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Too defined for my taste

ib4walrus's picture

The Library of Babel ultimately means the death of creativity and originality as we know it.  With all potential books, papers, etc. all "pre-existing" on one of the seemingly infinite shelves of the library already, nothing "new" can be thought of/written.  Any thing that's written, with whatever typos or errors in it, another "copy" already exists.  It seems that only once a work is physically created in our world does it become "realized" in the Library of Babel.  

This idea that everything already exists is so... crippling.  Words such as original, creative and new would all be useless and obsolete.  I would still like to believe in the fact that there are new things being created all the time and the possibilities to only increase as we continue to advance.  To believe otherwise would be such a depressing outlook... What would be the point of life if you manage to create something new only to know that it has already pre-existed prior to your discovery/creation/invention?  I don't mean to represent the extreme opposite of Dennett's deterministic stance but rather a middle-ground of sorts (if that even exists).  I'd still like to believe in the ability to create something that is truly unique. Maybe it's because our culture praised us too often when we were young that we are all "special and unique" that I don't find this deterministic view too appealing.  Maybe I should simply accept Dennett's view and scrap this idea of originality.  Nah, it's much too attractive a concept to be thrown away.


mindyhuskins's picture

Not Crippling or Destructive, but Freeing

Too be honest, I think you are looking at this idea the wrong way. This idea is not supposed to be crippling, to me at least, it should be freeing, or simply just a fact. If we say, yes everything already exists in this Library of Babel, it does not mean that creativity is now out of the picture. The creative aspect of anything is the process of creating it. So to create something that "already exists" is does not take away from your creativity. No one knows everything that exists in the Library. Did people know of pasta before it was invented? No. Does that take away from the creativity and ingenuity that went into creating it? No. So why is that a problem? Thinking that everything already exists does not bother me. It just means that when someone creates something, we have simply discovered something we did not personally know. This idea to me is freeing, it takes away the pressure and the jealousy and envy that often comes with creativity. It enforces the process of creation and ingenuity rather than the final product. I think this is more important.

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