Too Many Books on the Dance Floor: Borges, Arendt, and Ortega y Gasset on the Onslaught of Information

By Justin Pack.

Published by The International Journal of Books, Publishing, and Libraries

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 23, 2015 $US5.00

All three thinkers (Jorge Luis Borges, Hannah Arendt, and José Ortega y Gasset) worry about the seemingly infinite increase in information and knowledge. This increase has outstripped the ability of humans to sort through all this information. They worry this may produce fragmentation, cacophony, and nihilism. I examine the thinking of each and attempt to establish the need to take more seriously the ethical problems of information production. I begin with Borges’ images of humanity lost in libraries and labyrinths. I then turn to Arendt’s discussion of the “onslaught of the new.” I finish with Ortega y Gasset’s discussion of the mission of the librarian. Taken together, these thinkers point to a set of key difficulties that arise with the exponential production of books and information which are currently rarely appreciated.

Keywords: Borges, Arendt, Ortega y Gasset, Production, Books, Information

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 14, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.21-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 23, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 608.721KB)).

Justin Pack

Ph.D. Candidate, Philosophy, University of Oregon, Eugene, Or, USA