Library Of Babel Quotes

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You who read me, are You sure of understanding my language?
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
Let heaven exist, though my own place be in hell. Let me be tortured and battered and annihilated, but let there be one instant, one creature, wherein thy enormous Library may find its justification.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
The library will endure; it is the universe. As for us, everything has not been written; we are not turning into phantoms. We walk the corridors, searching the shelves and rearranging them, looking for lines of meaning amid leagues of cacophony and incoherence, reading the history of the past and our future, collecting our thoughts and collecting the thoughts of others, and every so often glimpsing mirrors, in which we may recognize creatures of the information.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
Let heaven exist, though my place be in hell. - The Library of Babel
Jorge Luis Borges (Ficciones)
If honor and wisdom and happiness are not for me, let them be for others. Let heaven exist, though my place be in hell.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
The Library is a sphere whose exact centre is any one of its hexagons and whose circumference is inaccessible.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
I know of a wild region whose librarians repudiate the vain superstitious custom of seeking any sense in books and compare it to looking for meaning in dreams or in the chaotic lines of one's hands . . . They admit that the inventors of writing imitated the twenty-five natural symbols, but they maintain that this application is accidental and that books in themselves mean nothing. This opinion - we shall see - is not altogether false.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
I cannot combine some characters dhcmrlchtdj which the divine Library has not foreseen and which in one of its secret tongues do not contain a terrible meaning. No one can articulate a syllable which is not filled with tenderness and fear, which is not, in one of these languages, the powerful name of a god. To speak is to fall into tautology.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
The certitude that everything has been written negates us or turns us into phantoms. I know of districts in which the young men prostrate themselves before books and kiss their pages in a barbarous manner, but they do not know how to decipher a single letter. Epidemics, heretical conflicts, peregrinations which inevitably degenerate into banditry, have decimated the population. I believe I have mentioned suicides, more and more frequent with the years. Perhaps my old age and fearfulness deceive me, but I suspect that the human species -- the unique species -- is about to be extinguished, but the Library will endure: illuminated, solitary, infinite, perfectly motionless, equipped with precious volumes, useless, incorruptible, secret.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
There are official searchers, inquisitors. I have seen them in the performance of their function: they always arrive extremely tired from their journeys; they speak of a broken stairway which almost killed them; they talk with the librarian of galleries and stairs; sometimes they pick up the nearest volume and leaf through it, looking for infamous words. Obviously, no one expects to discover anything.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
Como todos los hombres de la Biblioteca, he viajado en mi juventud; he peregrinado en busca de un libro, acaso del catálogo de catálogos; ahora que mis ojos casi no pueden descifrar lo que escribo, me preparo a morir a unas pocas leguas del hexágono en que nací. Muerto, no faltarán manos piadosas que me tiren por la baranda; mi sepultura será el aire insondable; mi cuerpo se hundirá largamente y se corromperá y disolverá en el viento engendrado por la caída, que es infinita.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
The tradition among libraries of boasting about the number of volumes in their collection is well established, but surely, it is not aggregation that makes a library; it is dissemination. Perhaps libraries should bang on about how many volumes are on loan, are presently off crowding nightstands, and circulating through piles on the mantel, and weighing down purses. Yes, it is somewhat vexing to thread through the stacks of a library, only to discover an absence rather than the sought-after volume, but once the ire subsides, doesn’t one feel a sense of community? The gaps in a library are like footprints in the sand; they show us where others have gone before; they assure us we are not alone.
Josiah Bancroft (Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel, #2))
Methodical writing distracts me from the present condition of men. But the certainty that everything has been already written nullifies or makes phantoms of us all.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
short work of fiction by Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel.” Imagine an infinite number of rooms, stacked atop one another, in which are stored not only all the books ever written but also all the books that ever will be, each of them in every dialect of every language known to mankind and of every language yet to be learned or formed in days to come. In addition, there is a book of the life of everyone who has ever lived or will live, and an infinite number of other volumes of all genres and purposes that could be imagined. There are books that make no sense and books that seem to make sense but perhaps do not. And the sheer quantity ensures that no one can read a sufficient percentage of it to arrive at an explanation of the library, life, or anything else. Bibi
Dean Koontz (Ashley Bell)
bringing back all they can find in the old world’s ruins and collecting them in Babel’s great library. Most of them already exist in our computer archives, but there’s nothing quite the same as sitting with a real book in your hands. Breathing in the ink and feeling all those wonderful lives beneath your fingertips. In between the pages, I’m an emperor. An adventurer. A warrior and a wanderer. In between the pages I’m not myself—and more myself than in any other place on earth.
Jay Kristoff (LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike, #1))
For almost all astronomical objects, gravitation dominates, and they have the same unexpected behavior. Gravitation reverses the usual relation between energy and temperature. In the domain of astronomy, when heat flows from hotter to cooler objects, the hot objects get hotter and the cool objects get cooler. As a result, temperature differences in the astronomical universe tend to increase rather than decrease as time goes on. There is no final state of uniform temperature, and there is no heat death. Gravitation gives us a universe hospitable to life. Information and order can continue to grow for billions of years in the future, as they have evidently grown in the past. The vision of the future as an infinite playground, with an unending sequence of mysteries to be understood by an unending sequence of players exploring an unending supply of information, is a glorious vision for scientists. Scientists find the vision attractive, since it gives them a purpose for their existence and an unending supply of jobs. The vision is less attractive to artists and writers and ordinary people. Ordinary people are more interested in friends and family than in science. Ordinary people may not welcome a future spent swimming in an unending flood of information. A darker view of the information-dominated universe was described in the famous story “The Library of Babel,” written by Jorge Luis Borges in 1941.§ Borges imagined his library, with an infinite array of books and shelves and mirrors, as a metaphor for the universe. Gleick’s book has an epilogue entitled “The Return of Meaning,” expressing the concerns of people who feel alienated from the prevailing scientific culture. The enormous success of information theory came from Shannon’s decision to separate information from meaning. His central dogma, “Meaning is irrelevant,” declared that information could be handled with greater freedom if it was treated as a mathematical abstraction independent of meaning. The consequence of this freedom is the flood of information in which we are drowning. The immense size of modern databases gives us a feeling of meaninglessness. Information in such quantities reminds us of Borges’s library extending infinitely in all directions. It is our task as humans to bring meaning back into this wasteland. As finite creatures who think and feel, we can create islands of meaning in the sea of information. Gleick ends his book with Borges’s image of the human condition: We walk the corridors, searching the shelves and rearranging them, looking for lines of meaning amid leagues of cacophony and incoherence, reading the history of the past and of the future, collecting our thoughts and collecting the thoughts of others, and every so often glimpsing mirrors, in which we may recognize creatures of the information.
Freeman Dyson (Dreams of Earth and Sky)
We also have knowledge of another superstition from that period: be­lief in what was termed the Book-Man. On some shelf in some hexagon, it was argued, there must exist a book that is the cipher and perfect com­pendium of all other books, and some librarian must have examined that book; this librarian is analogous to a god. In the language of this zone there are still vestiges of the sect that worshiped that distant librarian. Many have gone in search of Him. For a hundred years, men beat every possible path­ and every path in vain. How was one to locate the idolized secret hexagon that sheltered Him? Someone proposed searching by regression: To locate book A, first consult book B, which tells where book A can be found; to lo­ cate book B, first consult book C, and so on, to infinity....It is in ventures such as these that I have squandered and spent my years. I cannot think it unlikely that there is such a total book on some shelf in the universe. I pray to the unknown gods that some man-even a single man, tens of centuries ago-has perused and read that book. If the honor and wisdom and joy of such a reading are not to be my own, then let them be for others. Let heaven exist, though my own place be in hell. Let me be tortured and battered and annihilated, but let there be one instant, one creature, wherein thy enor­mous Library may find its justification.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
«M'inganneranno, forse, la vecchiezza e il timore ma sospetto che la specie umana - l'unica - stia per estinguersi, e che la Bibioteca perdurerà: illuminata, solitaria, infinita, perfettamente immobile, armata di volumi preziosi, inutile, incorruttibile, segreta. Aggiungo: infinita. Non introduco quest'aggettivo per un'abitudine retorica; dico che non è illogico pensare che il mondo sia infinito. Chi lo giudica limitato, suppone che in qualche luogo remoto i corridoi e le scale e gli esagoni possano inconcepibilmente cessare; ciò che è assurdo. Chi lo immagina senza limiti, dimentica che è limitato il numero possibile dei libri. Io m'arrischio a insinuare questa soluzione: La Biblioteca è illimitata e periodica. Se un eterno viaggiatore la traversasse in una direzione qualsiasi, constaterebbe alla fine dei secoli che gli stessi volumi si ripetono nello stesso disordine (che, ripetuto, sarebbe un ordine: l'Ordine). Questa elegante speranza rallegra la mia solitudine.» [La Biblioteca di Babele]
Jorge Luis Borges (Fictions/Ficciones)
In the vestibule there is a mirror, which faithfully duplicates appearances. Men often infer from this mirror that the Library is not infinite - if it were, what need would there be for that illusory replication? I prefer to dream that burnished surfaces are a figuration and promise of the infinite.
Jorge Luis Borges (La biblioteca de Babel: Cuentos selectos y un poema)
Borges's extreme architecture attempts to visualize the universe by assigning to every object real and unreal, now and yet to come, a code or sign, a corresponding figure within the Library. It seeks to render totality visible, to effect a total visibility and visuality. The Library of Babel is a view of the universe inside and out, an X-ray of the universe and universal X-ray, seen from within and without. It is a representation of everywhere: a perfect duplication of the universe. And of you: universal. An endless and eternal cinema, an imaginary archive that extends into the universe until it is indistinguishable from it, until you are indistinguishable from the universe.
Akira Mizuta Lippit (Atomic Light (Shadow Optics))
A depachika is like nothing else. It is the endless bounty of a hawker's bazaar, but with Japanese civility. It is Japanese food and foreign food, sweet and savory. The best depachika have more than a hundred specialized stands and cannot be understood on a single visit. I felt as though I had a handle on Life Supermarket the first time I shopped there, but I never felt entirely comfortable in a depachika. They are the food equivalent of Borges's "The Library of Babel": if it's edible, someone is probably selling it, but how do you find it? How do you resist the cakes and spices and Chinese delis and bento boxes you'll pass on the way? At the Isetan depachika, in Shinjuku, French pastry god Pierre Hermé sells his signature cakes and macarons. Not to be outdone, Franco-Japanese pastry god Sadaharu Aoki sells his own nearby. Tokyo is the best place in the world to eat French pastry. The quality and selection are as good as or better than in Paris, and the snootiness factor is zero. I wandered by a collection of things on sticks: yakitori at one stand, kushiage at another. Kushiage are panko-breaded and fried foods on sticks. At any depachika, you can buy kushiage either golden and cooked, or pale and raw to fry at home. Neither option is terribly appetizing: the fried stuff is losing crispness by the second, and who wants to deep-fry in a poorly ventilated Tokyo apartment in the summer? But the overall effect of the display is mesmerizing: look at all the different foods they've put on sticks! Pork, peppers, mushrooms, squash, taro, and two dozen other little cubes.
Matthew Amster-Burton (Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo)
There are certain readers for whom books exist in the moment of reading them, and later as memories of the read pages, but who feel that the physical incarnations of books are dispensable. Borges, for instance, was one of these. Those who never visited Borges’s modest flat imagined his library to be as vast as that of Babel. In fact, Borges kept only a few hundred books, and even these he used to give away as gifts to visitors. Occasionally, a certain volume had sentimental or superstitious value for him, but by and large what mattered to him were a few recalled lines, not the material object in which he had found them. For me, it has always been otherwise.
Alberto Manguel (Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions)
I sit opposite and look at the pile of books in front of him. Babel is one of the only places in the world that has real books anymore. My mother sends teams across the Glass, bringing back all they can find in the old world’s ruins and collecting them in Babel’s great library. Most of them already exist in our computer archives, but there’s nothing quite the same as sitting with a real book in your hands. Breathing in the ink and feeling all those wonderful lives beneath your fingertips. In between the pages, I’m an emperor. An adventurer. A warrior and a wanderer. In between the pages I’m not myself—and more myself than in any other place on earth.
Jay Kristoff (LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike, #1))
O Time thy pyramids.
Jorge Luis Borges (The Library of Babel)
chiliagon,
William Goldbloom Bloch (The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel)
If Jorge Luis Borges' Library of Babel could have existed in reality, it would have been something like the Long Room of Trinity College.
Christopher de Hamel (Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts)
it is somewhat vexing to thread through the stacks of a library, only to discover an absence rather than the sought-after volume, but once the ire subsides, doesn’t one feel a sense of community? The gaps in a library are like footprints in the sand: They show us where others have gone before; they assure us we are not alone.
Josiah Bancroft (Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel, #2))