DIY: How to Freak Yourself Out

Books_at_the_Bisbee_Historical_Museum,_Arizona

By now I hope we all know that the name of this blog derives from the saying, “There is nothing new under the sun.” On Under the Sun, I talk about incredible technologies, social customs, and events that seem to have been predicted by fiction long before they were manifested in reality. Today’s topic is almost overkill.

There is a website called Library of Babel, which is explained best on its about page:

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If you want to freak yourself out and cause yourself to question life, causality, and your place in the universe, just click on this link: Library of Babel. Once there, click browse, and type something into the search bar. I am not kidding. When I did this, I had a small identity crisis. Be warned.

The site uses an algorithm to rearrange English characters into randomly generated pages of text. Why is this so freaky? Because every combination means EVERY combination, meaning even things that will not be written until hundreds of years from now by an obscure post-post-modern transcendentalist poet can already be found word for word on this site! 

This epic, somewhat crippling website was created by Jonathan Basile. He was inspired by a short story, also by the name of The Library of Babel, written by Jorge Luis Borges in 1941. In the story, are born and die in an infinite library made of hexagonal rooms filled floor to ceiling with books containing everything that could possibly be written. Much of the contents of the books are complete gibberish, devoid of meaning or coherence. But in them exists the possibility of incredible discoveries as infinite as the library itself. 

Check out the site and the short story and tell me what you think!

Have a question or opinion you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments! I do take topic requests. And don’t forget to follow me on social media!

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