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Reminds me of "Instantes" by Jorge Luis Borges:

If I were able to live my life anew, In the next I would try to commit more errors. I would not try to be so perfect, I would relax more. I would be more foolish than I've been, In fact, I would take few things seriously. I would be less hygienic. I would run more risks, take more vacations, contemplate more sunsets, climb more mountains, swim more rivers. I would go to more places where I've never been, I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans, I would have more real problems and less imaginary ones. I was one of those people that lived sensibly and prolifically each minute of his life; Of course I had moments of happiness. If I could go back I would try to have only good moments.

Because if you didn't know, of that is life made: only of moments; Don't lose the now.

I was one of those that never went anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, an umbrella, and a parachute; If I could live again, I would travel lighter. If I could live again, I would begin to walk barefoot from the beginning of spring and I would continue barefoot until autumn ends. I would take more cart rides, contemplate more dawns, and play with more children, If I had another life ahead of me.

But already you see, I am 85, and I know that I am dying.

When I was 5 I knew that I was going to die - maybe I had 80 more years. The difference between a cancer patient who knows they have 1 year to live and a 5 year-old who knows they have 80 years to live is really only a matter of perspective. Time is a funny thing.

I've spent my entire life trying to figure out how to make the most of life with the inevitability of death on my mind. It is still hard for me to imagine that most others really only consider their life within the context of death when death is 1, 5, maybe 10 years away.

I am moved by this video poem. I am in awe of the the beauty of Borges's words - it stopped my day in its tracks. However, on a discussion board amongst doers, builders and rationalist, I feel motivated to encourage more.

We live in a unique time in humanity - a time where our rationalization about death can extend beyond feel-good sentiments like 'make the most of your life'. We live in a time where we can extend our lives; we can use motivations like this to encourage our culture and society to put a greater emphasis on technologies that enable drastic life extension. Make the most of your life and others by working or influencing to extend our lifespans. Use this motivation to adopt the mindset that you can preserve all that is wonderful about life for hundreds, possibly thousands of years - influence your peers and hack longevity.

Sorry to butt in all pedantic, but I was unable to confirm that Borges wrote this poem (it's usually presented as a poem), and found a few online conversations where it's claimed it has been attributed to several different writers and is of uncertain authorship.

For some reason this comment bothers me, mostly because it's something that I do. I will often interrupt a beautiful moment with some irrelevant fact or correction. I notice that I always apologize for it, either politely like you did, or just in my head. Man to man, let's be honest, is it worth it?

I guess it depends how much of a Borges fan you are. For fans like myself, seeing "Instantes" attributed to Borges is like seeing "Twilight" attributed to Shakespeare.

Actually, "Instantes" started life as a Reader's Digest (prose) article in 1953. Over time, it was transcribed by several anonymous scribes, rendered in free verse, and attributed to different authors. I remember seeing it published in an Argentinian newspaper as a Borges poem (Clarin? if I remember correctly) sometime in the '80s, shortly after Borges' death. I think that was the first time it was attributed to Borges.

For more information:



Last link is a hyper-pedantic article in Spanish by a Borges scholar, with quote by Borges himself on the subject: "[If I was to live this life again] I would do the same things. Because one is like one is, no?"

Thanks, this clears things up considerably.

And, in turn, this comment bothers me, but I do know why. Your parent's comment wasn't irrelevant. Truth matters. Whenever I read a comment like yours, I think of the last part of Richard Lovelace's To Lucasta, Going to Wars:

    I could not love thee, dear, so much,
    Loved I not honor more.

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty" ... there sure are many who would rather believe some pretty fiction true, than appreciate that most of the best things we imagine aren't real.

The process by which I imagine attractive urban legends and inauthentic quotes being engineered is one of deliberate dishonesty (though of course some are honest errors), and it disgusts me. e.g. "you cannot fool all the people all the time, ..." - not Abraham Lincoln, "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance" - not Thomas Jefferson.

There's some step involved where a quoter thinks "this is beautiful/true; I want to share it" and then decides it would make more of a splash if it were branded with a Respected Name, and that repulses me.

True, being nit-picky in moments of beauty is annoying, but here the facts are not irrelevant. It's really interesting to look at all the permutations of the poem (like Nadine Stair's version http://www.omidia.com/thought/p_nadine.html) and the act of seeing the differences and particularities in each of the writing styles is beautiful in itself.

I value the information.

This comment made me think of the recent submission on geek behaviors in conversation: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1078529.

I liked that submission because I could easily identify with most of the behaviors in that list. I too often have the urge to correct someone over something arguably unimportant. It's so strange.

There is quite a difference between doing that in a real life situation and doing that in an online forum. A beautiful moment in a forum cannot possibly be interrupted in any way by another comment, because you only start reading other comments when such a moment has already passed.

Upvote isn't enough, I've to say this: "Beautiful writing".

You have excellent taste; go now and grab a copy of Borges's _Ficciones_ for more.


Seconded. The description that sold me compared reading Borges to having the top of your skull removed and a cool breeze caressing your cerebral cortex. Quite apt, actually.

Thank you, my friend. I was about to ask for a book recommendation. Ah, HNer's you're awesome ;) If you've any more recommendations please feel free to share. Thanks.

Also check "El Aleph". Any book of Borges short stories or essays is a winner, IMHO.

Brilliant writing. However I can't help but imagine that had he lived a more risky and foolish life he would have come up with a different set of regrets and wishes. Although that could just be me living in "the hypothetical alternative past" and not "the now".

That's it. I'm buying winter gear and going skiing again for the first time in 10 years. I'm a YSP-ie (s for Silly valley), damnit, not a broke-ass grad student anymore.

I miss the mountains.

Awesome! I did something similar over the past 2 years - I bought a couple of motor bikes (one off-road and one dual sport) and decided to get back into riding since I enjoyed it so much as a kid. Just got back from a trip in the Baja an had a blast!

Last summer, I also took my Dad on a trip where we rented a couple of Harleys and rode the PCH from S.F. to L.A. and then back to S.F on a more inland route (btw I am so jealous of those of you living in CA!). I can’t believe I waited so long to get back into something I loved so much...should have done it years ago.

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