(By Borgesian, I mean the philosophy of Jorge Luis Borges.)

Context: I've been working on a book for quite a while. One of its main themes is the odd connections between random parts of history. Finding a clearer connection between Borges and the Borg would be a great help to me. (I doubt there's a clear connection between the two, but I'm looking for anything that would pass as an interesting connection in a work of fiction.)

I've read the collected fictions of Borges. He has a lot of surrealistic stuff about not being one person. Below, I've picked a few quotes that I could find online that I thought did a reasonable job of expressing this.

The Borg are known for assimilating life into themselves, for making it something more than the original. Borges writes: "The original is unfaithful to the translation" meaning that a modified work is greater than it's unchanged form.

The Borg take many different types of being into their collective. Borges says "I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist."

Is there evidence that at any point the creators of the Borg were influenced by the writings of Borges?

(more about the themes of Borges)

(Don't bother pointing out that Borg is short for Cyborg or that the g in Borges is pronounced like an h. Just because Borges wasn't the inspiration for the Borg doesn't mean that his writings couldn't have influenced the mindset of their creators, and it would be really cool if there is some evidence of Borges influencing the Borg.)

  • 2
    Then please join us in chat for some workshopping, because right now it's getting tanked by people who can't tell you're serious.
    – BESW
    May 9, 2013 at 1:31
  • 4
    It seems like a rather pointless exercise of the human mind's well- known capacity to see patterns in randomness. May 9, 2013 at 7:28
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    @MichaelBorgwardt More pointless than speculating about the motives for Gandalf's behavior? Many of the questions on this site are speculation about random connections....picking patterns out of the randomness. And there are many experts on the Borg here, who could easily have information I don't have that could help to make the connection appear less contrived.
    – 3nafish
    May 9, 2013 at 13:42
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    <_< (Looks suspiciously at Michael Borgwardt). Coincidence? Unlikely.
    – Ash
    May 9, 2013 at 13:56
  • 4
    Related meta discussion.
    – user1027
    May 10, 2013 at 1:41

2 Answers 2


Although they bear a passing similarity in name, there's very little similarity in philosophical position between Borges and the Borg.

More specifically, I fail to see how Borges' concepts of idealism (e.g. that all things are concepts of mind rather than physical body) could have directly influenced the writing of the Borg who, despite their desire for 'perfection' are thoroughly rooted in the idea of assimilating knowledge not by meditation or philosophical thought but rather by physically incorporating people into their 'collective'

Memory Alpha mentions a number of key Borg Philosophies that fail to tally with Borges' ideas but for me the killer is the fact that the Borg are the living embodiment of the sort of fascist/communist society he fought against;

In his own words;

"Well, I have been brought up to think that the individual should be strong and the State should be weak. I couldn't be enthusiastic about theories where the State is more important than the individual."

I've been unable to find any canon link between the writers of TNG and Borges. Obviously the absence of a thing doesn't prove its opposite but there's plenty of canon description of how the Borg originally came about; initially from Maurice Hurley's concept of an "insectile species" and latterly incorporating Melinda Snodgrass' cyberpunk and transhumanism elements.


Primarily the Borg were introduced to be not only a ridiculously intimidating threat to the Federation, but also to be the Dark Side to its presumed Light Side (if you don't mind while I cross the Trek/Wars streams for a moment).

The United Federation of Planets travels to new planets, observes new lifeforms, establishes contact with sentient races, and invites them to join that same Federation if they are willing and seen as 'evolved' enough.

The Borg travel to new planets, observe new lifeforms, establish contact with sentient races, and adds their biological and technological distinctiveness to their own if they are seen as 'evolved' enough.

These two motives are far more similar than they are disparate.

Their existence on the show was born out of the non-starter Ferengi as being the primary antagonists of The Next Generation. Their capitalist values were supposed to be a direct assault on the Federation's "socialist utopia". However, this idea was abandoned when everyone realized that the Ferengi were not scary -- they were goofy. They raised the bar by creating the Borg to serve as something larger than an 'opposed-yet-equal' force to the Federation.

See http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Borg#Background_information for a slightly more in-depth recounting of their conceptual history.

Short answer -- didn't have much to do with Borges, if at all.

  • 1
    This doesn't really answer the question.
    – Valorum
    Mar 2, 2014 at 21:31
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    Sure it does. The question is restated as Is there evidence that at any point the creators of the Borg were influenced by the writings of Borges? In citing the intentions of the authors, their motives are revealed, and Borges is not explicitly referenced. They set out to create a bad guy that was the "evil version" of the protagonist. That is where they originated from. There's no indication that any other factors were at play.
    – Stick
    Mar 2, 2014 at 21:45
  • As I said in my answer, the absence of a thing doesn't prove its opposite. There's zero references to the influence of Julian Huxley, but you could easily build a case that the writers must have known about his work...
    – Valorum
    Mar 2, 2014 at 21:48
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    I fail to see how telling the origin story of their conceptualization -- wherein things that do not pertain are omitted because they have nothing to do with the story -- is considered "proof by omission". That's like positing that the Circle of Fifths has applications as a guide for chord substitution, only to be told "it was only created as a tool for determining keys and their relative minors", and then asserting that that holds no weight because being told what a thing is != being told what it is not. The OP is easily established as incorrect by seeing the inspiration behind the Borg.
    – Stick
    Mar 2, 2014 at 21:55

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