Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jorge Luis Borges Created the Internet

Buddhist thought refers to something called, “momentariness.” In that thinking, there is nothing that exists for any length of time. Each moment exists separately, so there is no substance or length to things. And each moment is an entirely new reality, which is then seceded by another entirely new(er) reality. The only connection between one thing and the next is that one causes the next. This thinking permeates Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges’ work; which also deals with the idea of hypertextuality, a Postmodern theory of the inter-connectedness of texts. He writes, “Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures,” meaning, like Buddhist thought, each moment happens then it is gone. But also, in the case of hypertextuality, that moment forks off into countless other moments that are happening (existing) at the same time.

This works in much the same way as pick-a-path books, where the reader would begin the story then make choices about the possible outcomes and be lead to different portions of the book. This is, after all, the same way the internet works. Go to any page and you will be presented with hundreds of choices as to where to go next. Click on an option and you are brought to a new page with hundreds of more options.

In Borges’ text however, he infers that all the paths/choices are on-going even after a choice is made. In other words, there are multiple, alternate realities happening at the same time. He asserts that each time a man is confronted with several alternatives, he simultaneously chooses all of them. Then there are multiple hims existing on alternate planes at the same time.

All of this brings me to an entirely other concept all together, that of Déjà vu, the feeling that what you are presently experiencing has happened before. If all of Borges’ theories hold true, then it could also be argued that when one experiences what has been called Déjà vu, it is not that that person has been in that particular situation before, but that two (or more) existences are occurring at the same time and those two worlds are intermingling; a glitch in the matrix, if you will. Two paths were chosen in the same way, therefore they have become, for one split second, unified. As Keanu would say, “Whoa.”

1 comment: