Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Prismatic perception: An emerging mythology of the millennial mind
by Strudwick, Laura M., Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2014, 345; 3617628
Abstract (Summary)

The postmodern worldview wanes as the millennium turns and the Millennial Generation matures; at the same time, we rapidly launch into the digital age. Information technology is developing into a changeable, networked system of devices and interfaces that profoundly shapes our professional, intellectual, and social lives. Online reading and navigation influence epistemology and perception; similarly, engagement with ergodic texts, i. e., print and film texts that require significant effort to traverse, results in enhanced cognition. Prismatic perception is a neologism that describes an emerging mythology of the mind in the information age. This fantasy of omniscient perception is rooted in images of potentiality networked with connecting strands that construct an image of a centerless web, similar to Indra's Net and the World Wide Web.

Literary theory draws on both art and philosophy and therefore directly reflects an era's defining characteristics. Deconstruction as described by Jacques Derrida serves as a precursor to hypertext theory; these two theories work collaboratively to delineate this emerging era. Reader response theory emphasizes the reader's role and correlates with the expanding participation and power of readers, writers, and creators in digital formats. Recombinant art, i. e., collaged and remixed creations that play and interact with other artists' previous works, proliferates as the culture of free and open sharing rises.

This dissertation illustrates the concept of prismatic perception with mythological symbols and images of infinity drawn from literature and film, particularly the works of Jorge Luis Borges, the Chinese classic I Ching, Mark Z. Danielewski's novel House of Leaves, and Christopher Nolan's films Memento and Inception. This work examines current issues concerning social aspects of technology, particularly recent controversies over information access. Postmodernism was characterized by the prefixes post- and de-; the prefixes that best suit the emerging era are meta- and re- as people generate, investigate, contemplate, rework, and participate in the vast accumulation of connecting and interacting information and ideas.

Keywords: Information society; information technology—social aspects—forecasting; technology—social aspects; computers and civilization; Borges, Jorge Luis, 1899-1986; deconstruction; reader-response criticism.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smith, Evans Lansing
Commitee: Spitzer, Anais, Stommel, Jesse
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Mythological Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Literature, Philosophy, Information Technology
Keywords: 1899-1986, Borges, Computers and civilization, Deconstruction, Information society, Information technology, Jorge luis, Technology- social aspects
Publication Number: 3617628
ISBN: 978-1-303-85211-4
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