Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Aleph

"All language is a set of symbols whose use among its speakers assumes a shared past. How, then, can I translate into words the limitless Aleph, which my floundering mind can scarcely encompass? Mystics, faced with the same problem, fall back on symbols...Really, what I want to do is impossible, for any listing of an endless series is doomed to be infinitesimal. In that single gigantic instant I saw millions of acts both delightful and awful; not one of them occupied the same point in space, without overlapping or transparency...I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me...I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon -- the unimaginable universe."
- Jorge Luis Borges
Author / Essayist
(1899 - 1986)

1 comment:

rm said...

Haunting and provocative - I am reminded of a passage from James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men:
'Each is intimately connected with the bottom and the extremest
reach of time: Each is composed of substances identical with the substance of
all that surrounds him, both the common objects of his disregard, and the hot
centers of stars: All that each person is, and experiences, and shall never
experience, in body and mind, all these things are differing expressions of
himself and of one root, and are identical: '