"One . . . Two . . . Three . . . Nonlineality"
(Updated: June 21, 2004)

As a part-time, unmetriculated graduate student at SUNY Brockport (1974-1975), I took a sequence of two courses with Dr. Floyd Douglas Anderson. The courses which introduced me to the field of rhetoric were "The Rhetorical Tradition" and "Contemporary Theories of Rhetoric."

My final "paper" for "Contemporary Theories of Rhetoric" was actually a multi-media exploration of interactions among (1) printed text, (2) visual images, (3) spoken word, and (4) music. It consisted of a paper document (containing text and images) that was to read silently as an audiotape (containing spoken word and music) played an audio track.

In form, the exploration was consciously patterned after the "turn-the-page-when-you-hear-this-sound" children's books I grew up with. In both form and content, the exploration was inspired by my introduction to Kenneth Burke, I.A. Richards, Marshal McLuhan, and Walter Ong among others.

The title page of the paper is an adaptation of George Gamow's "One . . . Two . . . Three . . . Infinity: Facts and Speculations about Science." In changing the title to "Nonlinealty" I was attempting to call attention to aural modes of consciousness as I understood having been born into an electronic era of secondary orality.

Almost thirty years later I came to conclude that technology and electronic media have so radically altered the drama of human relations that (1) what it means to be human and (2) the nature of human consciousness have been irrevocably altered.

Just as I conceived of a term paper as a multi-media exploration centered on aurality and "nonlineality" (patterned after the "turn-the-page-when-you-hear-this-sound" children's books I grew up with), so will today's youth conceive of their world based on the media of their childhoods.