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Borges's Elimination of Past and Future: A Paradox

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Given the influence of fiction and fantasy about time travel in popular literature, there is a certain urgency to overhauling human attitudes toward time. A first step appears in Walter Benjamin?s Illuminations. He works through the seemingly upside down thesis that facts only become historical posthumously. A sturdier, complementary approach to despatializing time is worked out by Jorges L. Borges in his paradoxical argument that the future emerges prematurely.

Across several of his essays, Borges analyzes several overlapping idealistic claims made by the likes of Berkeley, Hume, Leibniz and Schopenhauer, in achieving the composite view that the future in addition to the past are willful projects tossed off from our present condition. Future and past are not bookends for the present, but are modes of a human presence. These modes arise as we recast our present ordeals into forms that are most auspicious for maintaining a limited tenancy in selfhood.


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