November 5, 2012

The decentralization of hypertext

It became aware to me quite early on in reading this article that the conventions that are used to describe hypertext are largely reflective of those used by Derrida and Locke to expain how we build an understanding of the form and function of language as a process of learning by association, and how we build our methods of based upon a system of association. I drew this comparison largely from how hevily the deconstruction theory of Derrida in his critically philosophical analysis of written text to emphasize how the conventions of hypertextuality are based upon the practice of netoworking through a web of common association. However, the element of hypertextuality which struck me as most profound was the ability of the networks and conventions of which compose the associations of hypertext in essence provide the absolute freedom from the structures of literary form in order for the reader to form impressions of a body of work free from the epistemological constraints imposed upon the contemporary classification of genres.

 This profound consideration for hypertext as a representation of the mental processes by which we form knowledge throuh association of conepts or forms which share similarities can be observed in Derrida's view of hypertext as an "assemblage"of which is defined as "a weaving, or a web, which allows the different threads and different lines of sense or force to seperate again, as well as being ready to bind others together"(35). It is here that i drew my first realization of how the theory of hypertext is a manifestation of a larger deconstructionalist theory of the formation of knowledge and ideas through association. Locke may also be referenced to be represented in this element of hypertext theory, because his theory of how we form knowledge, as well as his theory on the formation of "simple" and "complex" modes or ideas, is clearly reflected in the conventions of hypertext.

More specifically, I wish to call attention ot the manner in which Locke believed we form language through our common associations of experience in the natural world, which is a fundamental factor determining how we perceive the world around us, and we reflect upon our personal experience and our interpretations of he personal experiences of others of who we perceive to have experienced similar elements in our reality. Hence we form language through a network of intenalized meaning  which we grant value to the forms of words in language we form to communicate, and subsequently to translate an understanding of these networks of literary convention upon a written medium. Hypertext can be observed to function through similar conventions of common assoociation, and therefore is reflective of the manner in wich 'Locke perceives us to form ideas and knowledge, and of how Derrida perceices the medium of written language to function as a netowork of recognized common associations of written literary text, from the fundamental purpose of gramatical structure to the differentiation of meaning within the subjective interpretation of written words themselves.


Anonymous said...

I also found the concept of complexity in hypertext mediums quite interesting. It's something that I have certainly noticed in my own experience with things such as blogs and forums, but have never actually noted the complexity of possession of power from a single author to a group of readers/authors. A great example of this ever-changing mode of operation and functionality for the transference of knowledge is Wikipedia. While it is largely taboo in academia, it is still a great resource for such a wide array of knowledge. The pages are designed and edited by users and the original sources are listed towards the bottom of the page. Using Wikipedia as a hypertext source is a great practice; You can find the information and then find the original location of the information, all through clicking through links that you (the viewer/reader) choose.

Zach van Dijk said...

I feel the article was written in a way that likened associational meaning to hypertext. Yet I feel it was primarily done so in reference or comparison to discussions of print association, not actual hypertext (a reuse of prior discussions concerning learning by association). While the same points can be made for both mediums, I wonder what conclusions we could draw from a discussion purely focused on hypertext documents as a genre. Although Derrida may have discussed Hypertext, Locke's contributions all occur before the formation of this genre. Thus I feel it is slightly misguided to consider his understanding of language through a medium it was not explicitly intended for. From Miller's discussion of genre as being evolutionary, I feel that in future generations (where hypertext documents are a fully established medium) an understanding of language will have changed. That is to say, some of the ambiguities of language Locke warned of will be lessened by hypertext (the uncertainty in common meaning or understanding could be clarified with links providing more information).

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