01PutoranaPlateauChapters have beginnings and ends.  They culminate.  Sometimes this culmination will be that of an event in the development of a plot.  In other cases, it will be the culmination of the development of a concept or a theme or a line of argument.  “Now that we have dealt with the forms of space and time”, says Kant, “we can move on to that of concepts”.  You follow a chapter.

By contrast, plateaus are expanses, territories.  Their boundaries are fuzzy and indeterminate.  At what point does the plateau fade into the valley or steppe?  We can’t say.  There’s a zone of indiscernibility between the two, a fold.  There’s a distinctness without determinate boundaries.  Plateaus are textured and differential, with all sorts of geographical features.  You don’t follow a plateau or trace its development.  Rather, you explore a plateau or perhaps occupy it; for a time anyway.  You might traverse a plateau to get to a steppe, another plateau, or the valley through which a river runs.  You’ve been told the fishing is particularly good there.  In this event, you will ignore much of the plateau and that’s fine.  In other instances you might survey the plateau, wishing to explore all of its textures and folds, marveling a the variety it contains.  It’s not clear that we can call a book composed of plateaus a book.  Rather, it is a geography, a world.  As is the case with any world, you have your favorite places, those places you find particularly rich and beautiful, and then there are others that you find rather grim or uninteresting.