In the story “The Garden of the Forking Paths” by Borges, O’Connell found that like time, Borges also enjoyed mirroring his characters (O’Connell, 5). Mirroring describes Dr. Yu Tsun being an English Literature professor, yet is Chinese opposite of him Stephen Albert a Sinologist who’s English (O’Connell, 5). Tsun and Albert both contradict their entire beings with irony. It’s ironic because Tsun doesn’t understand his own history and having an Englishmen telling you about your own history is pathetic. In “Garden of the Forking Paths”, Borges portrayed the ideology that the world could be seen as a labyrinth. A maze with multiple choices our decisions didn’t matter because every different possibility was going to happen no matter what we chose (O’Connell, 5). O’Connell believed that Herbert Quain would’ve been proud to see labyrinth converted as infinite dimensions in time (O’Connell, 5). This version of time could’ve been seen as a component as universal time.
Stephen Albert in “The Garden of the Forking Paths” explained to Tsun about Ts’ui Pen’s book being infinite. The book was “cyclical, or circular, volume, a volume whose last page would be identical to the first, so that one might go on indefinitely (Borges, 125). In numerous stories by Borges such as “Circular Ruins”, “The Theme of the Traitor and the Hero”, “The Theologians”, “The Immortals”, and “The Gospel According to Saint Mark” continue to repeat themselves in a circular pattern (O’Connell, 6). Borges’ “The Theologians” consisted of a heretical sect, the Montoni that claimed “history was a circle, and that all things that exist have existed before and will exist again” (O’Connell, 6). Similar to Albert’s conversation in “The Garden of the Forking Paths”, the Montoni believed that history was a circle and everything will repeat itself. Borges loved to repeat himself in this story as many others, he does this by intertwining one story to another. Borges has a tendency to continue repetition yet always finds a way to change it but it still has the underlying topic in this case, it’s time.
In “The Circular Ruins” Borges chose his favorite topics infinite time and Gnostics. The man creating a man from only his imagination shows that with imagination there are endless possibilities. Similar to “The Garden of the Forking Paths” and “The Theologians” Borges, once again has a different story that circle around one another. In “The Garden of the Forking Paths”, the labyrinth symbolized infinite dimensions of time and in “The Circular Ruins”, you have a man using his imagination. Albert explains to Tsun, that life is like the labyrinth, multiple possibilities that are infinite like time. There are some people in the world that have no imagination, for a person to have an imagination they have a countless amount of possibilities they can dream about. Compared to the Montoni in “The Theologians”, they questioned their religious values and decided to change it and make it their own just the same could be said about the Gnostics in “The Circular Ruins”.
Time is infinite, no one knows how old the World is; there is only educated guesses. Borges defines time in different ways but I think some of his ideas are the work of a mad man. Even though he writes only to pass time, some of his ideologies I think he actually believes just as there are ideas that others believe are true.
Borges, Jorge Luis, and Andrew Hurley. Collected Fictions. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking, 1998. Print.
O'Connell, Mark. "How to Handle Eternity: Infinity and the Theories of J.W. Dunne in the Fiction of Jorge Luis Borges and Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policemen." Irish Studies Review May 2009 17.2 (2009): 223-37. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 23 May 2011.