Tag Archives: Variation

Podcast! Variations on a theme


My first encounter with my chosen Mooc on phenomenology included some experiential exercises in which students were invited to play visual games, seeing how many times we could flip between perspectives of a Necker cube or perceive different objects in the same image. We were being encouraged to be “active observers” who “constantly look for alternative ways to perceive everything as if composers of themes and variations”.

The most striking part of this early course video was when the course leader stated “Our goal is not to resolve ambiguities, but to multiply them”.

Searching for ambiguity is a means of surfacing what may be deliberately obscured. Equally, ambiguity signals imperfect understanding¬†as if looking from one perspective only. A goal to exploit and explore ambiguity or uncanny moments recalls the “cyborg ontology” urged by Angus et al in which the authors call for the dismantling of easy binary structures to allow a greater and more honest understanding of the world. Education is not about providing answers, but learning how to ask the questions.