On rigor in science

In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the whole of a City, and the map of the Empire, the whole of a Province. With time, those Excessive Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Associations erected a Map of the Empire that had the Size of the Empire and coincided point for point with it. Less Devoted to the Study of Cartography, the Following Generations understood that that extensive Map was Useless, and not without Pitilessness submitted it to the Inclemencies of the Sun and the Winters. In the Deserts of the West remain tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and by Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Geographical Disciplines.

Suárez Miranda, Travels of Prudent Men, Book Four, Ch. XLV, Lérida, 1658

This is my translation of Del rigor en la ciencia by Jorge Luis Borges (most commonly known in English as On exactitude in science). It is nearly word for word.

November 2016