Amnesia


In his poem La Luna (The Moon), Borges has a poetic vision, “The essential thing is what we always miss.”  This calls for reflection. If we are to penetrate this vision it will be necessary to uncover what the essential “thing” is; perhaps it is necessary to uncover first what the “essential” thing is. Either case will lead us to a destination that will confront us with a difficult question: what is our relationship to the essential thing? The essential thing is most certainly not a thing within our reach or our grasp. It most certainly is not a thing. Things manifest themselves; that is their nature. They embody an internal light that announces what they are while at the same time inviting us into a relationship out of which meanings arise. It is not this kind of “thing” of which the poetic vision advises. When the poet speaks of the “essential” he addresses what is of essence to his vision. What is of essence, what is essence itself, the poet is saying, is what we always miss. The poetic vision and the essence disclose a self-sameness. The poetic vision makes itself present in a transforming way. One who has been grasped by the vision is transported to a sense of self that is otherwise unattainable. The poetic vision and the essence come to presence in a specific way, an unconditional way: what comes to presence makes an appearance, comes out of hiding and confronts the poet. The poet speaks of the “essential.” This is his way of announcing that the Divine comes to presence, makes an appearance, and transforms him. This is what the poet insists that “we always miss.”  What we “miss” in this sense is that something does not come to mind, something eludes us. It lies just beyond our grasp: it does not come to presence. The Divine, the essence that always comes out of hiding, always eludes us. Poetry exists for one reason: to prevent the Divine from falling into forgetfulness.

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