Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.
In 1977, in a lecture on blindness, the by-then partially blind Jorge Luis Borges wrote:
I want to end with a line of Goethe: “Alles Nahe werde fern,” everything near becomes far. Goethe was referring to the evening twilight. Everything near becomes far. It is true. At nightfall, the things closest to us seem to move away from our eyes. So the visible world has moved away from my eyes, perhaps forever.
Goethe could be referring not only to twilight but to life. All things go off, leaving us. Old age is probably the supreme solitude—except that the supreme solitude is death. And “everything near becomes far” also refers to the slow process of blindness, of which I hoped to show, speaking tonight, that it is not a complete misfortune. It is one more instrument among the many—all of them so strange—that fate or chance provide.
This lecture is one among many in Borges’s Selected Non-Fictions.
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9 across: Van Morrison classic from Moondance (7)
6 down: Order beginning with ‘A’ (12)