You are on page 1of 1

WHAT IS ABSTRACT PHASE SPACE?

Abstract Phase Space (APS) is the conceptual space of abstractions within which the forms of
all of our abstract ideas can be said to exist. When we abstract things in our minds we try to
imagine them in and of themselves or as they are, removed from their context/ground/
environment. The emergence of this space, in which our abstractions occur, is an effect of a
relatively recent human technology, the alphabetic script.
The Ancient Greeks, one of the earliest societies to write with an alphabetic script, were the first
to standardize the vowels. Before this new technique of having specific vowel glyphs, words
written in alphabet were written without the vowels, with the understanding that the context of
the sentence would be enough to allow the reader (who was almost certainly reading aloud) to
recognize the appropriate word. Hebrew is a prime example of a script in which the vowels have
not been standardized. In Hebrew the word Yehovah is spelled YHVH, which could be also
pronounced as Yahveh or Yahweh. When the vowels are standardized, words take on singular
meanings and pronunciations, as opposed to the above mentioned potential for doubles. (I
imagine that this had a profound impact on wordplay and poetry.)
The standardization of the vowels led to the standardization of the spellings of words. When
each word has its own spelling, (when it is assigned standard vowels) it also has its own
definition, or meaning, to go along with it. Standardized spellings of words led to standardized
meanings of words. This is what Zummi calls the Birth of the Problem of Meaning (BOTPOM). It
is hypothesized that very first word to receive a standard meaning was the greek word for
justice. Upon asking the question, What does justice mean, in and of itself? Abstract Phase
Space emerged. The Greek Philosophers went on to define/standardize a whole host of words
and taught them to their disciples in what could well be seen as the first acts of formal
education. This trend toward standardization led to a new way of conceptualizing reality; that of
deconstruction and individuation. The ability to abstract things and view them out of their
necessary context allowed us to categorize the world and deconstruct environments into their
constituent parts. Thus made possible what we call philosophy and science.
This newly emerged field/space/landscape of the mind, created by this new linguistic technique,
is the screen through with we now view reality. We wear APS like glasses and it focuses
discrete subjects into our fields of awareness in a way that, arguably, we were unable to do
before the standardization of the alphabetic script. The argument of APS is that, before the
alphabet, we were unable to conceptualize in the abstract, or to view things, in and of
themselves. In the terms of Marshall McLuhan, the filter/screen/field of APS, through which we
experience the world, is an effect of the alphabetic media, upon us. This is why, perhaps,
McLuhan saw the written word as an extension of the human eye, an augmentation of it. APS
literally changes the way we see the world, it is superimposed onto the landscape of our
reality. This effect of the alphabet is what allows us to think and speak in the abstract.
Beyond that, the implications of APS are broad and at times alarming. The very fact that, as far
as we are aware, Zummi is the first person to have become extra-environmental to the Abstract
Phase Space and then name it, is fascinating, in and of itself.