The Library of Babel – FLNWO #27

06/16/201526 Comments

babelsquareThe universe is the internet is the library is the internet is the universe. Or is it? And if so, who are the librarians? And if we have all the information we can ever want, does that mean we have knowledge or wisdom? If not, how do we make it? Or who will make it for us? Join James this month for a Film, Literature and the New World Order examination of “The Library of Babel” by Jorge Luis Borges.

For a reading of this story by James Corbett, CLICK HERE.

For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).

SHOW NOTES:

“The Library of Babel” – Text / Audio

Analysis: What’s Up With the Epigraph?

The Story of Google’s Success

Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

Just Be Evil: The unauthorized history of Google

How the CIA made Google

Does Google Spy On You?

Corbett Report Radio 208 – Solutions: Hacking the Matrix

“Between Two Ages” by Zbigniew Brzezinski

Last month’s episode and comments: Brazil – FLNWO #26

Next month: Daredevil

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  1. Corbett says:

    Let me kick things off here with an interesting supplemental read:

    http://james.grimmelmann.net/files/Library.markdown

    What do people think of the ideas here? Specifically the 10 points listed under “Part 3: The Internet”? I think point 10 is especially interesting given the rise of alternative and privacy-protecting search engines these days. Is this the way forward for cataloging the modern Library of Babel?

    • Octium says:

      We could take point 10 “The more search engines the better” to its logical extreme and have everyone setup their own search engines which share results with everyone else.

      The obvious problem with that idea is that the average person does not have the same resources as a corporation like Google.

      However there is at least one open source solution called YaCy that implements a peer to peer distributed search engine of which your computer becomes part of once you install the application :-

      http://yacy.net

      I would not say that it passes the competency test as “Book-Man” yet, however the concept looks promising and it should improve if more people participate.

  2. Jason says:

    I needed to cool off my brain after this one.

    What if the universe we live in is also ‘filtered’ by some existential algorithm(s) ?

    Great FLNWO James!

  3. JM says:

    Hi James,

    There is a natural, beautiful set of answers to the questions you posed in this exuberant piece on The Library of Babel. Once you get it, the political implications become very powerful indeed.

    Start with this documentary entitled “The Animal Communicator”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfP-XBUbMvs

    Anna Breytenbach talks not only to land animals but insects and sea mammals. She “talks” to plants. The give her very specific verifiable information. How?

    1) She quiets her mind, (detaching from the “Helgelian Dialectic”)
    2) Sets her intention (The intrinsic Search Engine) and
    3) Moves into a place of respect for the consciousness she will meet (Voluntary Engagement).

    She has a lot of stuff on the internet. I wish you could interview her. The political implications of inter species communications are staggering. She has “deconstructed” the matrix of fear/aggression and control that is has been so careful embedded in all of us.

    The same process was discussed by John Upledger who wrote a book called “Cell Talk”. He discovered that by quieting the mind, setting his intention and adopting a deeply respectful energetic stance he could talk to individual organ systems in the body. This is not metaphorical, it is literal. The organs and cells would share information, discuss ways to improve health and implement solutions. Here’s a funny but instructive story that demonstrates the complexity of intelligence, historical connections and emotional responsiveness contained within the facets of our own body consciousness.

    http://www.upledger.com/pdf/cs0905.pdf

    We see it again with remote viewing. Quieting the mind, setting an intention and adopting a neutral observing stance. All documented and yes (sigh) misused by the black ops military.

    http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/08/09/scientists-observe-man-travel-out-of-his-body-and-into-space-what-he-saw-was-remarkable/comment-page-1/

    Finally this ability to move into the quantum field is not limited to communication or obtaining information but can actually be utilized to sustain our physical form. This last link is a classic that describes how ordinary people, non yogis or saints, are experiencing something quite remarkable.

    http://www.amazon.com/Life-Light-possible-scientist-experiences-ebook/dp/B008JEAPJ0

    He would be another wonderful interview. How does your political stance change when you no longer need to eat? Another fundamental paradigm shift, unimaginable to us but there it is described over and over again.

    So The Library of Babel was gesturing towards something far closer to hand and a great deal more wonderful.

  4. fgarciagonzalo says:

    Hi James,

    In case you find it interesting, here is a clip of Jorge Luis Borges from an interview in Spanish TV in 1976 where he stated his political views as:

    “I am certainly not a nationalist, a peronist or a communist. Let’s just say I am an individual, a modest anarchist in the Spencer tradition. I believe in the individual, not the state.”

    http://youtu.be/CJgn1Y55I2s

    This was recently published by miseshispano.org, the same website that has also published my Spanish translations of your Fed documentary and your three newsletter articles on anarchism:

    http://www.miseshispano.org/articulos/?auth=James+Corbett
    http://youtu.be/qu10wtEo4Pc

    Thanks once more for another great podcast.

    All the best,

    Francesc

    • rockshot says:

      You translated the FED video into Spanish? Wow I thought about doing that for a second! Too much of a “task” for me! Did you read it or is all in transcript form?

      Thank you for leaving the link to it, since I am dying to hear it in Spanish. I think that I have listened to it 4 times already in English and there still are parts that I don’t understand completely.

      When he first unveiled it, all I could think of that it is too long and detailed and will not get much readership. I also think that it is more complicated than it needs to be, but it is a definitive work.

      The guy in Geneva, that he used to interview often, Dave White(?)made the same remark to James days after publishing it.

      So after last weekend my physical therapist asked me what happened in Greece. You would think that a physical therapist would have at least average intelligence, right? So I asked him if he knew what “Usury” and “Odious Debt” were, since he did not know what either term was at all, I told him to look up both terms and that is basically what happened in Greece, if I had to sum it up in a sentence. The people of Greece reject the “odious debt” derived through “usury” and fraud. Would you say that is a fair summary?

      So James might have been burned out after working 7-8 months under deadline on the FED VID, but he did NOT want to do a shorter and simpler version, and still has not as far as I know.

      I think that if more people were aware of what happened in Greece the rest of the world would not be dreading the inevitable here. Wouldn’t that be great???

      Thanks again for doing those translations!!! I really hope that I can find them with the link you left, and I wonder why James didn’t post the Spanish versions here somewhere on his site?

      Somebody translated Ry Dawson’s “War by Deception” into French and he posted on his site, I mean, WHY NOT? Information like this hits everybody, why not pass it along?

  5. candideschmyles says:

    Thoroughly enjoyable podcast. Personally the first avenue of thought the Library of Babel induces in me leads me to Boltzmann, Cantor and into Einstein’s field equations before finishing up drifting pickled somewhere in a multidimensional anti de Sitter space. I just love playing with mental vortex of very large numbers and infinities.
    However the fiducial point here is control of and distribution of information of value. Algorithmically tailored search results are the realised dream of any entity wishing to control the thought processes of whole populations. The ability to spoon feed people every byte in a systematic and life long indoctrination cooked exactly to their own particular taste is a supreme power of itself. When you realise that key players in US political strategy have full control of Google then it can in no way, shape or form be considered a benign set of algorithms. From Julian Assange… https://wikileaks.org/google-is-not-what-it-seems/

  6. dr.thrumpkinz says:

    This story reminds me of the Laughing Man.

  7. dr.thrumpkinz says:

    Seriously, Brazil has a happy ending? Tuttle dies in a torture chair.

  8. william_york says:

    Thanks so much for covering Borges. His ability to write these short stories and essays that contain enough ideas to fill novels is awe-inspiring. Some of my other favorites are “Pierre Menard,” “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” and the very brief (even by Borges’s standards) “On Exactitude in Science” (https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=On_Exactitude_in_Science).

    (One can trace a direct line from “On Exactitude…” to Baudrillard’s writings on simulacra and simulations and on through to The Matrix, but that’s just one thread.)

    Also, I would recommend Stanislaw Lem’s book A Perfect Vacuum to anyone who enjoyed “The Library of Babel.” While Lem is labeled as a science-fiction writer, he wrote some very Borgesian short stories (many of them masquerading as non-fiction essays, including reviews of nonexistent books). There is a similar density of ideas at work. Lem also wrote about the theme of information overload and the sort of overwhelming, almost nightmarish consequences it can have. “Pericalypsis” (which is an A Perfect Vacuum) is one of many examples.

    Anyway, this was a really interesting episode that drew a lot of insightful connections.

  9. nosoapradio says:

    For what it’s worth, my humble and unsatisfying reflections on this hall of mirrors and the burning interogations reflected therein:

    This narrative is the reflection of a reflection of a reality: The written reflection of a reflection in the form of a metaphore supposedly for the universe.

    And still, once more removed, this narrative being on this comment board an analogy for the internet.

    But the internet is not the universe.

    At best, humans, as a reflection of the universe, have created a reflection of the universe in the internet.

    The lost librarians committing suicide in Borges’ narrative are doing so probably because they are trapped in a universe of coded information based on 25 characters which is a human construct. So they are trapped in their fascination for a reflection of themselves which is ultimately hexagonal, dimly lit, disorganized and fatally unsatisfying. Each possible solution for making sense of this chaotic information, in turn engenders an infinate number of obstacles.

    On a more practical level and more pertinent to the question at hand on the accessibility of information on the internet;

    If the book-man is google as suggested by Grimmelmann:

    “In the Library of Babel, the Book-Man is but a “superstition,” but on the Internet, his name is Google.”

    and the public interest is the readers’ interest

    the book-man must manage the question “is the readers’ interest in the public interest?”

    the book-man must manage the reality that at least one of the readers’ access to the information he seeks may not be in the public interest; if, for example this reader plans to create a death machine and the means to exploit it that would annihilate humanity and the library as well for that matter.

    Is generalized access to information safer than the controlled access of a single book-man?

    If being trapped in the library of human construct leads to suicide and pulmonary disorders might not limited access be more conducive to human well-being?

    • nosoapradio says:

      Err, umm, having said that, if indeed the book-man is controlled by psychopaths, and psychopaths are bad for humanity, and if the general population inclined to create alternative and privacy-protecting search engines represents a lower percentage of psychopathy, then the answer to the apparently framed question;

      “Is this the way forward for cataloging the modern Library of Babel?”

      would seem to be yes…

      ?

      mine can only be a reflection of relative ignorance…

      but, um, thanks for asking!

    • nosoapradio says:

      Erratum: At least one example of faulty reasoning in my comment:

      “If being trapped in the library of human construct leads to suicide and pulmonary disorders might not limited access be more conducive to human well-being?”

      Borges’ librarians are trapped in the uncoded, “no-book-man” library whereas a book-man internet could be quite different and not engender such evils.

      However every new answer engenders new questions a so it goes down the endless spiral staircase propulsed forward by necessity and desire…

  10. rockshot says:

    Love the story and loved your choice this month.
    Anybody who is intrigued by it or not, should also be reminded that this Jorge Luis Borges is a product of a “third world country” and by extension this is the result of a horrid educational system and cultural wasteland. I don’t know his educational background, but I encourage everybody to reconsider what Putin aptly called “American Exceptionalism”.
    Does anybody know of any studies that pits the intellect of any American high school student vs. any student from of a third world country? A true scientific study, following scientific method and protocol, might even shock me.
    This story reminds me of the work of Octavio Paz and maybe Cervantes. The latter wrote “Man of La Mancha”, NOT the ridiculous cartoon version popular in the 60’s. That version is based on the original like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is “based on”, “Romeo and Juliet”.
    Good translations of both Octavio Paz and Cervantes are available. Since these writers are so powerful, not much is lost in translation.
    Enjoy!
    P.S. Thank you again James, I have never even heard of Gorge Luis Borges. TRUTH!

  11. stevekelly911 says:

    Very interesting literary piece that I had never heard of … and quite impressively dense as you articulated James.

    This actually gets to the heart of deliberate technocratic social engineering, and how the Library of Babel, can become a customized and tailored prison for each individual mind. Kind of like a ‘you are what you eat’ scenario, where your favorite food is deliberately fed to you, and an algorithm works out the most effective route possible to get you psychologically from point-A to point-Z, by introducing 5% new and different forbidden fruit, that it attempts to tempt you with through profiling. Point-Z is point Zombie, where you are disengaged from politics and immersed into pure materialism, or cultish behavior such as the ‘Climate Action’ protestors, who laugh at you when you ask them what a Carbon Derivative is.

    It all reminds me of the theory that *cognitive overload* needs to be used first, in order to brainwash an MK Ultra subject, and then once a subject switches off their own reasoning logic because it has been no benefit to them, they are then put into second stage, which is *obsession programming*, which holds them ‘gravitationally’ in a false reality with a new core self-identity.

    ie,
    STAGE 1] Place the subject through a month or two of sleep deprived sessions, where they have to answer questions correctly in order to avoid a certain form of torture, start off in an orderly fashion, and then slowly make the tasks impossible and absurd, to the point where they reach learned helplessness. This turns off the individual logical reasoning of the person, as they then learn it is no good to them.

    STAGE 2] Then place the subject into a hyper repetitive routine of obsession, such as making them watch Alice in Wonderland 7 times a day for a month or two, whilst still sleep depriving them, and slowly adding more sleep. [Drugs come in here naturally]. The symbolism in the movie can then be attached to ‘trigger training’ for specific trained tasks … ie, when you see the woman in the purple and white polk-a-dot dress, take out the gun in your left pocket and approach the person you have trained to be obsessed about (the sharp shooters will do the actual job, you’re just the prop).

    In the modern world perhaps, it is replicated in a more slow motion and subconscious fashion as follows, with the internet and MSM being the theater, or perhaps Colosseum is a better word;

    STAGE 1] The Punch-and-Judy LEFT-RIGHT political dichotomy, is the cognitive overload mechanism, to create a political theater so absurd and confusing, that the average person decides they have no purpose in engaging in politics. The person can see no reasonable middle ground with which to engage in, because the corpora-sociopathocracy have captured – and fund – both sides of the punch&judy (Bush vs Clinton etc… de ja vous) show, making it a full spectrum dominance that drowns out any middle ground. (Both left and right are pro-TPP, but argue over gay marriage or ‘male privilege’ by design) The Cold War is also a great example: Either you’re a Commie, or a Fascist, but aren’t you glad you aren’t a Commie? Or, You’re either ‘with us’ (perpetual war to control the MENA and petro-dollar complex), ‘or you’re against us’ (terrorist or a terror inciter known as a ‘conspiracy theorist’). To hold middle ground starts to feel like such an unrealistic and helpless position, that most people either choose a side and waste their resources feeding the problem, and/or they immerse themselves in STAGE 2.

    STAGE 2] The individual, disengaged with any democratic process, disengages totally or almost totally, and otherwise passes their time willingly in entertainment obsessions like overindulgence in sport, movies, music, and of course video games, and as such only becomes receptive to the philosophies expressed by these highly suggestive mediums … which are of course controlled also by the corpora-sociopathocracy. ie, half-time shows with patriotic flag waving and pledges of allegiance, mixed with recruiting drives for the military (which only now enforce corporate ‘True Will’ overseas). ie, Lady GaGa and full-on satanic memes, which destroy the family unit and literally create male and female whores (trendy though!)… and other such Pavlovian sheepfolds that the Tavistock Institute is funded to create.

    And then because these people are so disengaged with politics, if they are shown a picture of WTC Building 7 collapsing free-fall, they are trained to disengage with political subjects, and to parrot popular memes … the most popular one being that ‘conspiracy theorists’ are ‘different’, and thus incompatible with the Left or Right paradigm, or the ‘trained obsession’ where trendyness cannot tolerate serious minded people, thus they are to be treated as having leprosy and excluded, or even persecuted as a danger to the social fabric.

    The “Library of Babel” should perhaps have been called the “Libraries of Babel”, with the subtitle “Pick your ‘own’ path from cognitive overload, to Point-Zombie”.

    On another note, I learned to utilize proxy servers a long time ago, but it makes me wonder whether the majority of proxy servers (ie, free ones), aren’t actually seed-funded and controlled by DARPA just like Google was, to make you feel like you are shrouding your identity tagging info, when in fact it is just being passed through to Google by the server anyway, (or deliberately available through a backdoor and fed directly to the NSA/Google; no difference really). There’s no fool like the fool who thinks he’s outsmarted the wise man, but is actually being fooled into thinking he is wise!

    Could IX-Quick be Google 2.0, created for those annoying minority of people who need to be fooled into thinking they are wiser than the majority fool? Or am I just paranoid? LOL! On that note, I get much better answers to my questions asking Google directly, instead of IX-Quick – the algo works too well – so it makes me gravitate towards the algorithm like its an event horizon … resist … resist … oh, just this one time! Which turns into every time until Google is just another member of the family affectionately called Algobro.

    • iiYd says:

      …Kind of like a ‘you are what you eat’ scenario, where your favorite food is deliberately fed to you, and an algorithm works out the most effective route possible to get you psychologically from point-A to point-Z, by introducing 5% new and different forbidden fruit, that it attempts to tempt you with through profiling. Point-Z is point Zombie, where you are disengaged from politics and immersed into pure materialism, or cultish behavior such as the ‘Climate Action’ protestors, who laugh at you when you ask them what a Carbon Derivative is.

      I think youtube might be employing a similar algorithm as we speak.

  12. nicole.van.os says:

    I imagine not many readers use Chrome but I found this at We Are Change:

    Got Chrome? Google Just Silently Downloaded This Onto Your Computer

    http://wearechange.org/got-chrome-google-just-silently-downloaded-this-onto-your-computer/

    Goes to show
    Keep up the good work. Reinier

  13. Phillip says:

    My admittedly post hoc analysis (especially in the case of my 2nd point):

    1. The 6-sided room is the benzene ring
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzene
    which is symbolic of Earth’s carbon-based life forms.

    2. The books, with their systematically inscribed but generally incomprehensible text is our DNA and the DNA of all other living things. Some books (like cells of our bodies) may be destroyed, but the DNA itself lives on in other books/cells.

    The books with repeated text of only 3 characters could be “junk” DNA.

  14. dr.thrumpkinz says:

    I tried to watch the Daredevil series, alas its suckiness prevented me from completing it. That ginger Deborah Ann Woll couldn’t even hold my attention, which is saying a lot. However, while on the topic of TV Series, there is another which I feel people ought to pay attention to… Mr Robot. I must admit, I quite like watching it. A cross, I might describe as somewhere in between Fight Club and The Social Network. It is absolutely rife with predictive programming concerning some type of Internet False Flag. The premise seeks to merge Hackers and other non-violent groups with Terrorist bombers; even invoking the term “Hacker Bomber” several times already. I say already because at the time that I wrote this the series is only three in, and it is already deeply concerning. “fsociety” a Hacker Group set on dismantling the corporate/economic empire of “Evil Corp”, and attempts to make the ludicrous justification of indiscriminate killing to do so. Perhaps most disturbing though, is the pop-up dialog requesting viewers take an online quiz entitled “Do you have what it takes to join fsociety?” The implications of which are truly frightening.

  15. herrqlys says:

    From an older source (2012) about Facebook’s IPO (so some of the statistics are outdated now, 5 years later) is a an article that resonated with me then, and still does:

    “But what exactly makes Facebook so valuable?”
    “You. Its users. Or more specifically, its users’ stuff.”
    “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

    https://www.thenation.com/article/secret-facebooks-ipo-value/

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