chapter  5
History Takes Shape
Pages 40

Despite their structural and syntactical differences and the differing shapes of the concepts and ideas so represented, a page of prose and an abstract visualization are more analogous than we might at first realize. Both are “emblems of mind,”1 maps of abstract terrain, visible gestures of thought. Both written prose and abstract visualizations depend upon symbol, syntax, and abstract space. Consider the page of prose you are looking at now: like a diagram or chart, a page is an abstract, nonrepresentational space upon which a writer arranges symbols (in this case, written words). These symbols refer to concepts and objects and are arranged in this abstract space according to formal rules of syntax. That syntax, as we have noted before, is one-dimensional; thus a page of prose shapes ideas and concepts in a linear fashion. In this way, prose linearizes concepts and ideas that are not inherently linear.