The Infinite Web

From the short story of Jorge Luis Borges’ “Book of Sand,” there is an ancient book with no beginning and has no end. The narrator discovers this simple-looking book contains endless volumes of information that was good and evil.

“I realized that the book was monstrous. It was cold consolation to think that I, who looked upon it with my ten flesh-and-bone fingers, was no less monstrous than the book. I felt it was a nightmare thing, an obscene thing, and that it defiled and corrupted reality. I considered fire, but I feared that the burning of an infinite book might be similarly infinite, and suffocate the planet in smoke.”

He quickly deposits the terrifying, infinite book to the National Library and vows never to go to a library or bookstore again.

It’s strange to me to think that we open our very own Books of Sand every day without thinking of the consequences. The sheer infinite volume of the WWW is too difficult to imagine. It is our nightmare and distorts our reality. Like all tools, it can be used for good, but we humans do a frightening job of perverting even the best intentions.