Archive - Obsession Blind Impress Fa06

In “The Aleph”, Jorge Luis Borges examines a single point in space where everything in existence is contained. What he sees is essentially impossible: he sees everything in existence. However, he can not remember all of this, which relates to the question of “Who am I?” because though everything that we ever encounter or experience makes us who we are, we cannot remember every second of our lives, just the way in this one instant the narrator can see the entire world, but cannot remember all of it, so he still does not know what the whole world consists of or what the whole world is. If we could remember everything that ever happened to us, there would be no questions in life for us and our existence would be boring. If the narrator of the Aleph could remember the entire world that he has just seen in the Aleph, his existence would then be pretty pointless because there would be nothing left for him to explore or question. Also, if the narrator can only see things that are in existence, this means he cannot see anything in the past or the future, which still would not explain the entire world and its existence because it cannot explain what has happened to the world and what is going to happen to it to make it what it is, just as we cannot collect our entire past and future to know who we are. In “The Aleph,” Borges draws parallels between seeing the entire world in the Aleph and seeing our entire self, and these parallels help to explain why we can never fully answer the question “who am I?”.

In the short story “The Aleph” Jorge Luis Borges writes about a certain point in space that contains all knowledge in the world. Through this small part of space a being can see everything in the world and learn all there is to know, but the hook that Borges uses to make a point about humans is the fact that, even when our narrator does obtain this “perspective” he is still an imperfect being that cannot comprehend or even remember all that he sees. Similar to points he has made about speech, Borges now tells us that the imperfection of our race simply will not let us be so all powerful as to obtain infinite consciousness.

In the short story Aleph, Jorge Luis Borges creates a situation when a person can look at an Aleph, a point in space that contains all other points, and see everything in the universe. Although symbolically important, such an object will never exist in reality because people become too absorbed in their individual environment. Never fully keeping up with the changing world, humans limit themselves by taking only a small step back from their immediate surroundings to better perceive larger scale world that is out there. Conclusively, the idea of a fully encompassing object, Borges’s Aleph, could allow the human race to make great advancements in all aspects of society while the existing limitation of thinking exclusively about oneself, the individual, is a societal “dead weight”.

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