Favorite Reads: Jorge Luis Borges, "Ficciones"Fourth in a series of favorite reads on human nature, society and information technology.
|The celebrated collection of short stories in "Ficciones" so impressed me that the author, Jorge Borges immediately became my favorite fiction writer ever. I vividly remember "The Babylon Lottery", about a society addicted to a lottery run by a mysterious company where winning meant the fulfillment of dreams while losing meant death. Of course, my one sentence summary does a huge injustice to the piece, which like all the stories in the book, seems to conjure up our deepest debates about human nature and how we should best structure our society.
My gushing admiration for Borges was shared by Herbert Simon, who devoted a chapter in his autobiography to a personal encounter with the great writer. Quoting Simon ("Models of My Life", Chap. 11 Mazes Without Minotaurs):
"In December 1970, Dorothea and I visited Argentina, where I was to give some lectures on management. In my correspondence about arrangements, I did something I have never done before nor since -- I asked for an audience with a celebrity. For a decade, I had admired the stories of Jorge Borges... I wrote to him...".
I wish I could have been there to witness the subsequent meeting between the great American social scientist and the Argentine literary giant.