top of page

Let us consider a life in whose course repetitions abound: my life, for instance.

I shall never pass in front of the Recoleta cemetery without remembering that my father, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents are buried there, just as I shall be; then I remember having remembered the same thing innumerable times before; I can not walk through the outlying neighborhoods of the city in the silence of the night without thinking that nighttime is pleasing precisely because it does away with useless details, like memory; I can not lament the loss of a love or a friendship without meditating on how one only loses what one really never had; each time I cross one of the streets in South Buenos Aires, I think of you, Helen; every time the wind brings me the odor of eucalyptus, I think of Adrogue in my childhood; each time I recollect Fragment 91 of Heraclitus, You never go down the same river twice, I admire the dialectical skill, for the facility with which we accept the first meaning (The river is another) clandestinely imposes upon us the second meaning (I am another) and grants us the illusion of having invented it; every time I hear a Germanophile running down Yiddish, I reflect that Yiddish is, after all, a German dialect, only slightly tainted by the language of the Holy Ghost.

These tautologies (and others which I hold back) are my entire life.

Naturally, they repeat themselves without precision; there are variations of emphasis, differences of temperature, of light, of general physiological condition. I suspect, nonetheless, that the number of circumstantial variations is not infinite: we can postulate, in the mind of an individual (or of two individuals who do not know each other but in both of whom the same process is operative), two identical moments. Once this identity is postulated, we may ask: Are not these identical moments the same moment? Is not one single repeated terminal point enough to break up and confound the series in time? Are not the fervent Shakespeareans who give themselves over to a line of Shakespeare, are they not, literally, Shakespeare?

bottom of page