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June 7, , was a Sunday like any other amid the altered routine of the Second World War. Jorge Luis Borges — has received universal acclaim for the depth with which he approached matters of philosophic and scientific import in his writings. The strange thing about the obituary is that Borges barely refers to Joyce or his work and instead describes Ireneo Funes, the main character of the story he was writing at the time.
Of the magical compadrito of my story I can state that he is a precursor to supermen, a suburban, incomplete Zarathustra; what cannot be denied is that he is a monster. In fact, toward the end of the story he mentions that Funes found sleeping difficult, because to sleep is to get distracted from the world.
When I suffered from insomnia I tried to forget myself, to forget my body, the position of my body, the bed, the furniture, the three gardens of the hotel, the eucalyptus tree, the books on the shelf, all the streets of the village, the station, the farmhouses.
In a word that fragmentary hoodlum is me, or is an image I stole for literary purposes but which corresponds to my own insomnia. Pliny considers it a blessing to possess an extraordinary memory.
Pliny also describes the fragility of memory, arguing that it can be lost, in whole or in part, due to illness, injury, and even panic.
As an example he tells the story of a man who lost the capacity to name letters after being struck by a stone, and of another who forgot certain people after falling from a roof. He also mentions Messala Corvinus, the orator, who lost recollection of even his own name.
Says Funes, midway through the story:. My memory, sir, is like a rubbish heap. The first properly documented case of extraordinary memory is that of Solomon Shereshevskii, studied by the celebrated Russian psychologist Alexander Luria starting in the s. Shereshevskii possessed a very strong synesthesia — an involuntary link between different senses, like associating numbers with colors — that gave his memories a much richer content and thus made them easier to recollect.
These associations, as well as the use of simple mnemonics, allowed Shereshevskii to remember long sequences of numbers and letters many years after first hearing them. After studying Shereshevskii for more than 30 years, Luria confessed his inability to find a limit to S. There are clear parallels between Shereshevskii and Funes, despite the fact that the former trained his memory based on his synesthesia while for the latter to remember everything was completely natural.
Imagine the most extreme example, a human being who does not possess the power to forget, who is damned to see becoming everywhere; such a human being would no longer believe in his own being, would no longer believe in himself, would see everything flow apart in turbulent particles, and would lose himself in this stream of becoming; like the true student of Heraclitus, in the end he would hardly even dare to lift a finger.
All action requires forgetting, just as the existence of all organic things requires not only light, but darkness as well. If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing.
Without totally forgetting a prodigious number of states of consciousness, and momentarily forgetting a large number, we could not remember at all. The relation to Funes, Shereshevskii, and Nietzsche is fascinating.
Sospecho, sin embargo, que no era muy capaz de pensar. I suspect, however, that he was not very capable of thinking. On the contrary, these parallel writings provide a philosophical and scientific foundation on which Borges may have found part of his inspiration. Going back to Funes and other people with extraordinary memory, we must mention Borges himself, who could quote whole passages in Spanish, English, German, and Anglo-Saxon, among other tongues.
The fragment, the writer said, was on an odd-numbered page near the middle of the book. Kodama started to read a page at random and Borges, amazingly, guided her to the right page even though he had been blind for many years and — as he jotted on the first page — had read the book in , decades before this encounter with Kodama. The diaphragm and cervical cap have been used to signify extramarital sex, working-class status, embarrassment, sorrow, and the onset of adulthood — but rarely a joyful or pleasant sexual encounter.
Donna J. Drucker May Empathy is a complex trait, like courage or height. Inevitably, some individuals inherit fewer pro-empathy genes than average.
Peter Sterling Apr Are we alone? Henkjan Honing Jan If certain areas of science appear to be quite mature, others are in the process of development, and yet others remain to be born.
Posted on Jun 20, Facebook Twitter Reddit Flipboard. Borges Literature Memory Neuroscience. The Symbolic Use of Barrier Contraceptives in American and English Literature The diaphragm and cervical cap have been used to signify extramarital sex, working-class status, embarrassment, sorrow, and the onset of adulthood — but rarely a joyful or pleasant sexual encounter.
Are Humans the Only Musical Species? The Most Important Scientific Problems Have Yet to Be Solved If certain areas of science appear to be quite mature, others are in the process of development, and yet others remain to be born.
Funes the Memorious
Genre: Short Story. Later, when the narrator inquired what had become of Funes, he was told that the latter "had been thrown by a wild horse at the San Francisco ranch, and that he been hopelessly crippled" It is at this point that the saga of Funes the memorious begins. For Funes, with only these texts and a dictionary, has learned Latin and memorized the texts.
Borges and Memory: Encounters with the Human Brain [Excerpt]
June 7, , was a Sunday like any other amid the altered routine of the Second World War. Jorge Luis Borges — has received universal acclaim for the depth with which he approached matters of philosophic and scientific import in his writings. The strange thing about the obituary is that Borges barely refers to Joyce or his work and instead describes Ireneo Funes, the main character of the story he was writing at the time. Of the magical compadrito of my story I can state that he is a precursor to supermen, a suburban, incomplete Zarathustra; what cannot be denied is that he is a monster.
Funes el Memorioso
The narrator, a version of Borges himself, meets Ireneo Funes, a teenage boy who lives in Fray Bentos , Uruguay , in Borges's cousin asks the boy for the time, and Funes replies instantly, without the aid of a watch and accurate to the minute. Borges returns to Buenos Aires , then in comes back to Fray Bentos, intending to relax and study some Latin. He learns that Ireneo Funes has meanwhile suffered a horseback riding accident and is now hopelessly crippled.