It was the insomnia
Cataure, the Indian, was gone from the house by
stayed because her fatalistic
heart told her that the lethal sickness would follow her, no matter what,
to the farthest edge of the Earth.
No one understood Visitacion's
"If we don't ever sleep again, so
much the better," Jose Arcadio Buendia said in good humor.
"This way we can get more
out of life."
But the Indian woman explained that the most
fearsome part of the sickness of insomnia was not the impossibility of
sleeping, for the body did not
feel any fatigue at all, but its inexorable evolution toward a more
critical manifestation: a loss of memory.
When the sick person became used to this state of
vigil, the recollection of his
childhood began to be erased from his memory, then
the name and notion of things,
and finally the identity of
people and even the awareness of his
own being, until he sank into
a kind of idiocy that
had no past.
Jose Arcadio Buendia,
dying with laughter, thought that it
was just a question of one of the many illnesses invented by Indian
Ursula, just to be safe, took the
precaution of isolating
After several weeks, when Visitacion's terror seemed to have
died down, Jose Arcadio Buendia found himself rolling over in bed, unable to
Ursula, who had also awakened, asked him what was wrong,
and he answered: "I'm thinking about Prudencio Aguilar again."
They did not sleep a minute, but
the following day they felt so rested that they forgot about the bad night.
Aureliano commented with surprise at lunchtime that he felt very well
in spite of the fact that he had spent the whole night in the laboratory
gilding a brooch that he planned to give to Ursula for her birthday.
They did not become alarmed until the third day, when no one felt
sleepy at bedtime they realized that they had gone more than fifty hours
"The children are
awake too," the Indian said
with her fatalistic conviction. "Once it gets into a house no one can escape
They had indeed contracted
the illness of
Ursula, who had learned
from her mother the medicinal value of plants, prepared and made them all
drink a brew of monkshood, but they could not get to sleep and spent the whole
day dreaming on their
In that state
of hallucinated lucidity, not only did they see the
images of their own
dreams, but some
saw the images dreamed by others.
It was as if the house were full
Sitting in her rocker in a
corner of the kitchen, Rebeca
dreamed that a man who looked very much like her, dressed in white linen and
with his shirt collar closed by a gold button, was bringing her a bouquet of
He was accompanied by a woman with delicate hands who took out
one rose and put it in the child's hair.
Ursula understood that the man
and woman were Rebeca's parents, but even though she made a great effort to
recognize them, she confirmed her certainty that she had never seen them.
In the meantime, through an oversight that Jose Arcadio Buendia never
forgave himself for, the candy animals made in the house were still being sold
in the village.
Children and adults
sucked with delight on the delicious little green roosters of insomnia, the
exquisite pink fish of insomnia, and the tender yellow ponies of insomnia, so
that dawn on Monday found the whole village awake.
No one was alarmed
On the contrary, they were happy at not sleeping because
there was so much to do in Macondo in those days that there was barely enough
They worked so hard that soon they had nothing else to do and
they could be found at three o'clock in the morning with their arms crossed,
counting the notes in the waltz of the clock.
Those who wanted to
sleep, not from fatigue but because of the nostalgia for dreams, tried all
kinds of methods of exhausting themselves.
They would gather together
to converse endlessly, to tell over and over for hours on end the same jokes,
to complicate to the limits of exasperation the story about the
It was an endless game in which the narrator asked if they wanted
him to tell them the story about the capon, and when they answered yes, the
narrator would say that he had not asked them to say yes, but whether they
wanted him to tell them the story about the capon.
When they answered
no, the narrator told them that he had not asked them to say no, but whether
they wanted him to tell them the story about the capon.
remained silent the narrator told them that he had not asked them to remain
silent but whether they wanted him to tell them the story about the capon.
No one could leave because the narrator would say that he had not asked
them to leave but whether they wanted him to tell them the story about the
capon, and so on and on in a vicious circle that lasted entire
When Jose Arcadio Buendia realized that the plague had invaded
the village, he gathered together the heads of families to explain to them what
he knew about the sickness of insomnia, and they agreed on methods to prevent
the scourge from spreading to other towns in the swamp.
That was why
they took the bells off the goats, bells that the traders had swapped them for
macaws, and put them at the entrance to the village at the disposal of those
who would not listen to the advice and entreaties of the sentinels and insisted
on visiting the village.
All strangers who passed, through the streets
of Macondo at that time had to ring their bells so that the sick people would
know that they were healthy.
They were not allowed to consume anything
during their stay, for there was no
doubt but that the illness was transmitted by mouth, and
all food and drink
had been contaminated by insomnia.
In that way they kept the plague
restricted to the perimeter of the village.
was the quarantine that the day came when
the emergency situation was accepted
as a natural thing and life was organized in such a way that
work picked up its rhythm again and no one
worried any more about the useless habit of sleeping.
It was Aureliano
who conceived the formula that was to
protect them against loss of memory for several months.
discovered it by chance.
An expert insomniac, having been one of the
first, he had learned the art of silver work to perfection.
One day he
was looking for the small anvil that he used for laminating metals and he could
not remember its
His father told him: "Stake."
the name on a piece of paper that he pasted to the base of the small anvil:
In that way he was sure of not forgetting it in the
It did not occur to him that this was the first manifestation
of a loss of memory, because the
object had a difficult name to remember.
few days later he discovered that he had trouble remembering almost every
object in the laboratory.
Then he marked them with their respective
names so that all he had to do was read the inscription in order to identify
When his father told him about his alarm at having forgotten even
the most impressive happenings of his childhood, Aureliano explained his method
to him, and Jose Arcadio Buendia put it into practice all through the house and
later on imposed it on the whole village.
With an inked brush he marked
everything with its name: table, chair, clock, door, wall, bed, pan.
He went to the corral and marked the
plants: cow, goat,
pig, hen, cassava, caladium, banana.
Little by little, studying the infinite possibilities of a loss of
memory, he realized that the day might come when things would be recognized by
their inscriptions but that no one would
remember their use.
Then he was more explicit.
The sign that he
hung on the neck of the cow was an exemplary proof of the way in which the
inhabitants of Macondo were prepared to fight against loss of memory: This
is the cow. She must be milked every
morning so that she will
produce milk, and the milk must be boiled in order to be mixed with coffee to
make coffee and milk.
Thus they went on living in a reality that was slipping away,
momentarily captured by words, but which would escape irremediably when they
forgot the values of the written letters.
the beginning of the road into the
swamp they put up a sign that said MACONDO
and another larger one on the main street said
In all the houses keys to
memorizing objects and
feelings had been written.
But the system demanded so much vigilance
and moral strength that many
succumbed to the
spell of an imaginary reality, one
invented by themselves, which was less practical but more comforting.
Pilar Ternera was the one who contributed most to popularize that
mystification when she conceived
of the trick of reading the past in cards as she had read the future
By means of that recourse the insomniacs began to live in a
reality built on the uncertain alternatives of
the cards, where a father was
remembered faintly as
the dark man who had arrived
at the beginning of April and a mother was remembered only as the dark
woman who wore a gold ring on her
left hand, and where a
birth date was reduced to the last Tuesday on which a lark sang in the laurel
Defeated by those practices of consolation, Jose Arcadio Buendia
then decided to build
the memory machine that he had desired once in order to remember the marvelous
inventions of the gypsies.
The artifact was based on the
possibility of reviewing every morning, from
beginning to end,
the totality of knowledge acquired during
He conceived of it as
a spinning dictionary that
a person placed on the axis could operate by means of a lever, so that
in very few hours there
would pass before his eyes the notions most necessary for life.
had succeeded in writing almost fourteen thousand entries when
along the road from the swamp a
strange looking old man with the sad sleepers' bell appeared, carrying a
bulging suitcase tied with a rope and pulling a cart covered with black cloth.
The old man went straight to the house of Jose Arcadio Buendia.
Visitacion did not recognize him when she opened the door and she
thought he had come with the idea of selling something, unaware that nothing
could be sold in a village that was sinking irrevocably into the quicksand of
He was a decrepit man.
Although his voice was also
broken by uncertainty
and his hands seemed to doubt the
existence of things, it was evident
that he came from the world
where men could still sleep and remember.
Jose Arcadio Buendia was
found sitting in the living room fanning himself with a patched black hat as he
read with passionate attention the signals pasted to the walls.
man greeted him with a broad show of
afraid that he had known him at
another time and that he did not
But the visitor was aware of his
The old man felt
himself forgotten, not with
the irremediable forgetfulness of the heart, but with a different kind of
forgetfulness, which was more cruel and irrevocable and which he knew very well
because it was the forgetfulness of
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, from one hundred years
This web site is not a commercial web site and
is presented for educational purposes only.
This website defines a
new perspective with which to engage reality to which its author adheres. The
author feels that the falsification of reality outside personal experience has
forged a populace unable to discern propaganda from reality and that this has
been done purposefully by an international corporate cartel through their
agents who wish to foist a corrupt version of reality on the human race.
Religious intolerance occurs when any group refuses to tolerate religious
practices, religious beliefs or persons due to their religious ideology. This
web site marks the founding of a system of philosophy named The Truth of the
Way of the Lumière Infinie - a rational gnostic mystery religion based
on reason which requires no leap of faith, accepts no tithes, has no supreme
leader, no church buildings and in which each and every individual is
encouraged to develop a personal relation with the Creator and Sustainer
through the pursuit of the knowledge of reality in the hope of curing the
spiritual corruption that has enveloped the human spirit. The tenets of The
Truth of the Way of the Lumière Infinie are spelled out in detail on
this web site by the author. Violent acts against individuals due to their
religious beliefs in America is considered a hate crime."
site in no way condones violence. To the contrary the intent here is to reduce
the violence that is already occurring due to the international corporate
cartels desire to control the human race. The international corporate cartel
already controls the world central banking system, mass media worldwide, the
global industrial military entertainment complex and is responsible for the
collapse of morals, the elevation of self-centered behavior and the destruction
of global ecosystems. Civilization is based on co÷peration. Co÷peration does
not occur at the point of a gun.
American social mores and values have
declined precipitously over the last century as the corrupt international
cartel has garnered more and more power. This power rests in the ability to
deceive the populace in general through mass media by pressing emotional
buttons which have been preprogrammed into the population through prior mass
media psychological operations. The results have been the destruction of the
family and the destruction of social structures that do not adhere to the
corrupt international elites vision of a perfect world. Through distraction and
coercion the direction of thought of the bulk of the population has been
directed toward solutions proposed by the corrupt international elite that
further consolidates their power and which further their purposes.
views and opinions presented on this web site are the views and opinions of
individual human men and women that, through their writings, showed the
capacity for intelligent, reasonable, rational, insightful and unpopular
thought. All factual information presented on this web site is believed to be
true and accurate and is presented as originally presented in print media which
may or may not have originally presented the facts truthfully. Opinion and
thoughts have been adapted, edited, corrected, redacted, combined, added to,
re-edited and re-corrected as nearly all opinion and thought has been
throughout time but has been done so in the spirit of the original writer with
the intent of making his or her thoughts and opinions clearer and relevant to
the reader in the present time.
Fair Use Notice
This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has
not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making
such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of criminal
justice, human rights, political, economic, democratic, scientific, and social
justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such
copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the United States
Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on
this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes. For more information see: www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If
you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own
that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
© Lawrence Turner
All Rights Reserved