Nov 20 2013

Upgrade to Level Three

Once upon a time, a boy decided he would learn everything there was to know. He heard about people reading the encyclopedia from beginning to end, and he became sure that would be the way to acquaint himself with every established fact. The trouble was, he didn’t have an encyclopedia, but he did have wikipedia, which he figured was basically the same.

He went to the main page, but it was filled with so many featured articles and links related to current news, he didn’t know where to start. It all seemed so vast. How could he wrap his mind around all of human knowledge? Then he found “portals” arranged by subject, so he followed the first link alphabetically and read the article on the arts.

He followed links from there, wandering and learning as one topic lead to another to another, studying the history of art from the paleolithic to the postmodern. He noticed links to things he’d already visited, colored differently than new links to distinguish the information he’d already encountered.

Finally, he reached a page where all the links were already visited. He wandered through some of those links, discovering new things through them, but before long, he found several more pages where everything had been visited. Surely, he was nearing the end of his quest.

He repeated the process with other portals — mathematics, geography, technology. Every spare moment, he read and learned and dreamed of the day when he would know everything.

Then, in his study of technology, he discovered the concept of link distribution from network theory. The pages he read which linked to each other were merely clusters of related concepts, but there could be more information out there which didn’t link to any of the things he read.

He studied wikipedia itself, looking for a list of all articles, but there he learned that the pages he read changed after he read them, that they weren’t established facts at all but the held opinions of the people who wrote them. Knowledge itself changed, and he would never finish learning.

Today, Read If They Get Me turns 3, but not in years. The third “level” of the story is now accessible to read.

The new section starts two months to the day after the last one ended, and I’m “leaking” it exactly two months after the last section went up.

This level fixes the broken links from earlier in the story. Everything should work now, right up until the very end. This is the last numbered level. Shortly after this section of the story, numbers cease to have any meaning.

There’s a little more after this, which will be made accessible when the time is right. As long as the story remains incomplete, it could conceivably go on forever, and I like that idea. It remains larger in potentiality than your ability to wrap your mind around as a reader, like the sum of all knowledge in the story above.

The new chapters have a hub for the paths between them. The complexity of the story labyrinth itself grows as the story goes on. If that gets confusing, involve your friends and share information. Different people will have different opinions and experiences, and I want to foster conversations that help deepen understanding, not just of the story but of each other. Too high a goal for fiction? That’s a shame.

Access your bookmarks to pick up in the story where you left off, or choose where to start reading from here.