Tuesday’s discussion of The Waste Land definitely made me think about physical text in a different way. At first when Dr. Cordell referred to the poem as a hypertext I was pretty thrown off. Thinking of a book using links like people growing up in our age think about links on the internet was a strange concept. But the more we discussed it the more it made sense. As we looked into external and internal links the hypertext metaphor began to work. The chunk of the poem we looked at had references to external things like the bible and internally, the book reference ideas discussed earlier in the text. It all became reminiscent of reading an article on Wikipedia. Within the text there are actual links integrated into the sentences that you can click on to jump to another concept. After I made this association I began to see the poem in a different way and these links became easier to notice while reading the text.
Having these complicated links within the poem makes having lengthy connotations such as the ones in our book almost a necessity for someone who wasn’t around in the time the poem was written. The majority of the words we used to describe the poem were along the lines of confusing or complex which quite understandable considering our lack of background of the context in which it was written. Reading this poem reminded me of when I read “Surprised By Joy” by C.S. Lewis for a spirituality class last semester. Throughout the entire book Lewis made references to various European ideas and many of which were way over my head. Even when writing in a much more literal sense, his similes and metaphors were way over my head and it made the book a real pain to comprehend. I guess the fact that works such as these are so complicated make deciphering them intriguing for many modern day scholars and we’ve seen a couple different examples of this throughout class so far.
Completely unrelated to The Waste Land, Alan McConchie tweeted an interesting article about the idea of cyberspace and how we think about the term. It talks about how people have become fascinated by the operations of computations that take place within a computer. It incorporates the mind-body problem in philosophical terms by talking about people’s ideas becoming intricate codes of information that no longer takes up physical space but merely represents a string of 0’s and 1’s in some space that we can’t wrap our minds’ around. Throughout the article the author suggests we need to come up with a new method of defining cyberspace. For anyone interested in anything philosophy related or just have a lot of time on your hands I suggest giving this a read.