Having enjoyed my stay in Borges’s Labyrinths, I hasten to board another of his books, The Aleph and Other Stories. Before long, I find myself there again at the House on Shady Blvd, imagining it now as an Aleph, or what Borges’s friend Carlos calls “the only place on earth where all places are — seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending” (23). Hence also a kind of time machine. Is that not the ineffable core of my story? There I am again, sunlight shining, moonlight glinting amid stained glass windows, glass chandeliers, large mirrors. “I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance,” writes Borges. “The Aleph’s diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror’s face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors of earth and none of them reflected me […]. I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon — the unimaginable universe” (27-28).
Learn. Organize. Create. See where it leads. Explore the labyrinth. Or zoom out, switch over to “map” view. Learn to say “Hello!” in many languages. Review again the counterculture’s debates about cybernetics, ecology, and new media — but think, too, about recent interventions like Glitch Feminism, or maybe even the recent position paper, “Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence.” I don’t know enough yet about the latter to have developed a coherent “position” on it. I’m relying mainly on a younger version of myself’s research. Then again, maybe I should return to the new Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry. Which of these books is a path through the labyrinth? Are the others mere distractions? Or is acceptance of distraction itself a proper way forward?
We arrive at a digital labyrinth, without memory even of our name. “Your guess as good as mine,” says somebody to somebody. “Here, inside our walls,” begins an orator, “what exactly is taking place? An anamnesis? A catabasis? A war against psychic repression?” Audiences shift in their seats and begin to type.