Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...

Of all man’s instruments, the most wondrous, no doubt, is the book. The other instruments are extensions of his body. The microscope, the telescope, are extensions of his sight; the telephone is the extension of his voice; then we have the plow and the sword, extensions of the arm. But the book is something else altogether: the book is an extension of memory and imagination.

Jorge Luis Borges

Sometimes I like a quote that says me to simply and sweetly what it is trying to say. Sometimes I like a quote that I read a few times over just to make sure that I get the intent. I read this one a few times.

Even though the physical book is an extension of the arms and hand in the making, the concept that drives the content is an extension of the mind - which is not a physical thing you can look at. You can look at a brain for sure - but it is involved in so many aspects it drives everything the eyes, the arms and so on.  The mind is more than a brain I think.

I think he is trying to get the view across in a way that each mind is also unique and therefore the knowledge, memory and imagination that is brought to bear upon a book is also incredibly unique.  If I look through a telescope and you look through a telescope, broadly speaking we may seem the same or very similar things.  Whereas if I fire up my imagination and you fire up yours, then the results would be vastly different. And books are formed by many of these independent imaginings, memories and learnings.


©2009 Artemis - poem by Robyn Nugent, book by Fiona Dempster


  1. The last line, that a book is an extension of memory and imagination, struck a cord, a truth, within me. I can't say it any simpler than that. Thank you for posting this one today.

  2. Wonderful quote Fiona! And to think of all the versions of any particular book....each one different depending on the mind and imagination of the reader!! Thanks for these great thoughts...energizing!

  3. Hi Fiona, great quote!
    I think this quote works quite well from my perspective as an altered book artist, even as altered artworks books are still an extension of our memory and imagination.

  4. Great quote. Thanks. I think the best books are those that leave room for the imagination to take flight.

  5. "an extension of memory and imagination" i like this so much!

  6. I'm late to this post... but it certainly resonates with me. It sort of makes each book unique and personal to the individual doesn't it?

  7. Hi Jennifer - I love how clever folk can capture a thought that and express it so well, such that it touches us and reflects a truth of our very own...

    Yes Patti - the multiplier effect of all the imaginations interpreting the books is amazing as well isn't it?

    I agree Robyn,the extensions continue to tell another story, and another...

    Thank Annie - imagination taking flight is a wonderful thing.

    It is so perfect isn't it V? I think every book I make is exactly that,and am sure tha nearly every book I read is that as well.

    Hi Jo - each book does become so personal and unique for each one of us I think. The exponential nature of that overwhelms me if I really try to think it thru...

  8. Having a few days off line thanks to a computer virus, I've been able to appreciate my pile of bedside books as well as my quote book. The book is an extension of memory and imagination .... indeed!
    I loved the weatherd log with the quote in the last post too.

  9. The connection between the reader and the book is a connection I truly understand and love.

  10. Brain vs. Mind is the perfect parallel to my sense of a book as both a physical object, a container, but also something that can't be grasped, limited or defined. Shelves and shelves full of unique intelligences waiting to be engaged! Thanks for this post.

  11. Hi Robyn - good to have you back! An extension of imagination and memory is such perfect way to put it; so glad you ave been enjoying your books...

    Hi Donna - so true , there is real connection is there not?

    Thanks G/TT - books can be so many things can't they? and described in so many ways; I think this is just one of them...


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.