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Other Inquisitions

Jorge Luis Borges

Where Borges’ fictions are impossible gymnastics of the mind, his collected short non-fiction remarks here are, well, still impossible gymnastics. Other Inquisitions is composed of numerous small essays, a few pages at most, on various subjects of interest, from Coleridge to language.

I thought reading his nonfiction might help clarify the enigma behind his fiction, but it was just as enigma-inducing. I’m left with a deeper sense of the unresolvable labyrinth that Borges lived inside.

“…in the sphere of literature as in others, every act is the culmination of an infinite series of causes, and the cause of an infinite series of effects.”

Which is to say, each human life is a momentary coagulation of energy & flux, sandwiched between an infinite past and an infinite future. We stand on these little platforms floating atop eternity, squinting into the firmament, which, as Borges points out, is an impossible thing to see in totality:

“…obviously there is no classification of the universe that is not arbitrary and conjectural. The reason is very simple: we do not know what the universe is.”