Have you heard the term hypertext? Basically, when you do this, you’re creating hypertext. Hypertext fiction is online fiction with hypertext linked in and it’s gaining ground in university creative writing programs around the country as a unique, postmodern form—some are saying THE last great frontier in what can reasonably be called the "novel."
It’s definitely got the typical "cool" factor of so much of this PoMo business, so be forewarned, but I figured since most of us are just surfing around, wondering if our tax returns are ever going to arrive from the IRS, we might as well use this "hypertext" stuff for another metaphor.
Because, really, the world is full of hypertext, just sitting around, waiting for someone to fall in. I’m starting to think this is a more significant idea than we realize. So once you’ve gone through all your emails, and the phone calls have all been made, come on back and travel into this thought with me. A little mental hypertext excursion…
The Internet urge is something of a compulsion, if not a full-blown addiction, for a large segment of the world’s population now. The pretty, guilt-free baubles and bijous of information are the perfect reprieve from whatever ails you. The gentle sucking sound as you’re whisked around from pad to pad in the great, wide ocean of cascading code. It’s lover, friend, confidant, panacea, solace, fortune-finder, escapist adventure, curio cabinet of mysterious subworlds. Alice’s rabbit hole. Neo’s awakening.
But that’s not all. Picture Eve’s apple. The promise of knowledge.
It’s not such a stretch, is it? "Try it," the glowing serpent hisses. "You will not surely die." And your LCD screen flickers while the beautiful green snake recoils.
This Internet thing isn’t just a nice convenience anymore, is it? The world has no idea what it’s dealing with here; undoubtedly, the greatest force ever unleashed. And yet we don’t want to face the fact. This, the ultimate social experiment. Randomness and chaos eternally linked to some illusory order. All of us, mental travelers, doomed to the solitary construct, the annihilation of time. Is anyone not suceptible to this insidious monster? And what will be the result? Mass insanity?
As the worm holes expand deeper, those of you who still grasp reality might realize you have an inconceivable task before you. It’s a cosmic game of infinite proportion. Get to them before it does. Stop them tumbling into the multiplying traps, the compounding categories, the networked purgatory, springing like zombies from every corner of the web.
But how? The force is too great, the worm holes too prevalent. We’re just a handful of dreamy, cloistered artists, too concerned with the limitations of our backyard to have any real impact.
I would suggest that Lewis and Tolkien knew the answer. The only way to prevent further losses to the matrix is to create your own entry point, a window revealing the true reality. Each of you have been assigned a portal of entry at the beginning, a singular, distinctive birthright to share with your decaying race. They can’t see it unless you uncover it. Their eyes are dulled, weak, vulnerable the myriad other portals already open. Many of them have no preference which will ultimately claim them like zombies, sliding into the void. No reference points, no familiar constellations to navigate by. You have to give them that entry point to the unchanging, unmoving rock of absolute power and make it so attractive, so unaviodable, so imminently apparent that no one passing by could help but stop and stare into it.
This is why you have to be the stronger one, the steel-skinned lunatic screaming into the darkness. You have to study and strive to burst the misconceptions that lock their deadened attention, peel back the falacies for the brilliant energy to envelope them. This is how the message passes, person to person, overtaking the monster—the world wide web. How many are already trapped, lost, imperious to the blinking glimmers of truth around them? How many more will float off into the void without realizing this was the revolution, the calling that could have saved them?
You’re only here for a time, to call a few to come face this reality. Are you willing?
Depending how many of you got this far, I think I’ll continue on this spooky thought and let it cook some more. Let me hear from you on this if you agree.