All the meaning currently known to human beings accounts for just 4.9% of the total amount of meaning in the universe. The rest is what is called dark meaning, a powerful body of significant information that influences our lives but cannot be intellectually apprehended.

This meaning can't be understood directly because it doesn't emit any connotations or allusions that make sense to literary critics, but its existence can be inferred from the effect it has on the graspable meaning around it. When, for example, a classical interpretation of a text is distorted to the point of seeming ironic, or when a book becomes so bent that a self-reflexive value begins to emerge from it, it can be assumed that dark meaning is present and is exerting a gravitational effect on the known meaning around it.

Stephen Moles first hypothesised the existence of dark meaning after noticing discrepancies in the measurements of the impact of large literary works. When he calculated the amount of influence that a major work exerts on subsequent compositions, he found that the words didn't add up – there seemed to be a huge amount of additional meaning coming from some unknown source which determined the form that books took in the observers’ minds. It was after this discovery that he made the decision to assemble a team of top literary/linguistic experimenters and establish the Dark Meaning Research Institute to help bring this mysterious essence into the intelligible world.