The library is fifty-seven floors. Each floor has twenty-seven thousand books. There are two librarians and they do not speak common languages. They speak a compilation, indeed it is an entire catalogue, of languages and their variants learned from patterns in knowledge dispersal as best evidenced between levels Sixteen and Forty-One. Levels above forty-one are mathematical in theory but generally border on existential Marxism—which, evidently, is an elaborate form of post-conceptual materialism. There is one entrance to the library and there is one exit to the library. There is no elevator in the library and it is exceedingly difficult to locate the stairs. The examination to enter the first floor and then proceed into the adjoining stacks (complete with common learning theory, common exploitation techniques, etc) is simple in presentation and requires minimal empirical discourse. Librarian one—her actual self-imposed label has matured into a rather odd combination of Freudian sculpture and Copernican absolutism (spheres and whatnot)—administers the examination according to appointment and general appearance. While the further stretches of the rabid pursuit of idea and imagination demand complete absence and discipline and abstinence (for the perfected route into a reckless and horrific unknown), the commencement indicates a pleasant demeanor and a likeness to predecessors. Librarian one responds encouragingly and without question to those appropriately perceived. Perhaps due to her refusal to engage in common language, and her insistence that it is embarrassingly poor in conception and inadequately detailed to effectively pursue the greatest effort of any grand collection. [….. However insightful the above tangent may appear, all hypotheses have been extrapolated from theoretical conjecture. Any progress to dissect and decode the librarian language has successfully failed…..] The initial examination, thereby, is rarely physically administered due to its “Magnetic Navigation Identity”: those with attraction are ushered past the rolling gates and onto the first floor of the library.
From the distance it is clearly a building. It is clearly fifty-seven floors and it is complete with windows and visible stairwells behind tinted windows. The color of the building is gray but it is not depressing. The library is surrounded by gardens and trees and animals and children playing jump rope and other types of children games. On the inside, it is a place of immaculate chaos. The shelves and the rows are neatly kept. There are numbers on the bindings of books but there is no visible system. The pursuit of perfected knowledge is not a choice, is not a recognizable skill, is not an asset to the community.
I am nothing without the gift of transcendence and without the knowledge of perfection of absolutes and of observance in accordance with the great spirit of survival. And in this nothing that I continue to pursue I am a little too often consumed by the ephemeral dissonance of no man speak. There is no knowledge in just the knowledge of it.
And yet, I do not understand it.
Later, as the evening turns into the softer night, the quieter night, I am locked once again, beside Library one. She is counting, I believe. And there is a subtle hum of the electrical lights and the soft pattering of feet, maybe even Eskimo feet, up the rows of absolute harmony and the difference between the outside, the external world of expedition and the internal world of expedition begins to bleed and become, ever slightly, only an imagination deprived of chaos, challenge, and drowning. I am not afraid of drowning, I whisper, only whisper, but it is too much and I have taken in too much water and I am dead.
But, at least, for a moment, I was yet fearless, cocooned inside the institution where even the inhabitants do not waste breath.