The Cosmic Diviner

Jorge Luis Borges

Posted in Uncategorized by Perra J on March 19, 2011

I never forget the first time I encountered Borges. It was in the early 80:s, I saw a paperback book in a store and just picked it up, it was named Doctor Brodie’s Report, written by some Borges I hadn’t heard about, and I read a quote of his on the backside of it (I translate from Swedish):

“I cannot stop writing. I’m writing neither for the few nor for the many. I’m writing when I consider it necessary. I’m trying to, as far it’s possible, not to meddle with what I’m writing, and while I do not keep a firm standpoint on e.g. ethical or political issues, I try not to let my opinions interfere with my writings.”

That made me buy the book, and I read it. It fascinated me but I didn’t know why. I could not quote some “brilliant” passage from it, or remember something I thought “well said”. The reading just left me with something. It felt like this man wasn’t from this planet, or from this dimension, like he was just looking at things from a totally different point of view and experienced a likewise different reality. He was above conflict, above ego.

Many years later, I saw another Borges in a bookstore. It was his “Ficciones” in Swedish translation and I immediately bought what I now must consider the most mesmerizing book ever written. And I have read a lot.

 Jed McKenna says about Melville’s Moby Dick something like “this book kicks some spiritual ass”. I have read that one too, but if I only knew who McKenna is (nobody knows), I would certainly give him Ficciones. I quote from the beginning of it (“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”):

 “I owe the discovery of uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia. the mirror troubled the end of a corridor in a villa on gaona street, in ramos mejia; the encyclopedia is falsely called the anglo-american cyclopedia (new york, 1917) and is a literal, but also morose, reprinting of the 1902 encyclopedia britannica. the work was produced about five years ago. bioy casares had dined with me that night, and he delayed us with a vast polemic about the construction of a novel in the first person, whose narrator would omit or obscure things and engage in various contradictions, which would admit to a few readers – to very few readers – the divination of an atrocious or banal reality. from the remote end of the corridor, the mirror did not watch. we discovered (late at night this discovery is inevitable) that mirrors have something monstrous about them. then bioy casado remembered that one of the heresiarchs of uqbar had declared that mirrors and reproduction are abominable, because they multiply the numbers of men.”

 ( I found this translation here: )

 Many are those who try to understand, define and analyze Borge’s writings, and I do think most of them would benefit from Borges own statement: Not to let own opinions interfere with his writings, sadly this is almost always the case when somebody talks from a greater mind; he is immediately surrounded by “experts” who can define him for you, like what happened with Jesus Christ, Shakespeare, Einstein – or even Bob Dylan. Something like that is happening with Eckhart Tolle, too.

 I don’t believe true genius comes from thinking. I believe it’s a kind of channeling. It just comes something from within, from some mystical source. Einstein did not think himself to E= mc2, it just popped up – he wrote it down and he looked at what he had just written in amazement. Dylan has said something about “an inner outburst of words”. And I do believe this is especially the case with Borges.

Mozart wrote from an inner source – it just flowed – while Salieri (who denied such things as an inner source) tried to compete with him by learning, by thinking, by effort…struggle. He refused to accept that a 12 year old could write like that.

True genius is always challenging our mental boxes. And defining is always an attempt to keep the boxes.

 I’m not leaving topic here, because I think Borges gives some very interesting views on spirituality as well as science – meaning quantum physics and its discoveries about reality. Did he describe parallel universes? Who is going to answer that question? And to whom?

We have nothing to learn from Borges, more than follow his example. Don’t mess with your own inner source. Don’t lie to yourself.

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