10 Books in the Library of Babel
Paul M. Willenberg
While the first inclination might be to recognize the possibility of including as the ten most important books, those that tell of the future, the ultimate potential of life, the origins and dynamics of the universe, the search for these books is futile. First, they are nearly impossible to find. Second if they were found it would take away my reason for living. If I could not explore and find new things in the world, Why should I exist? Even though the quest for supreme understanding and knowledge may be futile, we still strive toward it. Whether our library consists of all human knowledge up to AD 500, up to 1995, up to 3000, it makes no difference. The questions are the same and the quest does not differ. Even if the human mind could comprehend and store all the possible permutations of thought and action (even more then Funes!), they would still be no closer to supreme understanding of intelligence. The essence of the paradox is between meaning and substance. It does not matter what books are in our library - ten, millions, all. We consciously strive toward the unattainable. Why? Because it gives us pleasure to feel we have gained a greater understanding, that we have enlarged our consciousness. Again, it does not matter from what sum total of permutations we start, the quest is the same. Thus, we strive toward greater consciousness because it makes us happy. We create meaning in our lives through the quest for awareness and understanding.