Biblioteca lui Babel

Biblioteca lui Babel

The Library of Babel as Seen from Within by

Though its underlying theory of language is powerful and undeniable, there are strange inaccuracies elsewhere in the library, which I only noticed after attempting to reconstruct it myself. The librarians in the story, for instance, encounter far more rational text than would ever be possible in a truly random universal library. Merely in the hexagons under his administration, our narrator recounts volumes with the titles Combed Thunder and The Plaster Cramp. After endless days searching through random books—both to test the Web site and because I am often enticed by its secrets—the longest legible title I’ve encountered by chance is dog. Even some of the incoherent texts in the story, such as one where the letters “MCV” repeat “perversely” for 410 pages, are statistically impossible for mere mortals to encounter.

The most important of the librarians’ discoveries is another impossibility, a work with two pages in a “Samoyed-Lithuanian dialect of Guaraní with inflections from classical Arabic” containing the rudiments of combinatory analysis. Borges notes, with his usual strange humor, that it’s “illustrated with examples of endlessly repeating variations.” One could understand every volume in the library as such an illustration—an appendix to this manual on permutation and combination. The entire library fits inside a single one of its books, like the master catalog the librarians seek or the algorithm that produces the online version of the library, a few lines of code that can also be found inside its volumes.

Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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