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Altered Library of Babel

ems8140's picture

When I walked into class on Tuesday, I was confused about Dennett’s analogy of the Library of Babel and its relevance to evolution and our lives. However, after discussing it further in class and talking about the blog postings, I came to the similar realization of some of my other classmates. I think that the belief that all ideas could be present in the library does lead to a sense of possibility and opportunity. I don’t think the idea that every single possible option of combination of thoughts or ideas is present in the library can be plausible. I believe it is our responsibility to combine these in a unique way, thus adding to the vast expanse of the library. This type of library thus allows for development through new combinations of ideas, possibly leading to positive change and evolution. If this idea doesn’t apply in the Library of Babel, then I don’t believe there would be the chance for any progress. There needs to be creativity and agency available for people to contribute.

            Professor Grobstein’s discussion about the different levels of infinity led me to frustration and confusion. I initially didn’t think there could be multiple levels or degrees of infinity because the concept of infinity really only has one meaning: a quantity with no bound or limit. However, I was happy to see that his ideas led to the disproval of the possibility of the Library of Babel. This library can’t exist because if there is a library of everything, then the library itself must be inside the library. Indicating that there is always a bigger set, this comparison then helped me to understand more clearly his ideas about varying degrees of infinity. This concept that there is no library helps to emphasize that there is always room for new things, every combination cannot be present.    



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