This is the crossroads. From here, the essays branch out into two distinct, yet interrelated paths. Along the first path, the reader will find essays dealing with the physical issues behind hypertext, those of interaction and change as they relate to user-specified systems of exploration. In this material, I try to forge a link between certain areas of theoretical physics and the indeterminacy generated by the hypertext user's interaction with the writer-defined set of links.
The second path deals with issues of annotation, escape from control and some of the medieval worldviews which I suggest may be the root of a hypertextual system of reading and writing. These issues are in many ways more concrete, and somewhat easier to grasp than the physical issues explored along the other fork in the road. The reader should not assume that because the first system deals with physical issues, it is necessarily more concrete. The world of theoretical physics can often seem strange and magical when it is first encountered. It may be wise to explore the second path first, but again, I leave this decision to the reader.
From a preliminary standpoint, the connection between annotation and interpretation of a system of reading as well as a commensurate system of writing, with the world of uncertainty and probability fields generated by quantum particles of matter may not seem clear. I suggest that this connection lies in the seemingly random initial state of both systems, which fall into orderly fashion when touched, interpreted or observed. In hypertext, the mode of interaction is determined by links. When a reader "touches" the link by clicking on it, she has changed the system in a manner akin to the physical observation of a quanta of energy, which coalesces or collapses into its quantum state when measured, or touched by the outside world.
When the reader annotates a system of text, commenting on it or adding depth to incomplete ideas, she is changing that system of text. If hypertext (or any sort of annotated text) was a literal manifestation of the physical universe, then this would be impossible. In that adding order to a system with no seeming detriment to other textual systems seems to be a form of creation without inherent destruction in any form, it would violate the second law of thermodynamics, reversing the flow of entropy from the disorderly to the orderly.
While hypertext may not be a perfect system for physical interpretation and deposition of the human universe, its imperfections add a great deal to its utility. I hope that the reader will use them to his or her advantage in the exploration of this system.