[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Web site of aleph · Index
The lethal text
Writing under erasure
Mesopotamian myth
The Gilgamesh legend
The nam-shub of Enki
The Tower of Babel story
The song of the Sirens
Plato's metaphor of the cave
"man's insanity is heaven's sense"
The Ultimate Melody
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
Snow Crash

Once upon a time The Web site of aleph by Michael Chorost existed, but has since ceased. These texts represent a small measure of its content. Image from the short story ARI-L by Caza.

deoxy > philosophos


A model is an intellectual structure which exists in a genotypal relationship to a referent. It abstracts the essential features of a referent. Thus a blueprint is a model, and the house built from it is its referent.

Baudrillard's simulacrum is of course a model without a referent: "a perfect copy of a nonexistent original." It is not really important whether a physical referent exists or not. It is not even important that it can exist. What's important is the existence of nonphysical structure.

The world of Plato's Ideal Forms is a such model. So is the world of Robinson Crusoe, which is an Enlightenment economy in miniature. So are the arks of Noah and Utnapishtim, and Gerlenter's Hospital.

Models are absolutely central to cyberspatial thought. Cyberspace itself is a model. Not necessarily or even importantly of particular real spaces, but of space itself: its boundedness, its volume, its up-down-left-right orientation, its passageways, and so on.

I would argue that a certain class of literary texts, including the ones just named above, are recognizably "cyberspatial" in that some of their fascination comes from their modelmaking. By this definition, the legend of Noah's Ark is "cyberspatial." I do not claim, of course, that the Bible anticipates cyberspace by 4700 years. Rather, I make the converse claim: cyberspace is the latest manifestation of a fascination with models which goes back 4700 years.