Gnosis can be accurately, but incompletely, described as a message system in which objects send messages to other objects. Objects obey programs in some manner.

Some objects are already in the machine to serve the user. The user may call on these objects directly and conversationally. In so doing he may create new objects that obey a program that he specifies.

Some objects represent the sole proprietor of such services as Tymnet communication, etc. Objects created by one user may be allowed to communicate with objects built by other users.

Keys are kept in objects and they serve to address {and thus designate} other objects.

A message consists of data and keys. We give in an appendix at (p3,messages) a description in metaphor of Gnosis as a message-based system.

Imagine a fixed set of very autonomous objects. These objects each hold some keys that designate other objects. The program for an object may specify the sending of a message via one of these keys.