Borges died in Geneva

Nothing is built on stone; All is built on sand, but we must build as if the sand were stone.


Borges chose Geneva as his home and, ultimately, the place where he is laid to rest. Borges, one of the leading writers of the 20th century, was the master of discovering paradoxes and of addressing irreconcilable contradictions in human existence.

He rarely provides answers in his writings. Instead, he takes us on a journey showing that every certainty triggers a new uncertainty. Borges's work gives a sobering look at the human condition and the limits of reason when it comes to solving personal and social problems.

His fiction is inspirational reading for addressing the core questions of humanity’s future, centred on the interplay between science, technology, and philosophy. His short story The Library of Babel,  written in 1941, is prophetic; it outlines the search for meaning in endless volumes of information, as we do today on the internet. Borges writes: ‘Nonsense is normal in the Library and that the reasonable (and even humble and pure coherence) is an almost miraculous exception.’ 

The truth exists somewhere in Borges’ library but is almost impossible to find as it is overwhelmed by irrelevant information, fake news, and competing narratives. 

In addressing informational chaos, Borges shies away from giving a naive hope of certainty, but he does provide some hope: He advocates for order in chaos and argues that by taking an occasional rest, we can stop, or at least slow down, the constantly shifting kaleidoscope of meaning. 

Borges wrote about Geneva:

Of all the cities in the world, of all the homelands that a man seeks to earn, Geneva seems to me to be the one most likely to bring happiness. Thanks to her I discovered, since 1914, French, Latin, German, Expressionism, Schopenhauer, the doctrines of Buddha, Taoism, Conrad, Lafcadio Hearn and nostalgia for Buenos Aires. Also love, frienship, humiliation and the siren call of suicide. Things remembered are always pleasant, even trials. These are personal reasons, but I can give a more general one. Unlike other cities, Geneva has no emphasis. Paris is not unaware that she is Paris. Benevolent London knows that she is London. Geneva, however, barely realizes that she is Geneva. Here are the towering shadows of Calvin, Rousseau, Amiel and Ferdinand Hodler, but no one speaks of them to the traveller passing through. Geneva, somewhat like Japan, has renewed herself without losing her past.


Here you can find an excerpt from Jovan Kurbalija's study published in the Geneva Digital AtlasEspriTech de Genève  Why does technology meet humanity in Geneva?