Structured Chaos and The Unreadable Book.

The Library of Babel and The Garden of Forking Paths both written by Borges, appears to anticipate the creation of the internet and hypertext before it had in fact been created. In an article by Perla Sassόn-Henry, she writes about how Borges came up with the idea to “traverse a series of lexias – a series of spaces – via links that generate an intricate narrative”1. How could we use this information in developing our ideas? Would it be possible to generate our own ‘intricate narrative and if so, how can we do this?
Looking beyond the initial amaze and power of what the library mean, there is also a darker side to the story. Borges talks of insanity and how “pilgrims squabbled in the narrow corridors, muttered dark imprecations, strangled one another on the divine staircases.”2 The reason for such insanity is because the books only contained 23 characters, the writing was often gibberish and unreadable to most. What if a book could be recreated to resemble such an unreadable book, a book that makes sense to some but not to others and at the same time,  the writers themselves were slowly going insane.

The Library of Babel and Reagon Library find themselves intertwined with the narratives often created through this style of technology.  There is the theory that chaos sums up the chaotic notion of scattered/disrupted information is merely a sign of organization. The article attempts to force the notion on us that we must understand that “chaos is ubiquitous, it is stable, it is structured”3.  What if we could structure chaos and intertwine this with the idea of the insanity and the unreadable book? For next week I shall continue my research into the Borges Library and delve into the idea development to see how I can move forward from this stage in our initial development.

  1. Sasson-Henry, P, (2006) ‘Borges’ “The Library of Babel” and Moulthrop’s Cybertext” Reagan Library” Revisited’,  Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, 60, 2 pp. 11 – 13 []
  2. Borges, J. L (2000) The Library of Babel, New Hampshire: David R. Godine []
  3. Sasson-Henry, P, (2006) ‘Borges’ “The Library of Babel” and Moulthrop’s Cybertext” Reagan Library” Revisited’,  Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, 60, 2 pp. 11 – 13 []
Posted: January 28th, 2013
Categories: Babel: Lost Words, Borges, Early Research, Library
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