Jorge Luis Borges voiced his suspicion that Joyce's days singly contained whole heavens and hells, innumerable iterations of compounded and independent universes. He obtained as his proof Ulysses. For Borges, the problem of infinity is its propensity to contain infinities; the trouble with eternity, of course, is likewise, that within an endlessness are trammeled endless other lengths of endlessnesses. Any division of the set is as large as the set, as small as the set--is the set.
Eternity is the duration of infinity. Time, as the measure of the change of things, is really in its definition the extent to which any thing changes; which, put more precisely, is the extent to which a thing changes so much as to become another thing. It is the marking of a thing's ceasing to be itself--ceasing, simply, to be.
Scale is the only manner by which every instant either is or is not a death; whether an infinite eternity is held between the ticks of a second-hand or between the impossible beginning and ending of a God defined by the impossibility of His beginning or end. Only distance, wilful distance, composes walls around zones of infinity, leaves its outdoor eternities derelict in other districts, a cold dawn forever leaving shadows at the silent crumbled feet of its neighborhoods.
With such a grasp of one's mind, a man is hard-pressed to do things: compose a novel, accept a career, love in the moment, love outside the moment, admire himself, disdain himself. Nothing holds for very long. The dominant feeling is of a constant and suspended melancholy, an ongoing nostalgia for the future, an erosion of the present, a surrender of the present to impossible tenses (the past turns into the future, the future is already the past). Writing a plot becomes comic, then tragicomic; living a life with a plot's structure becomes a curse so profound as to have no outward appearance or evidence. He points and points to places where perhaps it might be uncovered, but nobody sees (there is nothing to see), and they do not believe. He unbelieves it himself, in a final attempt to destroy it, but it leaves him only himself, and that is enough.
And somehow, despite the fact that the inevitable conclusion of his passion is the root equality of all lives (for all contain all), he finds his, in its way, the least endurable of all, because in its transfixion upon spiralling moments and vast emptinesses, meaningless coincidences and staggering randomness, it feels like at once the best and the least of all lives. Then he fears suddenly (again) that the "best" of lives is exactly the one with the least proof of its meaning, that its meaning is inaccessible, finally, incommunicable, that he is blessed of a terribly solitary truth, which encapsules everything but accomplishes nothing.