He told me the fellow in the alleyway was one Ireneo Funes, known for certain peculiarities such as avoiding contact with peo~. pIe and always knowing what. Highbrow, dandy, city slicker—Funes did not utter those insulting words, but I know He told me that the boy in the narrow street was one Ireneo Funes, and. IN “FUNES, T he Memorious,” Borges embarks upon an examination of the nature of communication. Ireneo Funes, the object of this fictional testimonial, is.
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The narrator, a version of Borges irenep, meets Ireneo Funes, a teenage boy who lives in Fray BentosUruguayin Borges’s cousin asks the boy for the time, and Funes replies instantly, without the aid of a watch and accurate to the minute. Borges returns to Buenos Airesthen in comes back to Fray Bentos, intending to relax and study some Latin. He learns that Ireneo Funes has meanwhile suffered a horseback riding accident and is now hopelessly crippled. Ffunes enough, Borges receives a note from Funes, requesting that the visitor lend him some of his Latin books and a dictionary.
Borges, disconcerted, sends Funes what he deems the most difficult works “in order fully to undeceive him”. Days later, Borges receives a telegram from Buenos Aires calling for his return due to his father’s ill health. As he packs, he remembers the books and goes to Funes’s house.
Funes’s mother escorts him to a patio where the youth usually spends his dark hours. As he enters, Borges is greeted by Funes’s voice speaking perfect Latin, reciting “the first paragraph of the twenty-fourth chapter of the seventh book of the Historia Naturalis ” by Pliny the Elder. Funes enumerates to Borges the cases of prodigious memory cited in the Historia Naturalisand adds that he marvels that those are considered marvellous.
He reveals that, since his fall from the horse, he perceives everything in full detail and remembers it all. He remembers, for example, the shape of clouds at all given moments, as well as the associated perceptions muscular, thermal, etc.
Funes has an immediate intuition of the mane of a horse or the form of a constantly changing flame that is comparable to our normal people’s intuition of a simple geometric shape such as a triangle or square.
In order to pass the time, Funes has engaged in projects such as reconstructing a full day’s worth of past memories an effort which, he finds, takes him another full dayand constructing a “system of enumeration” that gives each number a different, arbitrary name.
Funes the Memorious – Wikipedia
Borges correctly points out to him that this is precisely the opposite of a system of enumeration, but Funes is incapable ireeno such understanding. A poor, ignorant funfs boy in the outskirts of a small town, he is hopelessly limited in his possibilities, but says Borges his absurd projects reveal “a certain stammering greatness”. Funes, we are told, is incapable of Irenep ideas, of generalities, of abstraction; his world is one of intolerably uncountable details. He finds it very difficult to sleep, since he recalls “every crevice and every moulding of the various houses which [surround] him”.
Borges spends iremeo whole night talking to Funes in the dark. When dawn reveals Funes’s face, only 19 years old, Borges sees him “as monumental as bronze, more ancient than Egypt, anterior to the prophecies and the pyramids”. Borges explores a variety of topics in the text, such as the need of generalization and abstraction to thought and science. Funes may be compared to an autistic savantin that he has acquired an extraordinary ability, memorywithout the obvious need for study or practice.
The story raises the unresolved question of how much unfulfilled potential the human brain truly contains. The very existence of eidetic memory is controversial, although hyperthymesianow known as highly superior autobiographical memory HSAMthe ability to recall one’s past day-by-day, has been confirmed to exist by some neuroscientists Parker irenso al.
Even in these cases, however, the memory is not eidetic as, while exceptional, it only contains personally-relevant autobiographical information . The early death of Funes echoes the idea of unfulfilled potential, the wasted miracle of a plainsman with phenomenal abilities who lives and dies in obscurity.
The unheeded marvel is a common theme in Borges’s writing. Funes claims to have invented a system of enumeration which gives every numeral up to at least 24, its own arbitrary name.
The narrator argues that a positional number system is a better tool for abstraction. The narrator mentions that Locke postulated then rejected an impossible idiom “in which each individual thing, each stone, each bird and each branch would have its own name; Funes once projected an analogous language, but discarded it because it seemed too general to him, too ambiguous”  since it did not take time into account: Because Funes can distinguish every physical object at every distinct time of viewing, he has no clear need of generalization or detail-suppression for the management of sense impressions.
The narrator claims that this prevents abstract thought, given that induction and deduction rely on this ability. This is stated in the line “To think is to forget a irenek, to generalize, to abstract. In the overly replete world of Funes, there were nothing but details. Funes sits in a dark room and goes over the events in his past. As narrative this can be seen as extended version of insomnia. It is a fantastical presentation of a common human complaint.
Borges himself states the tale is a metaphor for this in the prologue to Artifices. The real-life case of Daniel Tammet b. Solomon Shereshevskiia stage ffunes mnemonist with a condition known as “hypermnesia”,  is described by the Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria fjnes his book, The Mind of a Mnemonist which some speculate was the inspiration for Borges’s story.
Further Skywriting on this topic. British-American neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks cites Luria’s book as the inspiration for his own book, Awakeningswhich is dedicated to Luria. Jill Funexalong with 10 others, can remember with great accuracy most days of their lives starting from the average age of The scientific term for their unique condition is ” hyperthymestic syndrome “, more recently known as highly superior autobiographical memory HSAM.
Price has stated that she, like Funes, views her memory as a curse. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This section needs additional citations for verification.
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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message. Because “memorious” is a rare word in modern English, some translators opt for this alternate translation.
Aust N Z J Psychiatry.
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