Monday, April 11, 2011
I is for index
An index is my finger pointing. As knowledge and referability begin to exceed the limits of short-term (and long-term) memory, we need to create new ways to organize and access information. The index is the first step in this direction. By creating a list of places in which a particular idea or thing is discussed, we designate points of entry into a text, and implicitly, may begin to draw conclusions. If the index states that E. M. Forster (homosexuality) is mentioned on pages 37, 41, and 285, then one may consider page 79 as not taking part in such a discussion. If the posthumous novel Maurice is not listed, then it does not exist at all. As citation becomes itself essential as content, the index becomes a movement toward the Index, just as every object is only a pale, imperfect reflection of its ideal Form. The Index, long awaited, can only come as the ability to compile and cross-reference transcends the limitations of the individual text, which is unavoidably isolated and peculiar, beset by typographical errors. We seek to escape these limited bodies. The Index is the end result of all science and art, the sum total of all human knowledge. Compiled in real-time, the Index, which requires the unceasing labor of all those who live, is the logical and glorious result of the combined labor of all those who have ever lived. Through the Index we resurrect the dead. Through the Index we live forever.