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The Writing of the God (Spanish: La Escritura del Dios; also sometimes entitled The God's Script) is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. It first appeared in Borges' short story collection The Aleph (El Aleph) in 1949.


A magician has been a prisoner in a cell for many years. The cell is bisected by a wall made of bars, on the other side of which sits a jaguar. Once a day the ceiling is opened, so as to feed the two prisoners, and for a moment light enters the cell and the man can see the jaguar. He comes to realize that the pattern of the animal's coat must in fact be a message written by god. Every day the light is let into the cell momentarily, and every day he studies the jaguar, trying to discover what god is telling him.

I considered that in the language of a god every word would enunciate that infinite concatenation of facts, and not in an implicit but in an explicit manner, and that not progressively but instantaneously. The Writing of God translation from Labyrinths (1962)

In a single instant he comprehends everything, but in learning everything he loses himself.

Re-revealing the Jaguar: Borges on Aesthetics (a mini-essay)

It is true that the jaguar is an awesome thing unto itself. But then why must the man be hidden from it? Could not the man have been walking home and seen the feline blocking its path? Is that which is terrifying not sufficiently sublime? Why was the man a prisoner? Why was the jaguar a prisoner?

The final revelation is an aesthetic one. To me this is obvious. To me it is clear that that which we call god is actually beauty. The religious sometimes confuse this when they say that beauty resides outside the world. The humanist sometimes confuse this when they say that beauty is the world. We are all magicians trapped in cells, and life happens in flashes, like light opening up from above.

It was necessary for Borges to make the man insensitive to the jaguar's form, having spent so many years together with it. It was necessary for the man to re-discover the jaguar's form. This is the aesthetic experience: re-discovering that which we already know, thus deifying the world and ourselves who are its creators.

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