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Do Not Give Up

Borges Takes On the I Ching

Borges Takes On the I Ching

My mind is still on Hexagram 52 (see yesterday’s post). It seems that Jorge Luis Borges had something to say about the ancient Chinese book of divination (and philosophy) that is germane to the discussion. It is called “For a Version of I Ching”:

The future is as immutable
As rigid yesterday. There is nothing
That is no more than a single, silent letter
In the eternal and inscrutable
Writing whose book is time. He who walks away
From home has already come back.
Our life Is a future and well-traveled track.
Nothing dismisses us. Nothing leaves us.
Do not give up. The prison is dark,
Its fabric is made of incessant iron,
But in some corner of your cell
You might discover a mistake, a cleft.
The path is fatal as an arrow
But God is in the rifts, waiting.

I love the poem’s final four lines. Here they are in Spanish:

Pero en algún recodo de tu encierro
Puede haber un descuido, una hendidura,
El camino es fatal como la flecha
Pero en las grietas está Dios, que acecha.

Happiness perhaps lies in discovering that mistake (descuido, which could also be translated as “neglect” or “omission”) or cleft (hendidura) and taking advantage of it. But then, is God waiting to entrap us anew, or to welcome us for evading His net?

5 thoughts on “Do Not Give Up

  1. That’s an interesting question. But would that same Buddhist see the escape to Nirvana as the result of some error or negligence in karma?

  2. One of the possible meanings you suggested was “cleft” which would lead to an escape, but I don’t think a Buddhist would see it as “the result of some error or negligence in karma.”

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