Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Tuesdays are usually child care days for me, which means, among other things, that I get to sleep in while my spouse gets ready for work and feeds the 2-year-old. And this morning, lying in bed, I finally got around to reading Borges’ story “The Aleph,” which my friend Jeff Dorchen recommended to me about 20 years ago.

If you don’t know the story, and don’t want me to spoil it for you, stop reading this post right here, and go read the story.

Great story, right?

What struck me about it was not only the vision of a point in space that contains all other points in space simultaneously and in infinite detail. Borges handled that spicy little number with his typical pungeant grace. What haunted me was the effect that the vision had on the people who experienced it. The narrator says that he was filled with compassion, and as soon as the vision passed he treated his host, the possessor of the Aleph, with calculated dishonesty and cruelty. The host, who had been experiencing the Aleph for years, was pompous and foolish. The vision brought no wisdom.

Borges’ imaginative fancy intrigues; his insight into the ways of people is feeling painfully true.

I finished reading the story and rolled on my side and went back to sleep.
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