Jorge Luis BorgesHappy birthday, Jorge Louis Borges.The Argentinian writer was born June 14th, 1899, and would be 112 today if he were still around.

Borges is not Kafka, but there are certainly similarities in the way they both explore not just the outer reaches of thought but also the inner nooks and crannies of how we think.

He was a master of story-telling involving unreal reality, surrealism, and flights of philosophical fancy.

Many years ago, I stumbled upon Labyrinths, a compilation of some of his works. It was an utterly delicious feeling to have the mind stretched and squeezed and made into garish shapes like playdough in Borghes.

One of the stories that proved particularly haunting was a magician who created a son out of a dream, only to realize that he himself existed only in someone else’s dream. A conversation with the Austrian friend i stole the book from went as follows:

Him: And what should the magician have done differently had he known from the start he were part of someone else’s dream?

Me:….Er…? Despair? Rail against futility

Him: No. Live exactly as he did. It doesn’t matter what reality is, as long as it is real to you.

Me: !! The proverbial light bulb, etc. Ta boom, and indeed, Tish.

I leave you with some of Borges’ more memorable statements:

 

 

 

  • I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does. 
  • I foresee that man will resign himself each day to new abominations, and soon that only bandits and soldiers will be left. 
  • I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. 
  • I have known uncertainty: a state unknown to the Greeks. 
  • In general, every country has the language it deserves. 
  • In the order of literature, as in others, there is no act that is not the coronation of an infinite series of causes and the source of an infinite series of effects. 
  • Life and death have been lacking in my life. 
  • Life itself is a quotation. 
  • Like all writers, he measured the achievements of others by what they had accomplished, asking of them that they measure him by what he envisaged or planned.