Thursday, March 24, 2011

Borges Week 2, Option 1

This is a dream, a pure diversion of my will, and since I have unlimited power, I am going to bring forth a tiger.”(294) This is what Borges’ conscious mind thinks. So he loved tigers? And he wants to envision the perfect tiger? Well his unconscious mind, me, is telling him “No.” I am not about to let him see that tiger. But what he does not know is that he doesn’t have unlimited power. I do. I control his dreams, whether he likes it or not. It amuses me to see him so fervently try to achieve that ultimately beautiful tiger he so desires, when in the end, I will not let him have it. His dreams are always about this “perfect tiger” and if I give him that he will no longer have anything to dream. If I give him that tiger he may lose the one thing keeping him alive: imagination. No matter how frustrated he becomes or how persistent he may be in his efforts to attain this image, I will hold strong.

He analyzes all other people and figures out why they can or cannot achieve the goal they have set for themselves. As in The Circular Ruins the man isn’t able to find the student and eventually son he desires at first because he could not truly connect with the pupil because of a lack of personal attention; “One day the man emerged from sleep as though from a viscous desert, looked up at the hollow light of the evening (which for a moment he confused with the light of dawn), and realized that he had not dreamed” (97-98). The man couldn’t actually see the pupil as he so desired in his sleep, because his sleep was not ideal. My job here is to ensure Borges’ sleep is not ideal in order to prevent his dreaming of the perfect tiger. As soon as I give him the opportunity for ideal sleep he will take over my abilities and, because he won’t need me anymore, he will die. I will continue to let his dreams come closer and closer to seeing the anticipated image, but his dream will fall short, just short enough of that goal that he will continue to pursue it each and every night. It will not be until he is ready to let go of the temporal world that I will give him the satisfying image of the perfect tiger.

“The tiger does appear, but it is all dried up, or it’s flimsy-looking, or it has impure vagaries of shape or an unacceptable size, or it’s altogether too ephemeral, or it looks more like a dog or a bird than like a tiger” (294). This is the prime example of what I aim for in letting him get so close to his idyllic tiger. It is these comments of his that ensure my success. What he also doesn’t realize is that although I have the main control, it is his own abilities that inhibit his dreams. His own analyzing of those who have vivid dreams, such as those blind or deaf, should be a clear connection to the limits of his dreams. The man in The Circular Ruins is able to achieve the perfect son and student because he himself has been dreamed by another, therefore he hadn’t had the experiences to fully inhibit him from what he so desired: “With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he realized that he, too, was but appearance, that another man was dreaming him” (100). It has been interpreted that he believed those people with impairments can dream so vividly because of their lack of personal experience. Their dreams give them what their body cannot. Borges has already had the luxury of staring at, and analyzing probably hundreds of tigers in his childhood. It is only now that I, his own unconscious mind, am taking that away from him even though it is the only thing he desires to dream. As his blindness progresses I will allow him to gradually see more of this tiger, and more often it will have less imperfections, until finally he sees the ultimate tiger which will mark the end of his quest; the end of his life.

1 comment:

  1. most This was thoughtful and clever. I liked all of it, but I liked the idea of the tigers growing clearer as his sight decays, precisely because of the agency of the unconscious mind.

    So I like the concept and have no particular objection to anything you did with it. That still leaves the question of what to do if you revise, of course.

    One problem, of course, is that people think very differently about what the "unconscious mind" is or is not. Having a theoretical grounding to your concept of the unconscious mind could be very productive here. Moreover, it would be pretty funny to either have a footnoted short story written by an unconscious mind, or to somehow personify the unconscious in some more distinctive way (some smart people argue that this is exactly how the gods work in some ancient stories, for instance, the Iliad and the Odyssey - that the gods often basically represent different aspects of the unconscious mind)

    Or, to take a different direction entirely, you might expand the commentary of Borges' subconscious to cover more than one story in the connection - the one about the woman and the mirrors is one good possibility.

    Anyway, this is a good idea, and I'm pretty happy with the execution, too; those are just examples of how you might further develope it.