Meaning everywhere and nowhere, produced not by anyone but by everyone in concert, meaning not waiting for us at the end of a linear chain of authored thought in the form of a sentence or an essay or a book, but immediately and multiply present in a cornucopia of ever-expanding significances.
There are two things I want to say about this vision: first, that it is theological, a description its adherents would most likely resist, and, second, that it is political, a description its adherents would most likely embrace.
via The Digital Humanities and the Transcending of Mortality – NYTimes.com.
As usual, Stanley Fish is insightful, provocative, and theoretical.
“The current shape of the Web is the same shape as the Internet hardware,” says Mr. Gelernter. “The Internet hardware is lots of computers wired together into a nothing-shaped cobweb. The Web itself is a lot of websites hyperlinked together into a nothing-shaped cobweb.”
The failure of the Internet to organize itself into a more useful metaphor is precisely what needs fixing. “It is impossible to picture the Web. It’s a big fuzzy nothing. I sort of tiptoe around tiny areas of it shining a flashlight.”
[. . . .]
The idea, though, of lifestreams has been catching on. A lifestream is a way of organizing digital objects—photos, emails, documents, Web links, music—in a time-ordered series. A timeline, in essence, that extends into the past but also the future (with appointments, to-do lists, etc.). . . .
Mr. Gelernter believes streams are a more intuitive, useful way to organize our digital lives, not least because, as the past and future run off either side of our screen, at the center is now—and now is what the Internet really is about.
via The Weekend Interview with David Gelernter: Rethinking the Digital Future – WSJ.com.