From “A New Refutation of Time” by Jorge Luis Borges

This is a longer quote, and also includes quotations from other sources; however, I wanted to preserve it nonetheless.

“Via the dialectics of Berkeley and Hume I have arrived at Schopenhauer’s dictim: ‘The form of the phenomenon of will . . . is really only the present, not the future nor the past. The latter are only in the conception, exist only in the connection of knowledge, so far as it follows the principle of sufficient reason. No man has ever lived in the past, and none will live in the future; the present alone is the form of all life, and is its sure possession which can never be taken from it . . . We might compare time to a constantly revolving sphere; the half that was always sinking would be past, that which was always rising would be the future; but the indivisible point at the top, where the tangent touches, would be the extensionless present. As the tangent does not revolve with the sphere, neither does the present, the point of contact of the object, the form of which is time, with the subject, which has no form, because it does not belong to the knowable, but is the condition of all that is knowable” (Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, I, 54). A Buddhist treatise of the fifth century, the Visuddhimagga (Road to Purity), illustrates the same doctrine with the same figure: “Strictly speaking, the duration of the life of a living being is exceedingly brief, lasting only while a thought lasts. Just as a chariot wheel in rolling rolls only at one point of the tire, and in resting rests only at one point; in exactly the same way the life of a living being lasts only for the period of one thought” (Radhakrishnan: Indian Philosophy, I, 373).”

from “A New Refutation of Time,” pgs. 232-233.

Borges, Jorge Luis. Labyrinths: selected stories & other writings. New Directions Pub. Corp., 1986.

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