Something I Would Add to a Blog

It’s a peculiar property of my writing, but I often insert parenthetical remarks (sometimes nesting them many levels deep using increasingly inappropriate characters in a well described order: )]}>|\/ [I have no power to resist {I abdicated that power <willingly>}]).  I do this because even as I’m writing one thing my brain is processing what I’m writing like it’s reading it for the first time and I have reactions, just like I do when I read something for the first time.  In fact, I bet we all do it.  However, the written word is not very conducive to expressing this tendency.  The heavyweight feeling of my writing can partially be attributed to my choosing to express it nevertheless.  I apologize.  I am actually quite concerned about the readability and comprehensibility of what I write (nearly as concerned as I am with expressing something deeper [the active nature of thought and meaning itself]).  I take great pains and make many edits on may way to publishing one of these tidbits.  But I do include them (I actually do suppress many of them because otherwise my text would truly become unreadable to any but the most dedicated [read: me]) and including them, both here in this blog, and there in my paper journals, has increased my awareness of them.

I like parenthetical thought.  In fact, I think all thought is parenthetical.

In fact, I think the linear expression of meaning is itself an artifact (see Mark Pesce’s quote) not of the quintessential nature of meaning (quite the contrary), but rather of the means we have of thinking externally (see Andy Clark’s quote).  The material, engineering problem of expressing the nonlinear architexture of meaning has until the advent of digital computers, largely been impossible (read this great essay As We May Think  by Vannevar Bush to get a sense of the crudity of prior options, or consider Leibniz’s knowledge machine or Turing’s machine).  This clumsiness of our appendages for the embodiment of meaning has fed back into an impotence for perceiving (what has now become) the substructure of the meanings we intend.  I understand humans to have basically pushed the nonlinearity and reaching-outward-and-rootward of meaning into their subconscious. I understand this because sometimes I do it too, like most of the time.  When I’m writing, however, I do pursue a number of paths, while not exactly at once, at least interwoven, like a single threaded processor computing pieces of first this job, then that one, then another, then the first again, then another…  So while I type fast, I write slowly.

Anyway, now that I’ve established a context, I’ll let you know what functionality I would be SURE to include in my “blog”.  Superscripts that, when clicked, pop up the content configured to pop up when that superscript is clicked.  In some cases, when I have a parenthetical thought that amplifies the meaning being expressed but gets in the way of the language of that expression, I would add a superscript where I would have inserted a parenthetical remark.  Then only those especially interested in the topic being discussed could pursue the nooks and crannies.  In other cases, instead of putting links in the text, you could have superscripts that open a new tab with the link URL loaded.  Superscripts wouldn’t be for everyone, but I’d sure use ’em.

In fact, I’d try to develop a way to slip in a visual representation of the content at the other end of the superscript pointer in the visual presentation of the blog on the primary level.  But this may not be possible and is one of the holy grails (isn’t that a contradiction, can’t their only be one holy grail? [not so in a massive undertaking]) of my UI efforts.  Transparency of panes and levels underneath and overneath the primary linear blog text could be possible, especially with differently colored backgrounds and low alpha levels.

In fact, for me, a blog would evolve into a vast hierarchy of these planar representations of smaller ideas, and, like Vannevar Bush, a document or a writing would really consist of a prearranged navigation path through these panes of meaning.  Like Nietzschean aphorisms.  I wonder what Nietzsche would have created if he could have created paths through his aphorisms.  If he could have littered his sky of meaning with interpenetrating constellations of navigable paths through thought.

Furthermore, I would allow, like Vannevar says, anyone to create paths of meaning through my content.  Ideally, hashing and mashing it together with other people’s content.

Be a great way to make a modern Bible.

I think it would also be vastly more conducive to scientific and mathematical writing.  As a last idea, I think it would be great for published scientific discourse to shift into custom designed, standardized, editors/navigators.  Not only could you navigate your own thought, but you could link to other people’s theories as you constructed your own.  I think this because what I’m talking about is an appendage for the expression of meaning that more closely maps the structure of meaning.  Thus, I believe, the means of expression of meaning would get in the way less of the meaning being expressed.

In mathematics, especially, I think this is important.  For equations to more closely hug the structure of the phenomenon they are describing is key to humans continuing to delve deeper into the structure of mathematics.  I think the future will look at the current symbology for the representation of mathematical concepts to be akin to how we see Roman numerals as a complicating factor to multiplication.  I don’t think, however, that the new mathematical “notation” will ever be in a language such as we know them.  Except maybe sign language and painting and music, but even so, the coming mathematical notation will be entirely dependent on virtual space.

Of course, I’m always a little  Lusor (Joculator) Basiliensis, pushing communication patterns into Herman Hesse’s Glass Bead Game:

It was the achievement of one individual which brought the Glass Bead Game almost in one leap to an awareness of its potentialities, and thus to the verge of its capacity for universal elaboration. And once again this advance was connected with music. A Swiss musicologist with a passion for mathematics gave a new twist to the Game, and thereby opened the way for its supreme development. This great man’s name in civil life can no longer be ascertained; by his time the cult of personality in intellectual fields had already been dispensed with. He lives on in history as Lusor (or also, Joculator) Basiliensis. Although his invention, like all inventions, was the product of his own personal merit and grace, it in no way sprang solely from personal needs and ambitions, but was impelled by a more powerful motive. There was a passionate craving among all the intellectuals of his age for a means to express their new concepts. They longed for philosophy, for synthesis. The erstwhile happiness of pure withdrawal each into his own discipline was now felt to be inadequate. Here and there a scholar broke through the barriers of his specialty and tried to advance into the terrain of universality. Some dreamed of a new alphabet, a new language of symbols through which they could formulate and exchange their new intellectual experiences.

After Joculator Basiliensis’ grand accomplishment, the Game rapidly evolved into what it is today: the quintessence of intellectuality and art, the sublime cult, the unio mystica of all separate members of the Universitas Litterarum. In our lives it has partially taken over the role of art, partially that of speculative philosophy. Indeed, in the days of Plinius Ziegenhalss, for instance, it was often called by a different name, one common in the literature of the Feuilletonistic Age. That name, which for many a prophetic spirit in those days embodied a visionary ideal, was: Magic Theater.

P.S. Lastly, I would definitely add the ability to Categorize and Tag blogs from the blog page itself when I’m logged in as the user who created the blog.  Clicking edit to add them is annoying.

3 thoughts on “Something I Would Add to a Blog

  1. […]  It’s all tied to that parenthetical thought pattern that I described at the beginning of Something I would add to a blog.  I have a strong tendency to reflect and spiral […]

  2. […] you what, if I were ever to write a collection of Sutras, I would try to do this.  It’s like Vanevar’s memex, allowing multiple pathways over the same semantic […]

  3. […] just noticed an interesting thing about my language.  What I interject in parenthesis throughout the sentence is the very material normal writers use to construct their next sentence […]

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