Monday, May 28, 2007
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing, was sometimes represented as a baboon.
- Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods 2.37 (tr. C.D. Yonge): "He who believes this may as well believe that if a great quantity of the one-and-twenty letters, composed either of gold or any other matter, were thrown upon the ground, they would fall into such order as legibly to form the Annals of Ennius. I doubt whether fortune could make a single verse of them."
- Montaigne, Apology for Raymond Sebond (tr. Donald M. Frame): "If the atoms have, by chance, formed so many sorts of figures, why have they never happened to meet to make a house, or a shoe? Why do we not believe likewise that an infinite number of Greek letters scattered about the place would be capable of forming the web of the Iliad?"