Quotes from ‘Foucalt’s Pendulum’ by Umberto Eco

Read the review for the book

Some excerpts from the book:

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.

Sometimes books do the same.

I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

It is through our own design that we make the world a terrible place.

There are four kinds of people in this world: cretins, fools, morons, and lunatics. Each of us is sometimes a cretin, a fool, a moron, or a lunatic. A normal person is just a reasonable mix of these components, these four ideal types.

The difference between these 4 types is explained in the book.

How clear everything becomes when you look from the darkness of a dungeon.

When your eyes have adjusted to the darkness and you see what you would have otherwise missed.

But if there is no cosmic Plan? What a mockery, to live in exile when no one sent you there. Exile from a place, moreover, that does not exist.

If there is no purpose, we shall have to invent one.

Jacopo Belbo didn’t understand that he had had his moment and that it would have to be enough for him, for all his life. Not recognizing it, he spent the rest of his days seeking something else, until he damned himself.

When our moment finally arrives, it does so discreetly.

The universe is peeled like an onion, and an onion is all peel.

You can keep peeling the onion, but you’ll only get more peel, and then you will have nothing. The universe is made of infinite such peels.

There are no “bigger secrets,” because the moment a secret is revealed, it seems little.

The more you hide a secret, the bigger it becomes.

  We invented a nonexistent Plan, and They not only believed it was real but convinced themselves that They had been part of it for ages, or rather They identified the fragments of their muddled mythology as moments of our Plan, moments joined in a logical, irrefutable web of analogy, semblance, suspicion. But if you invent a plan and others carry it out, it's as if the Plan exists. At that point it does exist.

We invented a nonexistent Plan, and They not only believed it was real but convinced themselves that They had been part of it for ages, or rather They identified the fragments of their muddled mythology as moments of our Plan, moments joined in a logical, irrefutable web of analogy, semblance, suspicion. But if you invent a plan and others carry it out, it’s as if the Plan exists. At that point it does exist.

 

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