“A Panoply of All Possible Futures” From “The Zahir” by Jorge Luis Borges

Next to the Anthony Burgess quote I previously posted, this is my favourite literary passage on money 

 

Sleepless, possessed, almost happy, I reflected that there is nothing less material than money, since any coin (a twenty centavo piece, for instance) is, in truth, a panoply of all possible futures. Money is abstract, I said over and over, money is future time. It can be an evening just outside the city, or a Brahms melody, or maps, or chess, or coffee, or the words of Epictetus, which teach the contempt of gold; it is a Proteus more changeable than the Proteus of the Isle of Pharos. It is unforeseeable time, Bergsonian time, not the hard, solid time of Islam or the Portico.

Adherents of determinism deny that in the world there is only one possible event, ed ist an event which could have happened; a coin symbolizes our free will. (I did not suspect that these “thoughts” were an artifice against the Zahir and a first manifestation of a demoniacal power.) After long and tenacious musings, I at last fell asleep, but I dreamed that I was the pile of coins guarded by a gryphon.

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