RUMINATIONS ON THE HEXAGON
The hexagon is of equal balance and proportion, and its six faces are in perfect alignment with the center of its energy, which is known in the esoteric circles as “the seventh key.” Its malcontented offspring, the hexagram, derived from the Greek word for six and also from the old Germanic word hexe, meaning witch, spans the heights of heaven and the depths of hell, and everything in between is contained within its body. It is here where we begin with the Library of Babel, the hive that carries all the possibilities of language within its interlocking hexagons that rise up beyond where the eye can see, where its omega point can only be logically deduced to a finite number but appears infinite in its physical manifestation as a library. Sunlight passes through the central shafts through an opening the shape of a hexagon, and once it crosses this threshold, its rays redistribute and filter through the meticulously dusted rows of bookshelves. The library is an embodiment of order because there is both a beginning and end point from which each particle of knowledge can be assigned a value and categorized within a range that knows no negative numbers because, put simply, it’s the “what we don’t know that we don’t know” and thus it would have to be known, or at least known that it is unknown, in order to integrate into the collection of possibilities contained within the library walls.
“From all these incontrovertible premises he deduced that the Library is total and that its shelves contain all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographic symbols (whose number, though vast, is not infinite);” – Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel, 1941.
And in this sense, the finiteness of the library is tied to the human mind because language rose from thought and was assessed a value when it took the form of a character, or a single letter, and so on. And while thought and the imagination rise endlessly, its expression is still a sacrifice and the symbol, like Christ, came into the world as a mediator between the real and the non-real, the alpha and the omega. The Library attains the perfection of balance, indicated by the weight of all the symbols stacked high so to appear deceptively infinite, and it is the weight of its realness that the symmetry of the hexagons harmoniously distribute and support, and upon which all things rest. The number one, the first positive value conjured as a single mark, is the means in which the primes two and three are built upon, thus making the hexagon possible. The unifying element surrounding and incorporating these hexagons and their interlocking passages is the single structure of the library as a living organism of knowledge. And all the different combinations of letters and symbols filter through the various systems much in the way nourishment passes through the body. And the passageways represent the means in which this system is interconnected and weaves through all the different combinations of novels and essays rearranged and refigured to their utmost capacity, and in their captivity their destiny is imposed upon them much like the way that this single source of light expands across the library’s many levels after it has been freed from the constraints of the central shafts. Different colors and temperatures of light pass across the shelves and books appear one color in the morning and another towards evening. Entire shelves fall into a certain shade of bluish green at certain hours of the afternoon when the sky is lacquered with clouds and a storm system is due to make landfall. And the towers of hexagons interchange various tones according to the temperature of light accorded to us all and shared amongst all the people passing through them.
“And we see, in these beginnings, precisely what Symbolism in literature really is: a form of expression, at the best but approximate, essentially but arbitrary, until it has obtained the force of a convention, for an unseen reality apprehended by the consciousness. It is sometimes permitted to us to hope that our convention is indeed the reflection rather than merely the sign of that unseen reality. We have done so much if we have found a recognizable symbol.” – Arthur Symons, The Symbolist Movement in Literature, 1908.