatic concept of learning replicate a positive invasive component, squirreling its way into the core of what we consider learning to be?

Peace (in the invasion),

  1. The only problem I can see here Kevin is that you seem to have drifted from the definition of invasive species.

    I agree that many species are beneficial and in the case of the honeybee it would great if we saw a boost in their population.

    But it is my understanding that the term invasive species does not just refer to numbers but the fact that the species is having an adverse effect on the environment.

    Oh and they are from out of town – though that part of the definition seems up for grabs.

  2. I’m wondering how the conversation alters if we don’t assign a set value to the idea of invasive? I also wonder if the conversation doesn’t alter if we believe that agency requires us to limit our understanding of effect to ourselves.

  3. Invasive plant species are often referred to as weeds in English . . . the point being that ‘weeds’ may be a cultural linguistic concept that has no meaning or equivalent translation in other languages.
    About 10 years ago I was really challenged by trying to explain what ‘weed’ meant to a group of Inuit kids on Baffin Island.
    “you mean there are plants you DON’T want to grow?”
    “Oh, you must mean they are poison!”
    “So, some of them you can eat?”
    “How do you decide?”
    “Does everyone know which plants to call weeds?”

  4. My favorite book that discusses invasive species is David Quammen’s The Song of the Dodo. Islands (as a particular example) evolve their own ecosystems, with species finding niches in response to the presence or lack of predators, symbiotic relationships, and other factors that result in peculiar combinations uniquely adapted to the environment and each other. If a new (invasive) species arrives in that ecosystem, or if any existing species is endangered, it upsets that balance. What has evolved over time may not adapt quickly to the invasion.

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