#CritLit2010 | Serendipity, a way of thinking?

I would like to reflect about the concept of serendipity phenomena in a not scientific way. That is because there is a neuroscience matter and it is out of my domain. Here is a
project “Serendip” which is more connected to scientific resarch.

Is it a way of thinking?.
I think it is a way of “thin slicing“.

May be you are wondering about what it is about the connection between Connectivism and Serendipity. I realize that there is much more among them than I believed, even more in the inmersive environments.

On the following of this post I will try to reply John Mak´s question posted a week before on Facebook: “How do you find serendipity?”

John gave the link to Wikipedia´s  Serendipity definition:

“Serendipity is a propensity for making fortuitous discoveries while looking for something unrelated”.

I would like to define Serendipity as

the Gift of finding valuable and agreeable things we have not not sought”.

It is a paradoxic mixture of looking for and not looking for. As a metaphor, the way we interact in the semantic web among billons of links and posts is a kind of source of this phenomena.

I am gratefull to Ruth Howard for the link to the video“A story about the Semantic Web” by Kate Rate. (video transcription)

Serendipity is about what Tim Berners Lee said on the video “Everybody, different people found out about the web at different times. Or different people had this ‘aha’ moment at different times.”

Along the course CritLit2010 I could I see the way we posted about others findings or emerged ideas. Sometimes we look over all the posts and links provided without attention. It could be difficult and there could not be time enough to follow and look into all of them. But sometimes, we could find value on some of them and appreciate their meaning (thanks to folksonomies). In a complex system like semantic web feedback continues its loop, there are several interconnected parts which create links for additional information not visible before for us. As a result of interactions between elements, emergent properties, which cannot be explained by the same properties isolated appear. This is the way that I consider that connectivism can be a way to lead to serendipity.

Appart from consider it as a “gift”, I think that we could
understand it as

a learning capability of “thin slicing” of recognizing the possibilities to find out or became aware of something “meaningfull” on the caotic and random virtual environment.

Regarding this, we have the opportunity to develop it in the way we learn from each experience like this, to learn from each other, to interact in the way we can learn, to grow, listen to, lead and live with a creative attitude.

I consider that, even though we can met by chance on the web or outside it what we find “meaningfull” is inside us.It is an oriented attention towards to it.

Here transcript the pharagrahp of John Gardner, professor of Standford University that I find significant:

“The meaning is not something that we find by chance, as the answer to a puzzle or a prize in a treasure hunt. It is something constructed by oneself from our own past, affections and loyalties. From the experience of mankind which has been transferred from their own talent and understanding, the things we think, of things and people you
love, the values for which we are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there.We are the only one who can keep them in that pattern that will be our life. That is a life with dignity and meaning for us”.

I wonder how much of the learning experience (and us as facilitators) can add more to develop this capability.

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7 Responses to #CritLit2010 | Serendipity, a way of thinking?

  1. Ken Anderson says:

    Hi Maria. I am not sure that connectivism is required for serendipitous moments. I am not sure I understand the connection between connectivism and serendipity that you are suggesting.

    My thinking on serendipity relates to related concepts of awareness, wakefulness, consciousness. I tend to think that serendipitous moments are more likely to be observed by those people that are aware of them/accepting of their possibility.

    • Ken,

      Thank you very much for your point of view. I think that my semantic understanding on “connectivism” remains on serendipity in the moments of awareness as a result of some state of the person and everyone can learn from their own experiences.

      I share your point of view about serendipity. And I agree that is a special kind of awareness, even though I had made such connection that you are in disagree.

  2. Ken Anderson says:

    I guess we agree then! Thank you for your post. I love this word, serendipity…

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  4. Ruth Howard says:

    An article here I’ve archived, “Good Conversation results in Mind Meld” http://www.physorg.com/news199424641.html

    Psychologist and researcher Uri Hasson of Princeton University observed both conversing speakers and listeners using MRI brain scans to locate neural connections. The listeners neural coupling synced with the speaker and even synced seconds before the speaker’s own neural area!

    “found a great deal of synchronization between the activity in Silbert’s brain (the storyteller) and in those of the 11 volunteers, (the listeners) with the same regions of the brains lighting up at or near the same points in the story.”

    in some areas of the brain “the activation pattern appeared in the listeners’ brains before it appeared in Silbert’s”-just a bit interesting!

    This new information brings into question the belief that speaking and listening use different parts of the brain-the areas lit were linked to language.

    This particular experiment observed listeners hearing prerecorded speech, which we often share in Mooc’s by way of video links/Elluminate. But also I wonder if there’s no difference between those areas lit up by either speaking or listening then perhaps there’s no difference between conversing through online medium using written text/graphics? It’s all language sharing.

    The researchers further speculate that results will be stronger through this medium (listening directly) than through further mediated telephone speech etc, but I’m thinking of Rupert Sheldrake’s telephone telepathy experiments, perhaps there’s a pre-emptive neural coupling synchronisation just as in Uri Hasson’s results? And if pre-recorded speech or telephone why not Internet tech?

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    • maferarenas says:

      Ms Edwards,
      Thank you! In my opinion, we can perceive the interconnections when we attend to the complexity of the environments and the thoughts and we can understand that there a unity underneath all. We can learn from this phenomena and create new connections and point of view with the knowledge. I agree, we get what we expect! Warm regards.M.F.

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