Monday, February 9, 2009

Argumentum Ornithologicum

One of my favorite authors, Jorge Luis Borges, was a very cheeky fellow indeed.

I seriously recommend any and all of his writings. Apart from his uncanny ability to dismantle all your certainties in three sentences, his imaginative approach to storytelling is as brilliant as it is irreverent. My first Borges experience was with a certain mind-melting story called Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, a must-read for anyone literate and remotely contemplative. Below is a little tale-ette that never fails to make me laugh.
"I close my eyes and see a flock of birds. The vision lasts a second, or perhaps less; I am not sure how many birds I saw. Was the number definite or indefinite? The problem involves the existence of God. If God exists, the number is definite, because God knows how many birds I saw. If god does not exist, the number is indefinite, because no one can have counted. Let us say in this case I saw fewer than ten birds, and more than one. But I did not see nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, or two birds. I saw a number between ten and one which was not nine, eight, seven, six, five, etc. That number -- not-nine, not-eight, not-seven, not-six, not-five, etc. -- is inconceivable. Ergo, God exists. 
I don't endorse the logic, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it. The picture is from one of my notebooks. 

1 comment:

  1. What a magnificent start! So beautifully written & such great photos. I must become a Follower immediately!