What is Borges’s notion of the role of human beings in the determination and directing of their own history and evolution? According to Borges, what can the human creative powers, will, and imagination, accomplish?
This piece was fascinating to me, yet it’s intricacies of truth remain somewhat hidden. It is early, and I plan to engage with the story once more, but it strikes me how evenly the future the narrator predicts squares with the future that comes to fruition, despite all that has occurred. Our narrator is resolute, on the edge of death, and incredibly decisive in his actions, though we do not yet know what he intends to do. When he meets with Albert and learns the meaning of “The Garden of Forking Paths” and its exploration of the concept of time, surely he should take that knowledge and live through its truth, but he does not. He learns that there are an infinite number of futures, an infinite number of choices and lives he could live, all entirely independent of one another. Surely, armed with this knowledge, he could’ve pursued a different future, one that involved his escape, one that did not require the killing of Albert. But, inexplicably, he doesn’t. The future he journeys toward is consistent from the beginning of the story to the end. This concept was incredibly confusing to me. The story seems to present the reader with an idea, with a contradiction of human understanding. The reader begins to question time itself, the life they’ve lead, and indeed their own power to influence the events therein. Only just as we, as readers, begin to grapple with this paradox does our narrator follow along the path he has committed to, and end the life of the truth-giver. Just like that, the contradiction is dead, and we are left puzzled by its impact. Do we, as humans, actually have the power to adjust our narrative, to pursue a different future? This is a contradiction within itself. Is time linear, predetermined, or is our influence greater than the narrator exhibits? I cannot say I truly understand the deeper meaning the story attempts to communicate, but I one day hope to. I sincerely hope that life proceeds more like the creator of the labyrinth believes than the narrator. I hope my power and influence is my own.