It is a terrible thing never to forget. In the great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges’s story Funes the Memorious, a young man named Ireneo Funes is condemned to remember every moment he has ever lived. His present, his past, his most trivial memories are constantly “so rich and so clear” to him that his life has become unbearable.
Not in any of the most dazzling, most fiercely splendid cities in the history of the world, Borges writes — not in Babylon, or London or New York — has anyone ever been assailed by “the heat and pressure of a reality as inexhaustible as that which battered Funes day and night”.
I no longer find it possible to read Borges’s story without thinking of