A Riff on Scriptures and Other Texts

by rthieme on December 1, 1999

By Richard Thieme

In “Islands in the Clickstream: Telling Time by a Broken Clock,” I said:

All organizations are morphing into forms appropriate to the digital world. In retrospect, we will see our current structures the way Christians see remnants of what they call “pagan” myths in their stories.

The miraculous is another name for that which is unpredictable from inside the old model. Trying to understand what’s emerging using old words or images is like telling time by broken clocks. We are riding a ship on the river of time as the ship is being built. It will take time to finish that ship, and when we do, we will already have been becoming something else.

A friend responded:

“On the Mayflower, the Pilgrims brought over a printed copy of the Geneva Bible. On the good ship Digital, what form do you suppose the ‘Bible’ will take?”

Not only scriptures but all significant texts will morph into dynamic forms that are interactive, modular, and fluid (like this one)… self-modifying structures that respond to responses from all who engage with its multitude of faces. Everyone encountering that 3D space or fractal narrative will change and be changed by it.

Real canons are open evolving and free … including canons (we see now) that seemed to be fixed in print but which in fact evolved in the consciousness of readers, changing every time they were read.

Sacred digital space will look more like a flowing mobile than a straight-line text, except that the nodes of the mobile will be mobiles too. But as I said, printed texts are like that too (we see now), the text rewritten by each reader’s experience: our linked modular minds the framework of the text which flows like electric words on a sign through the bulbs of our brains.

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