An aspen grove is one of the largest organisms in the world. The root system is sufficiently intertwined and interactive to constitute a single creature called a rhizome. Up above, there are individual trees tied into the single rhizome underground. The trees exhibit tree-like growth while the roots go crazy. The trees above create sugars from sunlight while the roots below deliver minerals and moisture. The inter-relationships are both symmetric and asymmetric. Aspen groves know they "have it together". They wonder what our problem is that makes for such contentious models of growth among humans.
Actor-network theory is giving us a way to incorporate rhizomatic growth models into our techno-mediated culture. As with any change, it's necessary to begin with a positional stance against the established order. So it seems to the aspen groves that actor-network theory is saying "down with trees" and "branching growth is wrong". Of course, aspen groves know their own rhizomes are in the dark and cannot see the light either.
Nowadays there are rhizomes seated in every college class and conference session. There's a robust, rhizomatic back channel of communication among those formerly known as the audience, attendees, students or enrollment. But somehow the trees and rhizome are disconnected. Instead of feeding each others' growth, the tree-like presenters of front channel content are getting drained by the boredom, disinterest and distracted attention of the back channel rhizome. It's as if everyone is enacting a role of zero-growth "rocks in my head" instead of the dynamic of "porous surfaces nurturing continual growth".
This will change when presentations get subjectively mediated by the end users. Instead of getting objectively mediated by expert content, presentation hardware and scheduled sessions, the content, timing and end uses will get co-created through collaborative interactions. The back channel will support the front channel and vice versa. The trees and roots will grow together. Aspen groves will take interest in this "pattern that connects" them and us.