January 9, 2003 00:38 | URLs

Did someone say "Library of Babel"?

William Gibson

Will comment later.

Later is now:
Broges' "Library of Babel" is "The Universe". ("The Library, which some call the Universe,...") Think of it this way: every particle in the universe is one of 25 characters and is recorded in any number of innumerable books. Not only that, but the 'life" of every particle is intimately documented in all possible languages (its movement, position, properties, etc...). Borges on top of that puts mirrors (he loves mirrors...) in every gallery of the library, essentially doubling infinity.

Don't dwell on it too long: it'll drive ya nuts. Just look at what happened to me... ;)

Case in point: I like to attach this view to the classic proposition that "nature is an unintelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and periphery, nowhere. The Judaïc tradition (I've seen it in Christian demagoguery) would replace "nature" with "God". Buddhists may say that Enlightenment or Buddhahood is the realization that this sphere is everything, us included (and that there is no sphere hahaha!). All is one and all simply is. Again, for christians: God is omniscient and omnipresent, God is within us all... ergo we are all one.

Ok ok enough of that.


Interesting aside: Borges was a blind archivist! And not only is his library interminable; it also contains, in every hexagonal room, two interesting useful spaces: a claustrophic nook wherein one may sleep standing up and another in which to shoot yourself or defecate, whichever situation were to present itself first.
Dwell on it, by all means. But don't forget to glance over the railing to see those falling bodies.

2- Boris Anthony

glad to see you have a copy on hand, Nazo! ;)
I always enjoy your learned ways of telling me I'm full of... myself. :)