Of all objects of envy, inspiration is the most enviable. Of all kinds of envy, envy of inspiration is the most damaging, to both the envying and the envied. “If I cannot be the light, let there be no sight.”
“Feeling pretty cockeyed, are you, after so much spying into places where you have no business?” said a hated and jovial voice. “Even if you were to rack your brains, you couldn’t pay me back in a hundred years for this revelation. One hell of an observatory, eh, Borges?” Carlos Argentino’s feet were planted on the topmost step. In the sudden dim light, I managed to pick myself up and utter, “One hell of a — yes, one hell of a.” The matter-of-factness of my voice surprised me. Anxiously, Carlos Argentino went on. “Did you see everything — really clear, in colours?” At that moment I found my revenge. Kindly, openly pitying him, distraught, evasive, I thanked Carlos Argentino Daneri for the hospitality of his cellar and urged him to make the most of the demolition to get away from the pernicious metropolis, which spares no one — believe me, I told him, no one! Quietly and forcefully, I refused to discuss the Aleph. On saying goodbye, I embraced him and repeated that the country, that fresh air and quiet were the great physicians.
J. L. Borges, The Aleph