Library of Babel

The Library of Babel, by Jorge Luis Borges, has long been a favorite short story of mine. While it was written in the first half of the twentieth century, long before the Internet was a pipe dream, it has great allegorical significance in this the modern age. At the time of its writing, the idea of a library that contains everything — everything — was used to poke fun at academics who Borges saw as having an unhealthy reverence for books and information. Having all the information every, Borges says, is useless, paralyzing.

So today, with the advent of Google and the entirety of the Internet drawn to our screens in a matter of milliseconds, this idea has more weight and is more accessible than ever. The Internet gives us the ability to have the information, but like the Library of Borges, it has no integrated system of parsing the information into useful segments. Information is only one part of the equation.

-Brendan Sullivan


~ by Brendan Sullivan on March 1, 2011.

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