Do the texts in the library exist before they're read ?

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  • #7125 Reply


    I was pondering if, and where, we can consider the texts in the library to exist, before someone reads them.

    I’m still stuck on the thought that it’s all here, but inaccessible and for all purposes inexistant until we stumble upon them or we look for it using the search engine (but then we’re creating them as we type or copying it from a previous creation: they existed before). The amount of “new” text humanity as a whole will ever see is equal to zero statistically .

    Are they real or possible or some hybrid of the two ?

    Can we consider that they kind of all exist from a “physical” , absolute point of view, somewhere at least, just like a lot of things exist somewhere in space and time that no human being will ever personally know about ?

    Or do they exist from a “possible” point of view ? But then, what doesn’t ? Are we creating reality by experiencing and/or theorising it ? Is reality just one path in a maze of possibles ? Is everything that is possible real ?


    #7289 Reply


    All I know is that it’s math, the website uses a calculation/algorithm that made sure all the combinations are possible, in a predetermined sense. The location of what you search is the same before and after you searched for it

    #7497 Reply


    The answer is yes, if it hasn’t been discovered it does exist before it was. There is no order to the books though. It randomly throws around stuff, but none of it moves, so it’s ordered in the “Bablical” way.

    #7548 Reply


    And did they existed before Jonathan wrote the algorithm ? Is it what pushed them from “possible” into “existing” ?

    Do their possibles interpretations exist too ? What about texts in languages yet to appear ? What about texts in languages no living human speaks anymore ? (Because the library sure is brim full of those too)

    What about movies ? Combining the text library and pictures library you can theoretically get the …how do you call it…screenboard ? To every possible movie ever ? So do they all exist now ?

    #7861 Reply


    Isn’t that essentially the Shrodingers Cat theory? That when it isn’t viewed is both dead and alive? Or in this case, it exists and doesn’t exist at the same time.

    #7992 Reply


    Very good point ! I would normally have a problem with “beholder-based physics” but then maybe information doesn’t exists by the usual physic laws. Maybe information exists only when seen,read,transmitted. In a space not directly dependant on atoms and stuff but on meta-arrangement of electrical currents in brains and their ripples in consciousnesses.

    #8350 Reply


    I like the idea of this site but there is surely absolutely no way of knowing for sure that the text you search for existed on it previously. Given the massive amount of data supposedly stored, the search function is suspiciously fast. How can you prove that the text searched for was there before you searched for it and the site doesn’t in fact just paste your search terms into a few pages surrounded by auto-generated random text? Also why is it that whenever I search for some sensible text, it’s always shown on a page filled with nonsense? Why should a page of nonsense suddenly start to make sense in the middle for like 10 lines and then trail off into nonsense again? Forgive my cynicism, but it seems like the site could be one of those con tricks that show you what you wanted to see…

    #8482 Reply


    That’s the beauty of the Library of Babel. Essentially, the entirety of all written language using a base set of characters is forever written in place, with text describing text describing text and so forth. The fact that this is forever going explains why there may be text that makes sense in one sentence, and one sentence only, in that entire volume for that entire row of that entire wall for that entire hexagon for the entirety of the library.

    I can understand where you’re coming from. It’s an odd feeling, searching for something and finding it on the wall. To be honest, if I could find myself in the book, my entire life written, it would be astounding. Then again, I can’t search for that without knowing what my life holds. If I could, I wouldn’t need the library in the first place.

    #8890 Reply


    Well, there is no line to define the ‘possible’ from the ‘existing’ in this case, Casserol. This isn’t a reality where things exist, or even have the potential to. When it comes to digital media there’s no existence—just information. But the short answer is yes, according to my ‘bablical order’ theory, here’s the long answer/explanation. The algorithm can’t check what it’s already written as it generates, this would require a large cache of memory or storage, the library would also still need to go through every book and page to make sure that the book it’s writing isn’t a copy, that would be very inefficient. The library already knows what it has written. This is because it hadn’t just generated the book, but it rather wrote it and verified it beforehand. But the catch is that it also hasn’t saved the book either. The library only knows which page the information is on, which the book the page is in, which wall has the book and which hex that wall belongs to. It will continue re–creating that page over and over until someone bookmarks the page, which generates a specific URL or the page. This is how I understand the library; it’s complicated — and I could be very wrong — but it’s how I can process what goes on when the library make the pages and books. It’s all based on the placement of the information, not the information itself.

    #10780 Reply


    That depends, if you are asking if a combination is there before looking it up, then yes it is. You just most likely wont find it. It’s probably never been read, it works because the amount of books in there is almost infinite, they all have random combinations of letters, eventually it will start forming sentences. Like the theory of the monkey on the typewriter.

    if your question is based on the riddle “If a tree falls over in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” then the answer is based on whoever answers it. My answer is Yes. The text is there, but no one knows about it. (Some people might say it’s unanswerable, but in my opinion it is, and the answer is yes.)

    I don’t know if that helps.

    #12006 Reply


    Yes, I am totally with you on the tree and sound thing. But a sound is a movement of air molecules, it is physical and measurable, it is real even if there’s no observer.

    Now, an….information ? Does it exists ? Where ? How ? What is the difference between a text written by a person , a text not (yet?) written before the library, and any text after the library ? Is there a change in how much real or/and possible they are and were ? What does that even mean ?

    #12045 Reply


    I view this debate as roughly analogous to the debate on whether or not math “exists”. Each page is basically a base 29 number.

    #12332 Reply

    Landree Allen


    #12333 Reply

    Landree Allen

    also main page -> theory -> grains of sand

    the algoithrm just takes your text and gives you the location

    all of mankind, dogkind, evolved overlord cat kind
    ‘s knowledge existed since the dawn of time

    and we discover it

    “Time is an illusion.” -2017

    #12334 Reply

    Landree Allen

    oh and why hasnt anyone made a book…

    where at the end its like:

    “location rungrufnruvrnfurc”

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