I would rather be any other primate to an ignorant human…
–Bruno Borges, translated from the Portuguese via Google
So one of the first “reviews” in mainstream Brazilian media has come out on the Bruno Borges-penned book TAC: Theory of Absorption of Knowledge, and…
The caveat here is that Borges is a hugely-hyped figure in Brazil—in part, especially in the mainstream, with ridicule. So what you have in this review/article in Globo.com is a lot of “cherry-picking” of the most provocative bits from the book. I’m going to reserve “judgement” of the text until I actually read the entire thing—in English. Because right now I’m depending on Google Translate.
What are some of the basic themes of TAC, according to the article?
I. “Asexual sages” are the way to go:
Borges seems to heap praise on what he terms (and remember, I’m depending on Google here to translate this): “asexual sages” like Leonardo da Vinci, Jesus Christ, Plato, Heraclitus, Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, and…Michael Jackson (well…Jackson was sort of the archetype of the asexual sage in our era, somewhat). The author of the Globo.com review points out several times (twice in big type) that women were not included on this list, insinuating that Borges was a sexist pig. Plus: Borges might have said that child-rearing—like having sex in general—might take up too much time that could be used for valuable philosophizing (hence the possible women-bias).
As a woman, I really have no problem with Borges based on the “sages list” thing alone. Bonus: I have not yet read this book, so I don’t know exactly what he really said. Maybe he said that “woman parts” automatically puts one out of the running for enlightenment (sort of a St. Paul vibe) or “Look, I will lead her that I may make her male, in order that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males” (totally Gospel of Thomas, plus ancient Egyptians, apparently). I have to read the actual text—and context‚ to really suss this all out.
This “asexual sage” as basically the highest level of humanity bit, and general disdain for sex, sort of puts Borges in line to start a subreddit so…I am truly very interested to see if he actually becomes the first real religious/ideological “guru” of this current generation/era.
II. Discipline, discipline, discipline
Borges is going for a very ascetic lifestyle here, as a way of facilitating deep insights. Which puts him in the realm of a lot of the philosophers of old…as well as I guess Marshall Applewhite.
Again, to the sex point:
Although many do not know, the time we lose for our sexual impulsivities, preventing us from absorbing useful knowledge in order to create new things, is immense.Well, but an intimate relationship sometimes does not last 30 minutes? But that’s where the behavior factor comes in, in other words, the end justifies the medium.
That’s hardcore body-mortifying Gnostic stuff (as opposed to the mind-blowing orgasmic Gnostic stuff) right there. Add to that his supposed approval of fasting, and…a real opposite “energy” to a lot of the New Age stuff that has dominated over the last, what, hundred years?, emerges.
III. Vegetarianism, and no drugs
Okay, everything I’m listing now sort of rolls out of the first point. Borges is against meat-eating—I think??—leading to this quote, about people who…
would avoid eating things that are a source of pleasure to many, and which is most responsible for the addiction, for the gluttony in the food: the appreciation for the meat and its temperate derivatives, causing that the asexual vegans still increase their Rate of absorption of knowledge.
Also, no drugs. And…seemingly not a lot of sympathy for the “overweight” (and I place myself somewhere around there, sometimes) among us:
(…) smoke the holy herb daily, making it impossible to study or work with rigor, dispersion of the focus, help, sometime summer the absurdity of some obese can not lose weight, Claiming that it is predisposition or problems in the thyroid, but in fact just can not curb gluttony, and so they pay for a doctor to pick up a knife and cut their lard (…).
Again: Borges is going for the archetype of the body/materialist-denying Saint…at least according to these few translated quotes.
IV. The Hitler Thing
The author of the Globo.com piece seems to go out of their way to suggest that *possibly* Borges has sympathy with Hitler. It gets its own “bullet point” in the article, and I will do similar.
Here is the entire body of that bullet-point:
Another that was isolated, recalls Bruno Borges, was Adolf Hitler. The German Nazi leader appears in two passages of “TAC”, being called “calamitous” in both. The first comment is this: “And the calamitous Hitler, could he put into practice all his dreams included in his book ‘My Struggle’, written when arrested, in isolation, if he had not made use of practically all the items here in this Study, by which I did not put his name in any category so as not to inflame the hatred of readers who would not accept that he was seen as wise.
Borges quotes a passage from Laurence Rees’s “The Charisma of Adolf Hitler,” in which “his companions thought it strange that he never wanted to take a drink (veganism, gluttony) or have sex with a prostitute (asexual) Reading or drawing (absorbing knowledge), or eventually speaking to anyone who was around on some subject that he liked, strange that he seemed to have no friends or family and, consequently, was a man determined to be alone (isolation).
This is an extremely potentially “explosive” little bit, so I believe it’s super-important to read the source material, via a trusted translation, before passing judgement. Certainly, if Borges turns out to be a “Hitler wasn’t so bad” sort of “covert anti-Semite”…that’s a problem.
But again: this is not the whole context of the book, nor has it been translated in any sort of authorative way.
As I’ve said, I need to read this entire book.
Uh…and that’s it, basically. The author of the review also feels that Borges is somewhat of an awkward writer, almost as if he is translating from another language.
My “hot-take”—my “intuitive” take—
I feel like Borges will probably be genuinely a guru-type figure for the generation that desires that sort of individual. Is that good or bad? That remains to be seen.
My objective in these posts is to give you the info, and let you delve further and decide.
But…if there is anything else I have to say here…
Not sure what is holding me back from publishing my own metaphysical work, at this point.
Would you buy it?
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
Book Review: The Secret History Of The World
Did Society Fail The “Indigo Kids?”
An Alternate History Of Jack Parsons, Part 2: The Beast And The Geek