Thoughts/Borges/“The Library of Babel”

April 11, 2010 Comments Off on Thoughts/Borges/“The Library of Babel”


Borges’ “The Library of Babel” is not some clever puzzle like an Escher print, but a genuine enigma, beyond explanation or solution. A better representation might be Piranesi’s carceri — vast, dark prisons, seemingly endless, whose laws, whose systems, whose punishments are not articulated and probably are not known by those who wander through them, which may not even exist.  Borges’ Library is a vast construction, possibly infinite, of seemingly endless books that may not make any sense. Each cell in the Library is lit by two lamps; “The light they emit is insufficient, incessant.” Librarians have to sleep standing up.

Our existence is reduced to nearly nothing by the enormity of our containers.

Life is a torment of not seeing well, of not knowing.

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