Jorge Luis Borges wrote in 1942 a fascinating a slightly disquieting short story – Borges’ prose is always fascinating and disquieting in its absolute perfection and though-provoking elegance- « Funes el memorioso » which might be translated as « Funes the memorious ».
The protagonist of the story, Ireneo Funes, is a young man who, after falling from his horse develops a total form of memory for every single details of all what surrounds him.
He can remember the single exact shape of every cloud he has seen in the sky, he remember distinctively the nuance of green of every leaf of every plant he has seen.
Funes, Borges tells us, is incapable of Platonic ideas, of generalities, of abstraction; his world is one of intolerably uncountable details. He finds it very difficult to sleep, since he recalls every crevice and every moulding of the various houses which surround him.
At the end of the tale Borges describes how he has spent the whole night talking to Funes in total darkness and when a new morning breaks the light reveals to the writer the face of the 19 years old Funes which looks to him “more ancient than Egypt, anterior to the prophecies and the pyramids”.
I had always thought that the story was an imaginary metaphorical creation of Borges, but recently I have read about the studies on the still rather mysterious mechanisms of the rare brains which cannot forget anything.
An American violinist seems to be one of these people who can keep precise memory of every second of their life.
A poisoned gift or a remarkable precious quality?
There is the amazing ability to never forget a concept, a meeting, a date; there is the possibility to evocate exactly all what happened in every day of one life.
But there is also a kind of obligation to live constantly the past as if it was a continues present; all is always there, with sorrows, ended loves, bitter disappointments , always clear, always precise…
Being a living archive can be rewarding, but it’s also a not appealable sentence.
Oblivion is like a shelter of protection for every human being, we must forget to face life in a better way and to react.
Sages have always tried to train their memory to develop it and make it more performing and in parallel alchemists have tried to find the secret of the potion of oblivion.
We all have our time machines.
Some take us back, they're called memories.
Some take us forward, they're called dreams
We do not remember days, we remember moments.
The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten