The Book Of Sand

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Finitude is the sole concept which pervades all walks of life; all regions of the world; all aspects of daily life and human society. It challenges our perceptions and potentially destroys dreams, making the viable inviable and even some difficulties impossibilities. Yet, are we truly confined to finitude for an infinitude of time, or is the universe an infinitude in which we, as a species, have yet to achieve our fullest potential? Jorge Luis Borges, in his short story “The Book of Sand”, provides not only a set of answers to these questions, but also compounds it with remarkable perspective and insight into the nature of infinitude, our understanding of our own limitations, and how we naturally perceive the foreign concept of infinity as…show more content…
As the stranger says to the narrator, the infinitude of the pages serves “perhaps to suggest that the terms of an infinite series admit any number”, which he follows with a speculative conjecture as to the place of humanity in the infinite continuum of space-time: “If space is infinite, we may be at any point in space. If time is infinite, we may be at any point in time”. Not only is the knowledge of the Book of Sand confined to the work itself, it spreads to the narrator, and even to the stranger who had sold it to him. The narrator, upon accepting the stranger’s offer of purchase for the Book of Sand, realizes that he has become quite vulnerable, and fears the book’s theft, while simultaneously considering that it may not actually be infinite in the sense he or the stranger had perceived it to be. The book grants him arguably deleterious knowledge, in that it effectively bars him from human contact out of fear, and in that it holds him hostage, according to his own thoughts: “These twin preoccupations [theft and finitude] intensified my old misanthropy. I had only a few friends left; I now stopped seeing even them. A prisoner of the book, I almost never went out anymore … At night, in the meager intervals my…show more content…
In the first paragraph, Borges writes of the universe in a mathematical manner that relates the abstract generalization of the known to the unknown: “The line is made up of an infinite number of points; the plane of an infinite number of lines; the volume of an infinite number of planes; the hypervolume of an infinite number of volumes…” What we know about time and life, in this context, is continually growing, unlimited by any external force, such as the starting point of the evolution of human understanding of the universe. In this case, just as the Book of Sand has neither a starting point nor an end point, the universe does not have an end point, nor a clearly-defined, discernible, universally-agreed-upon start point. Infinite dimensions of the universe are infinite dimensions of thought; we can always expand our horizons, broaden our understanding to any infinite degree. So long as we operate in a truly infinite plane, our ideas and thoughts are unrestrained and infinite as
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