the aleph in the mirror

There is a dialogue between the King of Ireland and his court poet. But you are done with questions. ... death, poetry, and the Aleph—"one of the points in space that contain all points." Later in the story, a business on the same street attempts to tear down Daneri's house in the course of its expansion. You think: Perfect–. Now you are older, and you know there is no such thing as a perfect circle. You do not recall it being quite so silvery, or so quick to change its hues when angled this way and that. Some walk along atom-thick bridges or climb stairs twined around a nucleus. Dust has pooled around it; the shelf’s top is cracked with age. If you could see them at an even smaller scale – perhaps through a microscope – they would grow to steel mountains and canyons. You too, after all, are very close to your end. You still remember how you cleaned it every morning. Motivations are inventions of the upper mind; actions emerge from telluric currents deep within, slow and inexorable and unseen. Dust has pooled around it; the shelf’s top is cracked with age. One of each pair is acting out, in faithful repetition, a single moment of your life. First published in September 1945, it was reprinted in the short story collection, The Aleph and Other Stories, in 1949, and revised by the author in 1974. At the beginning of the story, he is mourning the recent death of a woman whom he loved, named Beatriz Viterbo, and resolves to stop by the house of her family to pay his respects. The other member of the pair does not do anything familiar. You assumed that your presence in the circle was a constant; an immutable, objective fact of existence. Though by now he believes Daneri to be quite insane, the narrator proposes without waiting for an answer to come to the house and see the Aleph for himself. This relates to the theme of infinity present in Borges' story. Its esoteric meaning in Judaic Kabbalah, as denoted in the ancient theological treatise Bahir, relates to the origin of the universe, the "primordial one that contains all numbers." As in many of Borges' short stories, the protagonist is a fictionalized version of the author. The aleph (ﺍ, or ʼalif) is also the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, as well as the Phoenician, Aramaic, and Syriac alphabets. "The Aleph", sure, but nothing to do with a mirror and certainly nothing to do with Stamford Raffles. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished.

You rub your fingers over its surface and feel its roughness. Perhaps regret, or revenge, or a certain world-envy. What appears to be an unbroken curve will, under a magnifying glass, reveal itself to be full of bumps and concavities. The lock on the box no longer works, and the red satin lining its interior is faded. Though staggered by the experience of seeing the Aleph, the narrator pretends to have seen nothing in order to get revenge on Daneri, whom he dislikes, by giving Daneri a reason to doubt his own sanity. They walk, or climb, or read, or talk, exactly as you did in a single instant of time. "The Mirror and the Mask" embodies a common Borgesian theme: the sense of transgression in the act of creation and the quest for perfection. « Soy ciego y nada sé, pero preveo\rque son más los caminos »\r\rWe don't belong to anything\rThings are falling, dropping down\rAnd there's no sound \rWhile we take the hardest path\rTo meet ourselves in our memories \r\rAs in the Aleph\rI can see all the world spinning, \rA sad mirror\rAll our past and future\rWe were masqued and we'll be masqued\rFor all the time\rAll Those days\rOh dark days, obscene carnivals\rThey hurt like a cigarette\ron the heart\rOur restless hearts\rOur restless hearts\rThey hurt Do they notice, those tiny mirror-people?

There are infinitely more who would not see you at all.

In Borges' story, the Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. For many years you did not realize this. It crashes against the floor. Those shapes are flawed as well; they have their own irregularities, too minute to be perceived. Why is this the moment, of all moments, that you have chosen to return to it? "The Aleph" (original Spanish title: "El Aleph") is a short story by the Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. A small, polished-wood box rests on a shelf. He also states his belief that the Aleph in Daneri's house was not the only one that exists, based on a report he has discovered, written by "Captain Burton" (Richard Francis Burton) when he was British consul in Brazil, describing the Mosque of Amr in Cairo, within which there is said to be a stone pillar that contains the entire universe; although this Aleph cannot be seen, it is said that those who put their ear to the pillar can hear a continuous hum that symbolises all the concurrent noises of the universe heard at any given time.

Do your hands crash through silvery mountains, or wipe thousands of rooms into dust with a single swipe? Within the box is is a perfect circle. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. There are ridges upon ridges, indents within indents, complexifying with each progressive magnification until they yield spiraling archways and interlacing walls weaving countless rooms, corridors, even streets. According to some the story also makes reference to Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy in the poet Daneri's name ("Dan" from Dante and "eri" from Alighieri) and in Beatriz' name. You felt a certain affection for the box as you wiped off night-accumulated dust. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping, or confusion.

He then takes his leave of Daneri and exits the house. Aleph or Alef (א), is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the number 1 in Hebrew. Aleph is also the first letter of the Urdu and Persian alphabet, which are both written using Arabic script. The Aleph in the Mirror A small, polished-wood box rests on a shelf. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand...[1]. The years since have not been any kinder to it than they have been to you. So why now? Back then it was polished and bright. There is nothing more. You pulled back the curtains at the far side of the room and newborn sunlight rushed across the uncarpeted floor.


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