ii. In Lars Von Trier’s 2011 film Melancholia, a new world looms large in the sky. A great purge is imminent, not by flood but in the form of a previously unknown planet on a collision course with our own. In LVT’s apocalypse it is the depressed who are best equipped to face the inevitable. The impact of Tlön on our world, though nowhere near as cataclysmic in character, has been far more horrific. As JLB wrote in 1947, after the dam burst and copies of Orbis Tertius had flooded the world, “almost immediately reality yielded on more than one account”.
The truth is that it longed to yield. Ten years ago, any symmetry with a semblance of order — dialectical materialism, anti-Semitism, Nazism — was sufficient to entrance the minds of men. How could one do other than submit to Tlön, to the minute and vast evidence of an orderly planet? … Tlön is surely a labyrinth, but it is a labyrinth devised by men, a labyrinth destined to be deciphered by men.