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Speculation on the History of The Seven by Nine Squares

A Reply to the Inquiry about "The Book You Would Like to Be Written"

Date: Sat, 8 Apr 95 19:39 PDT
From: Jim Andrews <andrews@islandnet.com> (who welcomes replies)

The Seven by Nine Squares is thought to have been composed of poetry, mathematics, personal reflection, essayistic forays and, in general, the trees of life and knowledge side by side close enough together that they touch.

All the work has been ascribed to Pythagoras but it is widely supposed that it is the work of many. The existing fragments do not bear the mark of one hand. It is possible to read traces, for instance, of the work of Hippasos (who was killed or exiled for the discovery of the irrationality of root 2) and of Heraclitus (whom Hippasos taught (when he would listen)).

Those who came to understand that The Seven by Nine Squares had, in fact, been ongoing for at least 2500 years knew that it was a kind of mustard seed after the parable in the Bible. Jesus had likened Heaven to a mustard seed, as something that could grow from a rather humble potential into a fuller creation. Presumably he meant also that our knowledge of heaven and the world, of ourselves and others could grow in such a manner. So The Seven by Nine Squares came to be regarded as a kind of history of the collective growth of humanity. The tree-like structure of the book came to be emblematic of the aspirations of the collective venture toward such a union of the trees of life and knowledge. The contributors to the electronic book apparently originated from widely separate locations around the world; the highly cosmopolitan nature of the book reflects the hope that global collaboration could result, if not in unity, then in a capacious multiplicity.

Today only fragments of the book survive. However, records suggest that at one time it was available to anyone who happened to stumble upon it in the hunting/gathering phase of the Web. Only later did it evolve into a kind of scientific-poetical religion/cult that spread throughout the known world. Appropriately enough, even at the height of its influence, the book was said to be fragmentary and ongoing in its construction.

Stories continue to arise of the existence of complete replicas of The Seven by Nine Squares within the Web, but these stories are likened unto Elvis sitings (that persist to this day). Some believe that the book never really did exist but only the hope that it did or it might. They maintain that the fragments associated with the book are really only unrelated and early attempts to understand or comment on the nature of hypertext. They also maintain that there never was a religious cult based around The Seven by Nine Squares and that this is a myth created by those who are attempting to revive the historical myth.

Does the drop of metal shine like a syllable in my song?
Neruda, Book of Questions