Analysis and Interpretation – the Nine Billion Names of God

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Analysis and interpretation – The Nine Billion Names of God

In 1953 Arthur C. Clarke wrote “The Nine Billion Names of God”. This is a science fictive short story where we meet a group of lamas who wants to write the nine billion names of God. Atypically, the lamas will not use the ‘normal’ alphabet; but their own alphabet where they have invented and written in their holy books. In over three centuries they have been typing these names down, and it would take another fifteen thousand years for them to complete the chore. Therefore, they purchase a special computer, Mark V, from a company, which can calculate and write all the letters down. Compared to the fifteen thousand years the
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It seems like he sees them as too ‘stupid’ to be able to handle this equipment. He believes that science is greater than religion. He cannot really see the purpose of this task either, but asks the lama anyway and for a second he wonders whether he has offended him. On the other hand, we have the lama who believes that these religious thoughts go far beyond the science world. He knows that the scientists are narrow-minded and do not believe in a world of religion. ”It is somewhat alien your way of thought, so I hope you will listen with an open mind while I explain it.”
Later on in the conversation, the lama talks about this computer eliminating ridiculous combinations. ”For example, no letter must occur more than three times in succession. Three? Surely you mean two. Three is correct: I am afraid it would take too long to explain why, even if you understood our language.”
The lama knows that he will not understand their view at life and so does the scientist. The barrier between these two worlds are simply too excessive. But the lama has come to do business and he hires two engineers to come along to make sure the computer works as intended.

When Chuck tells George the crazy news regarding the monks’ intention with the nine billion names, their scientist brains simply can’t find a reasonable explanation for
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