Jorge Luis Borges and Beethoven

I think it's funny that I stumbled across Borges on a Australian publisher's website, because I tend to think South Americans as being a Western influence, but he came to me from the East.

In On Writing, Jorges Luis Borges discusses grand ideas. To be frank, I find them difficult because these essays call upon so much background literary knowledge, but it's humbling and enjoyable because it makes me realise that there's so much more to learn and such a long way more to go, in writing. That is consoling. It's like when a child is upset with himself and an adult pats him on the head and says, "it's okay, you're just a kid."

Due to a hereditary disease, Jorge Luis Borges' vision begun to fade in his early thirties and he became completely blind in his late 50s.

How difficult, it would be, for one to hold on to his will due to such a crisis? How devastating for a writer, who lives in the world of written words, who creates worlds with writing?

JLB continued to work with the help of his secretaries, by dictating and being read to. If I don't recall wrongly, some analysts suggested that his works might have become more concise because of his blindness - as he'd have to compose the writings in his head.

He's like Beethoven who lost his hearing but continued to compose music.

Over time, his hearing loss became profound: at the end of the premiere of his Ninth Symphony in 1824, he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience because he could hear neither it nor the orchestra.

I don't advocate liking writers or artists or any professionals because of their personal lives or misfortunes, nor that one's work should be accorded with more merit because of one's determination or effort. I think our works should be judged regardless of whether or not its creator act like assholes and that it is his/her private business if he/she chooses to behave much lesser than paragons of virtue. If I spend 50 years of my time to create a rubbish work, it's still rubbish. Etc, etc.

But I do admire persons so much more because of the challenges they face and overcome. And I do think that these things help make people more interesting. And interesting people tend to present interesting perspectives and produce interesting works.

Nevertheless, I am grateful for having both my sight and hearing.