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The Circular Ruins by Jorge Luis Borges is essentially about a man’s goal to create someone real out of his imagination. This idea toys with the concept of reality, the possibility that reality is ideal and that there is no matter and existence apart from what the mind can experience. This is masterfully done by Borges when he tells the tale of a magician and his project of dreaming a person into existence which exposes the reader to the possibility that reality is a product of minds.
Borges succeeds in conveying his message effectively because of the style that he uses which is through personal involvement and thus the magician-man’s initial failure and later success give the readers a share in his sadness and his triumph. One of the many interpretations of this piece revolves around the concept of dreams and reality. In accentuating the character of art and of reality, Borges presents the conclusion that dreams put in question not only the objective world, but also the personality of the dreamer.
The idea of dreaming another person into being strikes a parallelism with most religious doctrines of how God created man. While it has been said that Borges already dealt with this topic in his prior works (Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius), in The Circular Ruins, it is about the manifestation of human beings rather than simple objects. In narrating the magician’s quest in dreaming up another, Borges challenges the conventional wisdom by conjuring up fantastic, surreal stories involving themes regarding reality and man’s perception.
Perhaps the most striking part of this piece is when the magician, in dreaming a whole human being into reality finds that he himself is someone else’s dream. Seemingly Matrix-like, in the way it attempts to alter ones perception of reality as something that already exists from one’s creation or maybe the present reality is simply a product of another’s imagination.
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