By Hakim Jadun
The study of physics is one of the most intellectually profitable fields, giving mankind insight into unseen realms, both practical and metaphysical. An understanding of physics can enrich and fertilize the mind with a greater understanding of the world as it is. It is unfortunate, then, that many of those with a, shall we say, mystical inclination choose to ignore the study of natural philosophy entirely. While one need only look around to realize that there exist certain phenomenon which are inexplicable to modern science, key principles from the natural world can be used as analogues to further our understanding of the seemingly supernatural.
Take, for example, the law of the conservation of mass. Stated simply, it is impossible to destroy matter1. Matter may be rearranged, it may be moved, but at the end of the day, it will still be the same amount. For example, if I burn a one-of-a-kind book, the pages catch fire and are quickly reduced to ash. The physical properties of the book are irrevocably changed, but the matter is still there, albeit in a different and useless form. However, what happens to the essence, the knowledge, contained within the book? Does it simply vanish into the aether?
Several noted philosophers (al-Aswad, 48, 943 and Tokaryev, 553, 1946) have suggested that ideas are capable of exerting physical force. This has been used to explain everything from poltergeists (O'Sullivan, 78, 1893) to feelings of physical ecstasy at religious meetings (Matković, 92, 1987). If it is true that ideas are capable of acting upon matter, then does it not follow that ideas must follow the same basic principles as matter, including their inherent indestructibility? However, when a book is destroyed, its essence does not immediately remanifest itself on Earth. Were this the case, there would be no need to speculate as to the contents of Margites or Love's Labour's Won. If not Earth, where does the idea behind the book go? To the Library.
The Library is a repository of every book ever destroyed, both in our world and elsewhere. Let me be clear: I do not suggest that every copy of every book destroyed is made anew in the Library. Were this the case, the Library would have to be many thousand times larger just to accommodate all of the books that schoolchildren have destroyed. Instead, the Library is a repository of the information held within the book2. Thus, we have every single Mayan codex, the earliest writings of the Gospels as well as the subsequent pseudepigrapha, the stories of hunters and travelers long forgotten by the rest of the world, their works relegated to the fire or the slow death by silverfish3.
While this is only a theory and the truth may never be known, I do have one piece of evidence that I feel compelling enough to include: the Library has been growing. One of the earliest descriptions of the Library (presumably written here rather than destroyed in another world) gives the time from one end of the Library to the other as being "no more than two hours' walk" (Syraneres, 13, c. 5th century CE). A journey from one end to the next takes now at least a half day. With the advent of the printing press and the personal computer, one marvels that it is not many times that!
As a closing thought, the possibility that the stories and thoughts contained within books and writings make their way to the Library when they "die" offers a compelling explanation to the existence of portals. When the essence of a book makes its way to the Library, it bores from our reality to that of the Library, leaving behind a small "hole" to this realm. When a sufficient number of books are destroyed in a spot, the "tunnel" becomes sufficiently enlarged that a human being can traverse it. While I have no concrete proof, the rather dramatic circumstances of my arrival at the Library, filled as it was with the destruction of many unique books, suggests that there is some substance to my argument.
- al-Aswad, Nasih Abdul-Wali ibn-Abdullah A Discourse On The Nature of Human Thought trans. Julius Thompson (1847). 943
- Tokaryev, Yusuf Mind And Matter. Soviet Philosophical Publishing House, 1946
- O'Sullivan, Harold F.S. An Investigation Into Folk Superstitions of Eastern Peru. Yale University Press, 1893
- Matković, Sonja Physiology, Thought, and Religious Ecstasy: A Look At Southern Fifthist Tent Meetings. American Anthropological Association, 1997.
- Syraneres, Konstantinos Ti̱s paramoní̱s mou sto Vivliothí̱ki̱ (My Time In The Library). c. 5th century CE