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Funes the Memorius

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by

Luke Thornton

on 12 November 2012

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Transcript of Funes the Memorius

Jorge Luis Borges Funes the Memorious Order of Presentation. Real life Funes.
The Gap between mind and body.
Unification of mind and body.
Is laughter is the best medicine?
The limits of observation.
Epistemological questions. The Gap Between Mind and Body. 'Pedro Leandro Ipuche has written that Funes was a precursor of the supermen,"a vernacular and rustic Zarathustra"' (87).
Bernardo's 'certain local pride and desire to show' (88).
'hopelessly paralysed' (89).
Before his fall, 'he had been what all humans are: blind, deaf, addled-brained, absent-minded.' (91).
'Now his perception and his memory were infallible.' (91). Unification of mind and body. 'My memory, sir, is like a garbage heap. (92).
'his awareness that the task was interminable, his awareness that it was usless' (93).
'I suspect, however, that he was not very capable of thought.' (94).
'His fatal congestion of the lungs neatly parallels the mental congestion that has rendered his life useless' (Bell-Villada, 106).
'These memories were not simple ones; each visual image linked to muscular sensations, thermal sensations, etc.' (92) The absurdity of Funes' tasks, such as inventing an 'original system of numbering' (92).

Irony - an unlimited memory, yet unable to think.

The juxtaposition of author and narrator.

It is through the subtle humour in Funes that his condition is made understandable to the reader. Comparison can be drawn with 'The Library of Babel'.

Borges is questioning the nature of knowledge: 'Funes takes careless pleasure in his growing store of data and has no desire to go beyond raw accumulation.' (Bell-Villada, 107).

Borges is questioning the reader how they see and interpret the world and their experiences.

'perhaps we all know deep down that we are immortal and that sooner or later all men will do and know all things' (92). Funes: an epistemological question? The limits of observation. Funes' memory allows him to become the ultimate observer.
In both physical and mental state, Funes is trapped in a state of passivity.
For a discourses to occur, both literary and medical, observation and active thought (diagnosis) must occur.
This comes through the narratorial voice: 'I remember (I think)' (87). 'I am so unperceptive' (88). Real life Funes? Savant syndrome, defined by Darold A Treffert as 'a rare,but extraordinary condition in which persons with serious mental disabilities [...] have some"island of genius" which stands in marked, incongrous contrast to overall handicap' (2010: 1-12).
Luria's The Mind of a Mnemonist. (1969). Is laughter the best medicine?
Full transcript