Infinite Monkey Union by David LeBlanc “If an army of monkeys were strumming on typewriters they might write all the books of the British Museum.” -Arthur Eddington, 1928 “Everything would be in its blind volumes. Everything: the detailed history of the futre, Aeshylus’ The Egyptians, the exact number of times that the waters of he Ganges have reflected the flight of a falcon, the secret and true nature of Rome, the encyclopedia Novalis would have constructed, my dreams and half-dreams at dawn on August 14, 1934, the proof of Pierre Fermat’s theorem, the unwritten chapters of Edwin Drood, those same chapters translated into the language spoken by the Garmantes, the paradoxes Berkley invented concerning Time bu didn’t publish, Urizen’s books of iron, the prematures epiphanies of Stephen Dedalus, which would be meaningless before a cycle of a thousand years, the Gnostic Gospel of Basilides, the song the sirens sang, the complete catalog of the Library, the proof of the inaccuracy of that catalog. Everything: but for every sensible line or accurate fact there would be millions of meaningless cacophanies, verbal farragoes, and babblings. Everything: but all the generations of mankind could pass before the dizzying shelves - shelves that obliterate the day and on which chaos lies ever reward them with a tolerable page. -Jorge Luis Borges, 1939 L ike tendrils shooting from the mind of comical omniscience, the floors upon floors of monkeys typing turned in gentle spirals away from the central control desk through the various states of possibility towards the edge of pure chaos. Out there, where being and nonbeing coexisted and the Laws of Logic were mere suggestions, the monkeys shifted genomes rapidly, going from simple marmosets to blue monkeys to great apes and back again within the space of a breath. But this change of form did not slow down the work. The clack-clack-clacking of their dexterous digit and slapping fists proceeded. Amid the golden luminescence that Front Office provided, this persistent sound came in contrapuntal waves that occasionally provided rhythm and harmony. The infinity of monkeys had always been typing, with short rests, since the beginning, whenever that was. This was shift work; as a monkey stepped away, to eat some fruit or a wand of sugar bugs, to take a nap on the pillowy soft leaves of the mighty Morpheus Tree, to merrily fling a handful of poop against the wall of Being, where it would be funneled down to feed the trees, another would finish his meal, awaken, or run his hands through the Waters of Life to clean them, and take his place at the workstation. With an infinity of monkeys, there was never a gap in the typing. If you looked at it long enough, this too took on the appearance of intricate rhythm. Mike had looked at it long enough. His job involved nothing else. Front Office had titled him the Executive of Experimental Creation Division, but in practice he was little more than the monitor of an infinity of halls. The monkeys typed away without taking any notice of him. Their needs were provided by the automation of the Trees and Waters, spinning gracefully to their trapezoidal mulitiplicity of tasks without his management. Even disputes among the monkeys seemed to resolve themselves of their own accord. No action on his part was needed. All he did was watch. To describe him as bored would not express it. He passed boredom by aeons ago. Boredom was the dissonance between the expectation of action and the lack of action. That expectation could not survive the sheer passivity of his role. His mind no longer looked forward to a future point when he would be needed to do something, to draw forth his fiery will and drive it to the goals Front Office demanded. The tedium had drained even the memory of his will from him. Like a pearl in the mouth of an angry clam, perfect momentary awareness, total present consciousness, had seeped into every part of his mind. There was only the watching. There were only the monkeys, clacking away. A memo from Front Office sat on his desk. He did not recall when it had arrived. Perhaps it, like the monkeys and their typewriters, had always been there, and his noticing it now meant that the time to read it had arrived. Perhaps a lemur had dropped it off while he was watching the Morpheus Tree shift shape just as needed to let some weary monkey rest his bones.