In Volume 8, Issue 7 (February 20, 2007 – February 26, 2007) of Ubiquity in a piece entitled “Cyberspace, Cosmology, and the Meaning of Life” I follow the discursive dance steps of Albert Borgmann and am enchanted by a peculiar skip if not jump.
The seductive distractions of cyberspace can in part be explicated by comparing the spatial structure of focal reality with that of cyberspace. The structure of electronic information is in an informal sense topological. Cyberspace has structure. Sites are nested and linked on the screen in a definite order. But there are no measurable distances between them. Everything is equally near and far and equally and easily reachable, and hence I easily slip from the important by way of the interesting to the distracting. In focal reality, some things are near and others far.
There is a gap between structure and attention. The effect noted by Borgman is not necessarily caused by a flattened topography. As well, the discipline of topology points to phase space and permits the modeling of the attention as part of the realm observed. Hence a cyberspace can be understood as a form of hyperspace and both can be distinguished from the space of hypertext. The minute a reader whether machine or human, enters the flatland even space of hypertext and reads then the experience begins to resemble those of focal reality. Sometime ago in a place not here I wrote: “How “cyberspace” relates to “hyperspace” is a key to its metaphorics.”
Borgman weaves a story about loss of focal reality and stresses the need for a point of reference.
To deal with the confusing brilliance of technological information we need a point of reference that enables us to discern what in cyberspace is illuminating and what is distracting.
Could that point of reference be the clock and the system of time zones? A system that allows us to navigate synchronicities. And mark the beginning and ends of trips.
And so for day 76