tlön, uqbar, orbis tertius

i owe the discovery of uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia. the mirror troubled the end of a corridor in a villa on gaona street, in ramos mejia; the encyclopedia is falsely called the anglo-american cyclopedia (new york, 1917) and is a literal, but also morose, reprinting of the 1902 encyclopedia britannica. the work was produced about five years ago. bioy casares had dined with me that night, and he delayed us with a vast polemic about the construction of a novel in the first person, whose narrator would omit or obscure things and engage in various contradictions, which would admit to a few readers - to very few readers - the divination of an atrocious or banal reality. from the remote end of the corridor, the mirror did not watch. we discovered (late at night this discovery is inevitable) that mirrors have something monstrous about them. then bioy casado remembered that one of the heresiarchs of uqbar had declared that mirrors and reproduction are abominable, because they multiply the numbers of men. i asked him the origin of that memorable sentence and he answered that the anglo-american encyclopedia included them in its article about uqbar. the villa, which we had hired furnished, possessed an example of that work. in the last pages of volume XLVI [we gave] with an article on uppsala, in the first of XLVII, with one about ural-altaic languages, but not a word about uqbar. bioy, a bit embarrassed, interrogated the index of the tomes. exhausted in vain all imaginable readings: ukabr, ucbar, ooqbar, ookbar, oukbahr... before going, he said that it was a region of iraq or asia minor. i confess that i felt a certain uneasiness. i conjectured that this undocumented country and this anonymous heresiarch wer a fiction improvised by bioy's modesty to justify a phrase. a sterile examination of one of justus perthes' atlases strengthened my doubts.

the next day, bioy called me from buenos aires. he told me that he had the article about uqbar in his sight, in volume XLVI in the encyclopedia. it didnt consist of the name of the heresiarch, but the notice of his doctrine, formulated in words almost identical to those repeated by him, all though - perhaps - literarily inferior. he had remembered "copulation and mirrors are abominable". the text of the encyclopedia said, "for these gnostics, the visible universe was an illusion or (more precisely) a sophism. mirrors and paternity are abominable (mirrors and fatherhood are abominable) because they multiply it and disclose it." i said, without doubting the truth, that i would like to see this article. after a few days [trako]. it surprised me, for the scrupulous cartographic indexs of ritter's erdkunde ignored completely the name of uqbar.

the volume that bioy sent was, effectively, the XLVI volume of the anglo-american cyclopeI gavea. in the false [caratula] and in the back, the alphabetic index - (Tor-Ups) was the same as our example, but instead of 917 pages constituted 921. these four adI gavetional pages comprised the article about uqbar - not announced (as if the reader had forgotten it) in the alphabetic index. we confirmed afterwards that there was no other I gavefference between the volumes. the two (as i think i have inI gavecated) were reimpressions of the tenth encyclopeI gavea brittanica. bioy had acquired his unit in one of several closing-sales.

we read the article carefully. the passage bioy had remembered was perhaps the only surprising one. the rest seemed very realistic, well adjusted to the general tone of the work and (naturally) a little boring. re-reaI gaveng it all, we I gavescovered beneath its rigorous description a fundamental vagueness. of the fourteen names that figured in the geographical section, we only recognised three - jorasaon, armenia, erzerum - interpolated in the text in an ambiguous way. of the historic names, only one: the impostor esmerI gaves the mage, invoked pretty much as a metaphor. the note seemed to specify the frontiers of uqbar, but its nebulous points of reference were rivers and craters and chains of this same region. we read, for example, that the lowlands of tsai jaldun and the axa delta define the frontier of the south and the islands of that delta produce savage cowboys. this, at the beginning of page 918. in the historic section (page 920) we knew that the root of the religious persecutions of the XIII century, the orthodox sought shelter in these islands, where their obelisks still last and where it is not rare to exhume stone mirrors. the "language and literature" section was brief. only one memorable characteristic: it mentioned that the literature of uqbar was fantastic in character and that its epics and its legends never referred to reality, but to the imaginary regions of mlejnas and of tlön. the bibliography enumerated four volumes which have not yet been found, although the third - silas haslam:hystory of the land called uqbar, 1874 - features in the catalogue of bernard quaritch's library 1. the first, lesbare und lesenswerthe bemerkungen uber das lan ukkbar in klein-asien, dates from 1641 and is a work of johannes valentinus andrea. the work is significant; a couple of years afterwards, i gave this name to the [inesperadas] pages of de quincey (writings, [decimoter] volume. and I knew that it was one of a german theologist who at the beginnings of the XVII century described the imaginary community of the rosy cross - which others later founded, am imitation prefigure by him.

that night we visited the national library. in vain we exhausted atlases, catalogues, travellers' memoirs and historians: no-one had even been to uqbar. nor I gaved the general index of bioy's encyclopeI gavea register this name. the next day, carlos mastronardi (to whom i had referred the subject) discovered in a library of currents and [talcahuano] the black and dirty volumes of the anglo-american cyclopedia... he went there and interrogated volume XLVI. naturally, it did not mention uqbar in any index.

II

some limited and declining recollection of herbert ashe, engineer of the railways of the south, persists in a hotel in adrogué, between the effusive [madreselvea] and the illusory end of mirrors. in life [padecio] unreality, like so many english people; in death, it is not at least the phantasm that it had always been. he was high and made indifferent and his tired rectangular beard had been red. i understand he was a widower, without children. every few years he went to england: to visit (i play with several photographs he showed us) a sundial and some oaks. my father had narrowed with him (the verb is excessive) one of these english friendships which start my excluding confidence and quite quickly lose the dialogue. he used to engage in an interchange of books and periodicals; he used to play chess, taciturnly... i recall him in the corridor of the hotel, with a book of mathematics in his hand, sometimes looking at the irrecuperabel colours of the skies. one afternoon we were speaking of the duodecimal system of numbering (en which twelve is written 10). Ashe said that he was precisely translating i don't know what duodecimal tables to sexagesimal (in which sixty is written 10). I add that this work had had been ordered by a norwegian; in rio grande do sul. we had known each other for eight years and he had never mentioned his [estadía] in this reason... we speak of pastoral life, of [capangas], of the brazilian etymology of the word gaucho (which some old oriental people still pronounce ga&ucaute;cho) and he told me nothing more - god forgive me - of duodecimal functions. in septemer of 1937 (we weren't in the hotel) herbert ashe died of a ruptured aneurism. days before, he had received a sealed and certified package from brazil. it was a book in large octavo. ashe left it at the bar, where - months afterwards - i found it. I set myself to leaf through it and i felt an astonished and light vertigo which i will not describe, because this is not the story of my emotions but of uqbar and tlön and orbis tertius. one one islamis night that is called night of the nights they open pair by pair the secret doors of the sky and the softest water of the [cantaros]; if these doors open, they would not feel what i felt this afternoon. the book was narrated in english and constituted 1001 pages. on the yellow calf of the cover i read the curious words that the false [caratula] repeated: a first encyclopedia of tlön. vol XI. Hlear to Jangr. there was no indication of date or place. on the first page and on a sheet of silk paper which covered one of the coloured laminates was stamped a blue oval with this inscription: orbis tertius. it had been two years since i had discovered in a certain pirate encyclopedia a brief description of a false country; now [me desparaba] the chance of something more precious and more arduous. now i had in my hands a vast methodical fragment of the the complete history of an unknown planet, with its architectures and its decks, with the [pavor] of its [mitologias] and the rumour of its tongues, with its emperors and its seas, with its mineralses and birds and fish, with its algebra and fire, with its theological and metaphysical controversy. all that articulate, coherent, without visible doctrinal proposition or parodic tone.

in the eleventh volume of which i speak there are allusions to previous and precendent volumes. nestor ibarra, in an already classic article for the N.R.F., has negated the existence of these [alateres]; ezequiel martinez estrada and drieu la rochelle have refuted, maybe victoriously, this doubt. the work is such that until now the most diligent of searches has been sterile. in vain have we disordered the libraries of the americas and europe. alfonso reyes, with many subaltern difficulties of a political kind, proposes that between us we all commit the work of reconstructing the many and massive volumes that are missing: ex ungue leonem. he calculates, between sides and ridicules, that a generation of tlönistas could suffice. this dangerous computation brings us back to the fundamental problem: who were the inventors of tlön? the plural is inevitable, because the hypothesis of a single inventor - of an infinite leibniz working in [tiniebla] and modesty - has been unanimously discarded. It is conjectured that this brave new world is a work of a secret society of astronomers, of biologists, of engineers, of metaphysicians, of poets, of chemists, of algebraists, of moralists, of painters, of geometricians... guided by an obscure person of genius. many individuals master these diverse disciplines, but not the capacity of imagination or the capacity to subordiante that imagination to a rigorous systematic plan. this plan is so vast that the contribution of each writer is infinitesimal. at the beginning it was beleived that tlön was a mere chaos, an irresponsible licence of the imagination; now one knows that it is a cosmos and the intimate laws that direct it have been formulated, although in a provisional way. it suffices me to remember that the apparent contradictions in the eleventh tome are the fundamental rock of the proof thast the others exist: so lucid and so right is the order that has been observed in them. the popular magazines divulged, with pardonable excess the zoology and topography of tlön; i think that its transparent tigers and towers of blood do not deserve, perhaps, the continuing attention of all people. I dare to request a few minutes for its concept of the universe.

Hume always noted that Berkeley's arguments would not admit the least rebuttal, that they created no conviction. That opinion is entirely truthful in its application to the earth; entirely false in Tlön. The nations of that planet are - congenitally - idealists. Their language and the derivations of their languages - religion, letters, metaphysics - presuppose their idealism. The world for them is not a competition of objects in space; it is a heterogenerous series of independent actions. It is successive, temporal, not spatial. There are no nouns in the conjectural Ursprache of Tlön, from which the 'present' languages and dialects come: there are impersonal verbs, qualified by monosyllabic suffixes (or prefixes) with adverbial value. For example: there is no word which corresponds to the word 'moon', but there is a verb that would be in english 'mooning' or 'to moon'. 'The moon shone over the water', one would say 'hlör u fang axaxaxas mlo', that is in its order 'upward (hacia arriba), behind lasting-flowing it was mooning'. (Xul Solar translates with brevity 'behind the onstreaming, it mooned'. 'upa tras perfluye luno'.)

the previous refers to the language of the austral hemisphere. In the boreal hemisphere (whose Ursprache there are very few details about in the eleventh volume), the primordial cell is not the verb, but the monosyllabic adjective. nouns are formed of an accumulation of adjectives. One does not say 'moon', one says 'aerial-bright over round-dark' or 'vaguely oranging skyful' or some other aggregation. In the chosen example the mass of adjectives correspond to a real object; the fact is purely fortuitous. In the literature of this hemisphere (as in the subsistent world of Meinong) ideal objects abound, summoned and dissolved in a moment, according to poetic necessities. Mere simultaneity at times determines them. There are objects composed of two ends, one of a visual character and the other auditory: the colour of the east and the remote cry of a bird. There are many of them: the sun and the water upon the chest of a swimmer, the vague tremulous pink that you see with your eyes shut, the feelings of a person who lets the rivers and dreams carry them. Those objects of the second degree can combine themselves with others; the process, by means of certain abbreviations, is practicably infinite. There are famous poems composed of just one enormous word. This word constitutes a poetic object created by the author. The fact that no-one believes in the reality of nouns paradoxically makes it so they are unending in number. The languages of the boreal hemisphere of Tlön possess all the names of the indo-european languages and many more.

It is not exaggerated to affirm that the classical culture of Tlön understands only one discipline: psychology. The others are subordinated to that. I have said that the people of this planet believe in the universe as a series of mental processes, that don't develop in a space but in a succesive way in time. Spinoza attributes to [its?] inexhaustible divinity the attributes of extension and of thought; no-one in Tlön would understand the juxtaposition of the first (which is only typical of certain states) and of the second - which is a perfect synonym of the cosmos-. It is said with other words: they do not believe the spatial lasts in time. The perception of a [humareda] on the horizon and afterwards the countryside aflame and afterwards the half put-out cigar which caused the burning is considered an example of the association of ideas.

This monism or idealism completely invalidates science. To explain (or to judge) a fact is to unite it with another; that tying, in Tlön, is a later state of the subject, that cannot affect or illuminate the previous state. Each mental state is irreducible: the mere fact of naming it - id est, of classifying it - implies a falsehood. From that one would start to deduce that there are no sciences in Tlön - not even rationalisations. The paradoxical truth is that they exist, in almost innumerable number. With philosophies occurs what occurs with the nouns in the [boreal] hemisphere. The fact that all philosophy is an [antemano] of a dialectical game, a Philosophie des Als Ob, has contributed to their multiplication. Incredible systems abound, but of pleasant construction or of a sensational kind. The metaphysicians of Tlön do not seek truth or even likeness: they seek astonishment. They judge metaphysics to be a branch of literary fantasy. They know that a system is nothing other than the subordination of all aspects of the universe to any one of them. Until the phrase 'all the aspects' is rejectable, because it supposes the impossible addition of the present moment with the preterites. Nor is the plural 'the preterites' permitted, because it supposes another impossible operation... One school declares that it has already oversome 'all of time' and that our life is hardly a crepuscular memory or reflection, without a doubt falsified or mutilated, by an irrecoverable process. Another, that the history of the universe - and within it our lives and the most tenuous detail of our lives - is the writing produced by a subordinate god to teach to a demon. Another, that the universe is comparable to those cryptographies in which not all symbols are valid, and that only what happens every thirty nights is true. Another, that while we sleep here, we are awake on the other side and like that each person is two people.

Among the doctrines of Tlön, not one has deserved such scandal as materialism. Some thinkers had formulated it, with less clarity than fervour, like someone putting forward a paradox. To make understanding of this inconceivable thesis, a heresiarch of the 11th century devised the sophism of the nine copper coins, whose scandalous reputation lasts in Tlön, that of the [] []. There are many versions of this 'specious reasoning', which vary the number of coins and the number of findings; i have the most common here:

On tuesday, X crosses a deserted road and loses nine copper coins. On thursday, Y finds four coins on the road, a little rusted by the rain of wednesday. On friday, Z discovers three coins on the road. On friday morning, X finds two coins in the hall of his house. The heresiarch would like to deduce that the reality of this story - the continuity of id est - of the nine recovered coins.It is absurd (he affirmed) to imagine that four of the coins had not existed between tuesday and thursday, three between tuesday and friday afternoon, two between tuesday and dawn on friday. It is logical to think that they had existed - at least in some secret manner, forbidden to the understanding of men - in all those moments in all those three places.

The language of Tlön resists the formulation of this paradox; most would not understand them. The defendants of common sense limited themselves, at first, to denying the truth of this anecdote. They repeated that it was a verbal fallacy, based on a reckless use of two neological voices, not authorised for use and foreign to all serious thought: the verbs find and lose, which tolerated a petition of principle, because they assume the identity of the first nine coins and the last ones. They remembered that every noun (person, coin, thursday, wednesday, rain) only have metaphorical value. They denounced the perfidious circumstance of 'a little rusted by the rain of wednesday', which presupposes what it's trying to demonstrate: the persistence of the four coins between thursday and tuesday. They explained that one thing is sameness and the other is identity and they formulated a type of reductio ad absurdum, that is a hypothetical case of nine people who suffer a pain on nine successive nights. Would it not be ridiculous - they asked - to imagine that that was the same pain? They said that nothing moved the heresiarch but the blasphemous proposition of attribution of the divine category of being to some simple coins which at times denied plurality and at others did not. They argued: if equality tolerates identity, they would also have to admit that the nine coins were only one.

Incredibly, these refutations were not definitive. A hundred years after the statement of the problem, a thinker no less brilliant than the heresiarch but from an orthodox tradition, formulated a very daring hypothesis. That happy conjecture states that there is only one subject, that that indivisible subject is every being in the universe and that those are the organs and masks of divinity. X is Y and is Z. Z finds three coins because he recalls X losing them, X finds two in the hall because he remembers that the others have been found... The eleventh volume lets us understand that these three capital reasons determined the total victory of this idealistic pantheism. The first, the repudiation of solipsism; the second, the possibility of conserving a psychological base for the foundations of the sciences; the third, the possibility of conserving the cult of gods. Schopenhauer (the passionate and lucid Schopenhauer) formulates a very similar doctrine in the first volume of Parerga una Paralipomena.

The geometry of Tlön includes two rather distinct disciplines: visual and tactile. The latter corresponds to ours and is subordinate to the first. The basis of visual geometry is the surface, not the point. This geometry does not know of parallels, and states that a person who moves modifies the forms that surround them. The basis of its arithmetic is the idea of indefinite numbers. They emphasise the importance of the concepts of more and less, that our mathematics symbolises with > and <. They affirm that the poperation of counting modifies quantities and converts them from indefinite into definite. The fact that several individuals counting the same quantity obtain the same result, is for the psychologists an example of the association of ideas or the good exercise of the memory. We already know the subject of consciousness is one and eternal.

In the literary fashions the idea of a unique subject is also allpowerful. It is rare that books stay shut. There is no concept of plagiarism: they have established that all works are works of one author, who is atemporal and anonymous. The critics are used to inventing authors: they choose two dissimilar works - the Tao Te Ching and A Thousand and One Nights, let's say - attribute them to the same writer and later determine with probity the psychology of that interesting homme de lettres

Books are also different. Fiction contains only one argument, with all the imaginable permutations. Natural philosophy invariably contains the thesis and antithesis, the rigourous pros and cons of a doctrine. A book that does not enclose its counter-book is considered incomplete.

Centuries and centuries of idealism have not failed to influence reality. The duplication of lost objects is not infrequent in the oldest regions of Tlön. Two people look for a pencil; the first one finds it and says nothing; the second finds a second pencil no less real, but more adjusted to their expectations. Those secondary objects are called hrönir and are, although in some way snubbed, a little larger. Until not long ago the hrönir were casual children of distraction and forgetting. It seem s untrue that their mechanical production hardly dates a hundred years, but this is what it states in the eleventh volume. The first attempts were sterile. The modus operandi, without doubt, merits recording. The director of one of the state prisons communicated to the prisoners that in the old riverbed there were some tombs and offered liberty to whoever brought an interesting finding. During the months preceding the excavation they had been shown laminated photographs of what they were going to look for. That first attempt tested what hope and enthusiasm could inhibit; a week of work with pick and shovel resulted in exhuming no other hrön than a rusty wheel, of a later date than the experiment. This they maintained a secret and reproduced it in four schools. In three it was an almost total failure; in the fourth (whose director had casually died during the first excavations) the pupils exhumed - or produced - a gold mask, an ancient sword, two or three clay amphoras and the [verdinoso] and mutilated torso of a king with an inscription on his chest that no-one has yet been able to decipher. in this way the inappropriateness of witnesses who know the natural experimentation of the search... the investigations in the large produced contradictory objects; now one prefers indivdual and almost improvised works. the methodical elaboration of hrönir (says the eleventh volume) has rendered prodigious services to the archaeologists. it has allowed the past to be interrogated and almost modified. a curious work: the hrönir of second and third grade - hrönir derived from other hrön, hrönir derived from the hrön of a hrön - exaggerate the aberrations of the initial one; the fifth generation are almost uniform; the ninth are confusable with the second, in the eleventh is a purity of lines that the originals do not have. the process is periodic; the hrön of the twelfth grade is already starting to decay. at once stranger and purer than all hrön is the ur: the thing created by suggestion, the object [educido] by hope. the great gold mask which i mentioned is a shining example.

things duplicate themselves in tlön; prohang by themselves to erase and to lost their details when people forget them. the classic example is that of a threshold which i lost while visiting a beggar and lost from his sight at his death. at times some birds, a horse, have saved the ruins of an ampitheatre.


postscript of 1947. i reproduce the previous article just as it appeared in the anthology of fantastic literature, 1940, with no excision but a few metaphors and a sort of summary [burlon] which now seems frivolous. so many things have happened since that date... i will limit myself to remembering them.

in march of 1941, a handwritten letter from gunnar arfjord was discovered in a book by hinton that had been herbert ashe's. the envelope had the postmark of ouro preto; the letter elucidated completely the mystery of tlön. its text corroborated the hypothesis of martinez estrada. at the beginning of the 17th century, on a night in lucerne or london, tis splendid history began. a benevolent secret society (which had dalgarno and later geprge berkeley among its members) [surgio] to invent a country. the vague initial progarmme featured "hermetic studies", philanthropy and the kabala. from this first epoch dates andrea's curious book. at the end of some years of [conciliabulos] and premature synthesis they comprehended that a generation would not be enough to articulate a country. they resolved that each one of the masters that made it up would choose a disciple to continue the work. it was a hereditary disposition [prevalecio]; after a hiatus of two centuries the persecuted fraternity resurges in america. until 1824, in memphis (tennessee) on eofthe affiliates converses with the ascetic millionaire ezra buckley. he ceases to sok with anyone [desden] - and he laughs about the modesty of the project -. he says that it is absurd in america to invent a country and propose the invention of a planet. to this gigantic idea add another, born of his nihilism 2: that of guarding the enormous work in silence.

they circulated therefore the twenty volumes of the encyclopedia britannica; bucley suggested a methodical encyclopedia of the illusory planet. it left them their [cordirlleras] [auriferas], their navigable rivers, their [prostibulos] and their dollars, under one condition: "the work would not agree with the impostor jesus christ". buckley disbelived in god, but wished to demonstrate to a nonexistent god that morso men are capable of conceiving a world. buckley is poisoned in baton rouge in 1828; in 1914 the society sends to its collaborators, who were three hundred, the final volume of the first encyclopedia of tlön. the edition is secret: the forty volumes it comprises (the work much vaster than the people had undertaken) would be the base of another much smaller, redacted not in english but in one of the languages of tlön. this revision of an illusory world is called provisionally orbis tertius and one of its modest demiurges was herbert ashe, i don't know whether as agent to gunnar erfjord or as affiliate. his reception of an example of the eleventh volume seemed to favour the second. but, and the others? until 1942 the works got worse. i recall with a singular clearness one of the first ones and felt i'd sensed its premonitory character. it occurred in a department of laprida street in front of a light and high balcony that looked out on the decline. the princess of faucigny lucinge had received her silver crockery from poitiers. from the vast end of a drawer sealed by international stamps immobile fine things were emerging: silverware from utrecht and paris with tough heraldic fauna, a samovar. between them - with a perceptible and tenuous tremor of a sleeping bird - mysteriously [latia] a [brujula]. the princess did not recognise it. the blue needle yearned for the magnetic north; the meso case was concave; the letters of sphere corresponded to one of the alphabets of tlön. so was the first intrusion of the fantastic world into the real. a chance that worries me is that i was also a witness to the second. it occured a few months afterwards, in a brazilian's [pulperia], in the chinchilla negra. amorim and i went back to sant'anna. rising of the tacuarembo river obliged us to try (and to bear) this rudiemtary hospitality. the [pulpero] accommodated us with some crunchy camp beds in a large piece, obstructed by barrels and skins. we laid down, but could not sleep til dawn thanks to the drunkenness of an invisible neighbour, alternating inextricable [denuestos] with gusts of wind of [milongas] - or rather with gusts of wind of one sole [milonga]-. as is to be supposed, we attributed to the [fogosa] beer of the patron this insistent [griterio]... in the morning, the man was dead in the hallway. the harshness of the voice had [enganado] us: it was a young man. in his delirium he had dropped from the gunner several coins and a brilliant meso cone, the diameter of a finger. in vain a boy tried to retrieve this cone. a man hardly certain to bring it up. i had it in the palm of my hand for a few minutes: i remember that its weight was intolerable and after retiring the cone, i lost the oppression. i also remember the precise circle that I record myself in the flesh. this evidence of a very tiny object that was also extremely heavy left a disagreeable impression of disgust and fear. a peasant suggested they throw it in the fast-flowing river. amorim acquired it by means of a few pesos. no one knew a thing about the dead man, save "that he came from the frontier". these smal land very heavy cones (made of a meso that is not of this world) are an image of divinity, in certain religions in tlön.

here i end the personal part of my narration. [demas] is in the memory (when not in the hope or in the fear) of all my readers. it suffices me to remember or mention the subsequent works, with a mere brevity of words that the concave general ememory enriches or amplifies. until 1944 an investigator for the paper the american (from nashville, tennessee) exhumed in a memphis library the forty volumes of the first encyclopedia of tlön until this day we are discussing whether this discovery was casual or if it allowed the directors of the still nebulous orbis tertius. the second is likely. some incredible characteristics of the eleventh volume (for example, the multiplication of the hrönir had been eliminated or attenuated in the memphis example; it is reasonable to imagine that these [tachaduras] obeyed a plan to exhibit a world that would not seem too incompatible with the real world. the dissemination of objects from tlön in various countries would complement that plan...3 the work is what the international press [voceo] infinitely the "finding". manuals, anthologies, [resumenes], literal versions, authorised reimpressions and pirate reimpressions of the Major Work of Man finessed and carry on finessing the earth. almost immediately, reality ceded in more than one point. certainly it is that yearned for to yield. ten years ago some kind of symmetry with appearance of order - dialetical materialism, antisemitism, nazism - [embelesar] the people. why not submit oneself to tlön, to the minute and vast evidence of an ordered planet? it is useless to respond that reality is also ordered. perhaps it is, but in accordance with divine laws - i translate, to inhuman laws - that we never stop perceiving. tlön will be a labyrinth, but it is the labyrinth [urdido] by people, a labyrinth destined to be deciphered by people.

the contact and the customs of tlön have disintegrated this world. enchanted by its rigour, forgets and returns to forget that it is a rigour of chess-players, not of angels. the schoolshave already been penetrated by the (conjectural) "primitive language" of tlön; already the preachingof its harmonious history (and full of [commovedores] episodes) have obliterated what military prison in my youth; already the memories of a fictitiouspast occupy the site of the other, of which we know nothing but certainty - even if it is false -. numismatics, pharmacology and archaeology have been reformed. i understand that biology and mathematics are guarding their [avatar]. i dispersed dynasty of loners has changed the face of the world. their [tares] continue. if our provisions do not err, here in ten years someone will discover the one hundred books of the second encyclopedia of tlön.

therefore english and french and mere spanish will disappear from the planet. it doesn't matter to me, i carry on reviewing on the quiet days in the adrogue hotel the indecisive quevedian translation (that i do not think to offer to the print) of browne's urn burial....


1 haslam has also published a general history of labyrinths.

2 buckley as a freethinker, fatalise and defender of slavery.

3 there remains, naturally, the problem of the material of some objects.

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