Prismatic Perception:  An Emerging Mythology of the Millennial Mind. Doctoral dissertation. Published on PQDT Open. 2014. Accessible at:

Natural form symbolic of Indra's Net, an image of prismatic perception

Natural form symbolic of Indra's Net, an image of prismatic perception

Abstract:  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.


"Mandalas of Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish:  Geometric Soul-Images in Melville's Moby-Dick." Published in Mythological Studies Journal, vol. 2, 2011. Accessible at:

Quaternity mandala, 3+1:  three lines with connecting point at the intersection

Quaternity mandala, 3+1:  three lines with connecting point at the intersection

Abstract:  In "Mandalas of Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish: Geometric Soul-Images in Melville’s Moby-Dick," Laura Strudwick pairs the themes of connection and alienation with the metaphors of fast-fish and loose-fish found in Chapter 89 of Moby-Dick. She utilizes four original mandala images that she discovered in the text of Moby-Dick to embody Louise Cowan’s genre theory. Each mandala represents one of the genres:  lyric, comedy, tragedy, and epic. At the same time, the movements of these mandalas also mirror the activity in the characters’ psyches. As the mandalas shift shape, often in a spiral motion, the epic genre is revealed as one that encompasses the other three genres. Likewise, the characters move through permutations of alienation and connection that correlate with the mandalas.

"Infinite Space and Self-Similar Form in Alchemy and Fractal Geometry." Published in Mythological Studies Journal, vol. 1, 2010. Accessible at:

Computer-generated image of Mandelbrot set

Abstract:  The archaic practice of alchemy and the relatively new field of fractal geometry take the exploration of opposites as their primary metaphors, particularly the themes of zero/infinity and part/whole. Both fields manifest the paradoxes of infinite emptiness and self-similar structure. The visual symbols of alchemy spoke to the ancient and medieval minds; similarly, the imagery of fractals and chaos theory energizes and interacts with the postmodern psyche through infinitely spiraling, yet fractured, repetition. In comparing alchemy and fractal geometry, four subtopics emerge:  chaos with a focus on infinity and nothingness; processes that engage looping spiral patterns; hidden order that appears as self-similar form; and, finally, a glimpse of the big picture, comparable to the alchemical Philosopher’s Stone.