The HyperWebster by Kayne Belul

The HyperWebster is a hypothetical infinite dictionary, also capable of generating every piece of writing and snippet of thought ever conceived. It’s a more accurate and less cliché billion of monkeys typing out the full works of Shakespeare. The way this hypothetical text works is formulaic: starting with the letter A, it will cycle through all 26 letters. After it gets to Z, it will reset and add an A. Starting with AA, it will cycle through all possible combinations. When it gets to ZZ it resets and adds another A. This goes on infinitely.

If this were ever published, perhaps by four dimensional extraterrestrials, every piece of writing would become plagiarized in an instant. Since that’s not probable, I’m going to look at it from the perspective of a very 3D writer. 

Every draft of every one of my pieces would be contained in the Webster, including better edited versions of what I write. I’ve been thinking about that as I edit recently. Each piece has the potential to be perfectly edited; I just have to figure out what which words I am supposed to place where.

The Webster also relates intimately with playwriting; it illustrates the fact that a simple starting point or plot can develop into literally anything. Plays are meant to have a plot while most of my writing consists of abstract or absurdist concepts. It’s gratifying to know that, given the amount of drafts in The Webster, a simple plot can theoretically be developed into the greatest story ever written. 

The possibilities have always been there, but I’ve never seen it proved before. Sure, there are a lot of words in the English language, but not an infinite amount. Adding in the slang, kennings, and special characters that could be added to The Webster, it’s a lot more illustrative of the possibilities.

Math and writing are one of the typical left brain right brain examples, which is interesting because although creativity is a right brain trait, thinking in language is attributed to the left. In this way, it’s less strange to think of math and writing as kin, rather than opposites. Even science is more attributed to writing (given that it has its own genre). The Webster is a good example of math and language combined. Some more (as I trail off into recommendation) are the collection Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino and a good number of Borges stories. 

Kayne Belul, class of 2018


2 thoughts on “The HyperWebster by Kayne Belul

  1. Evan says:

    Hmm… You might, with some serious dedication, be able to make a rudimentary version of the Hyperwebster with a computer program, which seems impressive to me. Let’s see how far this rabbit-hole goes.

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