Argentine Short-Story Writer, Essayist, Poet
Argentine Short-Story Writer, Essayist, Poet
An infinite time has run its course before my birth; what was I throughout all that time? Metaphysically, the answer might perhaps be: I was always I; that is, all who during that time said I, were in fact I.
I do not deny this consciousness of being, nor the immediate security of here I am that it breathes into us. What I do deny is that all our other convictions must be adjusted to the customary antithesis between the self and the non-self, and that this antithesis is constant. The sensation of cold, of spacious and pleasurable suppleness, that is in me as I open the front door and go out along the half-darkness of the street is neither a supplement to a pre-existing self nor an event that comes coupled to the other event of a continuing and rigorous self.
I want to tear down the exceptional preeminence now generally awarded to the self, and I pledge to be spurred on by concrete certainty, and not the caprice of an ideological ambush or a dazzling intellectual prank. I propose to prove that personality is a mirage maintained by conceit and custom, without metaphysical foundation or visceral reality. I want to apply to literature the consequences that issue from these premises, and erect upon them an aesthetic hostile to the psychologism inherited from the last century, sympathetic to the classics, yet encouraging to today?s most unruly tendencies.
I, for example, am not the visual reality that my eyes encompass, for if I were, darkness would kill me and nothing would remain in me to desire the spectacle of the world, or even to forget it. Nor am I the audible world that I hear, for in that case silence would erase me and I would pass from sound to sound without memory of the previous one. Subsequent identical lines of argument can be directed toward the senses of smell, taste, and touch, proving not only that I am not the world of appearances ? a thing generally known and undisputed ? but that the apperceptions that indicate that world are not my self either. That is, I am not my own activity of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. Nor am I my body, which is a phenomenon among others. Up to this point the argument is banal; its distinction lies in its application to spiritual matters. Are desire, thought, happiness, and distress my true self? The answer, in accordance with the precept, is clearly in the negative, since those conditions expire without annulling me with them. Consciousness ? the final hideout where we might track down the self ? also proves unqualified. Once the emotions, the extraneous perceptions, and even ever-shifting thought are dismissed, consciousness is a barren thing, without any appearance reflected in it to make it exist.
Reality has no need of other realities to bolster it. There are no divinities hidden in the trees, nor any elusive thing-in-itself behind appearances, nor a mythological self that orders our actions. Life is truthful appearance.
The self [is] a mere logical imperative, without qualities of its own or distinctions from individual to individual.
There is no whole self. Any of life?s present situations is seamless and sufficient. Are you, as you ponder these disquietudes, anything more than an indifference gliding over the argument I make, or an appraisal of the opinions I expound? I, as I write this, am only a certainty that seeks out the words that are most apt to compel your attention. That proposition and a few muscular sensations, and the sight of the limpid branches that the trees place outside my window, constitute my current I. It would be vanity to suppose that in order to enjoy absolute validity this psychic aggregate must seize on a self, that conjectural Jorge Luis Borges on whose tongue sophistries are always at the ready and in whose solitary strolls the evenings on the fringes of the city are pleasant.
There is no whole self. He who defines personal identity as the private possession of some depository of memories is mistaken. Whoever affirms such a thing is abusing the symbol that solidifies memory in the form of an enduring and tangible granary or warehouse, when memory is no more than the noun by which we imply that among the innumerable possible states of consciousness, many occur again in an imprecise way. Moreover, if I root personality in remembrance, what claim of ownership can be made on the elapsed instants that, because they were quotidian or stale, did not stamp us with a lasting mark? Heaped up over years, they lie buried, inaccessible to our avid longing. And that much-vaunted memory to whose ruling you made appeal, does it ever manifest all its past plenitude? Does it truly live? The sensualists and their ilk, who conceive of your personality as the sum of your successive states of mind, are similarly deceiving themselves. On closer scrutiny, their formula is no more than an ignominious circumlocution that undermines the very foundation it constructs, an acid that eats away at itself, a prattling fraud and a belabored contradiction.
There is no whole self. It suffices to walk any distance along the inexorable rigidity that the mirrors of the past open to us in order to feel like outsiders, naively flustered by our own bygone days. There is no community of intention in them, nor are they propelled by the same breeze.
Variant: In his lifetime, he suffered from unreality, as do so many Englishmen; once dead, he is not even the ghost he was then.
We did meet forty years ago. At that time we were both influenced by Whitman and I said, jokingly in part, 'I don't think anything can be done in Spanish, do you?' Neruda agreed, but we decided it was too late for us to write our verse in English. We'd have to make the best of a second-rate literature.
What a man does is as if all men did. So it is not unfair that one disobedience in a garden contaminates everyone; so it is not unjust that the crucifixion of a single Jew would be sufficient to save all mankind.
When drag me a river, but the river is mine; a tiger devouring me, but covered me; a fire consumes me, but fire me; universe, unfortunately true, I, unfortunately, Borges I
While we are asleep in this world, we are awake in another one
Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.
Vibrant in swords and passion and asleep in the ivy, only life exists. The space and time are his ways, are magical instruments of the soul, and when it goes out, turn off her space, time and death as the cessation of the light expires drill mirrors.
We do not have one love but fear. Is that why I love her so much.
What a writer wants to do is not what he does.
When I feel I'm going to write something, then I just am quiet and I try to listen. Then something comes through. And I do what I can in order not to tamper with it.
Whitman is well known by the feudal and called classic models, there is always a central heroes - Achilles, Odysseus, Aeneas, Roland, Cid, Siegfried Christ - who towers over him by subjecting him to any other person. This privilege, thought Whitman, included a world that has gone past, or at least want than: the world of the aristocracy. My epic may not be so. Must be more complex, expressed or assuming full of all people, unlike any other in equality.
Writing is only a guided dream.
Villari took no notice of them because the idea of a coincidence between art and reality was alien to him. Unlike people who read novels, he never saw himself as a character in a work of art.
We forget that we are all dead men conversing with dead men.
What I'm really concerned about is reaching one person. And that person may be myself for all I know.
When I wake up, I wake to something worse. It?s the astonishment of being myself.