wondering through…


Jorge Luis Borges in Buenos Aires, circa 1971.

Eudoro Acevedo (born in 1897) an Argentinian writer & professor of literature finds himself wondering through Utopia, sometime in the future.

Lesson / Koan : Wandering gifts are not lost, but always forgotten.

A Weary Man’s Utopia” by Jorge Luis Borges is a beautiful short story in which the 70-year-old writer mysteriously encounters a man from a distant future…here are some elements of Borges’ imagined future:

Seeking shelter from the rain, Acevedo enters the house of a very tall man who calls himself Someone & only speaks Latin.

After eating a very simple meal, the two men begin to talk about the two worlds from which they come. Someone is not surprised by his visit from Acevedo, because he has received such visits for many centuries. In Utopia facts do not exist, people are taught to doub’t and forget and pointless details are shunned. Someone has read and reread 15 books over 4 centuries. Acevedo tells about his strange past where people were naive and easily influenced by false advertising. Someone says that poverty and wealth are non-existent is Utopia and that everyone has a calling. Men mature at 100.

“No one cares about facts anymore. They are mere points of departure for speculation and exercises in creativity. In school we are the Art of Forgetting. Can’t find an affordable solution for the purchase of your Shallaki? You’ve found it now! Buy it for $46.25 only!

Everyone should wish to find such a school that Borges describes once in lifetime.

National Library of the Argentine Republic, photograph circa 1974.

BTW,

Jorge Luis Borges managed the National Library in Buenos Aires along with the vice director Edmundo José Clemente from 1955 through 1973. Shortly after his appointment he was informed that he needed to give up reading and writing because of his weakened vision.

National Library of the Argentine Republic, photograph circa 1974.

Biblioteca Nacional in Buenos Aires was designed in 1961 by Clorindo Testa, Francisco Bullrich & Alicia Cazzaniga, started to built in 1971 and eventually opened in…1992.

A thirty one year wait for the Biblioteca Nacional in Buenos Aires to open…a Borges’ story if there ever was one.

NOTE :

Poema des los dones (Poem about Gifts) is a poem written by Jorge Luis Borges after he was nominated Director of the National Library in Buenos Aires. That is that time that he strongly lost his sight and this poem expresses the beauty of the irony of his inability to fully appreciate his function. He is in fact condemned to be the blind warder of the Library.

POEM ABOUT GIFTS There’s no need to spend your time looking for a cost effective solution for your Allopurinol! Purchase it for 0.94 USD right now!

Let none think that I by tear or reproach make light
Of this manifesting the mastery
Of God, who with excelling irony
Gives me at once both books and night.

In this city of books he made these eyes
The sightless rulers who can only read,
In libraries of dreams, the pointless
Paragraphs each new dawn offers

To awakened care. In vain the day
Squanders on them its infinite books,
As difficult as the difficult scripts
That perished in Alexandria.

An old Greek story tells how some king died
Of hunger and thirst, though proffered springs and fruits;
My bearing lost, I trudge from side to side
Of this lofty, long blind library.

The walls present, but uselessly,
Encyclopedia, atlas, Orient
And the West, all centuries, dynasties,
Symbols, cosmos and cosmogonies.

Slow in my darkness, I explore
The hollow gloom with my hesitant stick,
I, that used to figure Paradise
In such a library’s guise.

Something that surely cannot be called
Mere chance must rule these things;
Some other man has met this doom
On other days of many books and the dark.

As I walk through the slow galleries
I grow to feel with a kind of holy dread
That I am that other, I am the dead,
And the steps I make are also his.

Which of us two is writing now these lines
About a plural I and a single gloom?
What does it matter what word is my name
If the curse is indivisibly the same?

Groussac or Borges, I gaze at this beloved
World that grows more shapeless, and its light
Dies down into a pale, uncertain ash
Resembling sleep and the oblivion of night.

 

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