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Umberto Eco, Italian novelist and intellectual, dies aged 84

I have read a couple of Eco’s books, including The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum

Born on 5 January 1932 in Alessandria, north-west Italy, Eco rejected his father’s wish that he study law and instead read philosophy and literature at the University of Turin.

20 February 2016

The celebrated Italian intellectual Umberto Eco, who shot to fame with his 1980 novel The Name of the Rose, has been remembered as a master of Italian culture after his death at the age of 84.

Eco died on Friday night after suffering from cancer, prompting tributes to pour in for the esteemed writer.

He was “an extraordinary example of a European intellectual, combining unique intelligence of the past with a limitless capacity to anticipate the future”, said Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi.

“It’s an enormous loss for culture, which will miss his writing and voice, his sharp and lively thought, and his humanity,” Renzi told the Ansa news agency.

Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said Eco remained youthful until his last day. “A master who brought Italian culture to the whole world,” Franceschini wrote on Twitter.

Leading daily Corriere della Sera called Eco “the writer who changed Italian culture”, while newspaper La Stampa described a country in mourning for the author’s death.

Through Eco’s academic writings and his bestselling books, he became a respected intellectual voice both in Italy and abroad.

Internationally, he remains best known for his bestseller The Name of the Rose, a medieval detective novel set in an Italian abbey, which follows Brother William of Baskerville as he investigates a series of suspicious deaths. The novel captured imaginations globally and was turned into a film starring Sean Connery as William

The work secured Eco’s international reputation and he went on to pen a number of other novels, including Foucault’s Pendulum in 1988.

His most recent work, Numero Zero, was published last year and centres on a new newspaper in Milan funded by a meddling tycoon. Later this year a final novel will be released posthumously, Italian media reported.

Although Eco’s works sold millions of copies, he was not one to pander to popular tastes. “It’s only publishers and some journalists who believe that people want simple things. People are tired of simple things. They want to be challenged,” he told the Guardian in 2011.

While his first novel was not published until 1980, Eco said he had always had a “narrative impulse” and began writing stories at the age of 10 or 12.

Born on 5 January 1932 in Alessandria, north-west Italy, Eco rejected his father’s wish that he study law and instead read philosophy and literature at the University of Turin.

After he finished his doctoral thesis, Eco lectured at his alma mater and during the same period worked at Italy’s state broadcaster, RAI, as a cultural editor.

He went on to develop his interest in semiotics, the study of signs and symbols, and became a professor of the subject at the University of Bologna.

His significant academic writings include On Beauty and the later On Ugliness, exploring how people’s perceptions are shaped through history.

George Lakoff, a professor of cognitive linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, credited his friend with changing academia’s approach to literature by giving respectability to the study of popular art forms.

“He showed how not only to understand culture, in general, but to create new culture that way. That is what this man was about,” Lakoff told the BBC World Service.

“Not only he loved it, he enjoyed every minute of it. To be with Eco was to just enjoy life.”

What comes first? Practically irrelevant.  Philosophically it is the main story

I am adopting the opportunistic tactics to updating and re-editing older articles as they pop-up in hits.  This article was published three years ago and I generated a deduction after re-reading the article.  The deduction will be the last paragraph.

There is this hellish cycle: a chicken lays an egg to generate chicken; and the cycle continues.  What comes first, nature or nurture, facts or equation…? Most of the time the reasoning is not productive practically, and totally an irrelevant question in most cases.

Human brain is not satisfied with this obvious mechanism: our brain wants to know the origin of the process.  For example, what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Then what? Would this cycle cease to exist if we “resolve” the origin problem? Would any interpretation or conjecture makes a difference?

Now suppose we take a different perspective and instead of considering the source, we tackle the problem as a medium issue? Let us declare: the egg uses the chicken as a mean to generate another egg.  Would that satisfy human curiosity and drop the origin “idée-fix”?

It makes plenty of sense: an egg is an egg and uses many different mediums (name with me the varieties of fowls that lay eggs; hell, snakes lay eggs!) Sure, the “essence” or nature of the egg is different when hatched but the process is fundamentally the same. Eggs can be hatched without fowls: industrial processes do it all the time. An egg can be altered genetically and generate a diversity of fowls.

Can we claim that it is the process that counts? It appears that the chicken must have come first:  There are more essential components in a chicken that an egg lacks.

Still, human mind would counter: “who created the egg or the first kind of egg in the first place?” Now we are back to “origins” and creators.  What if it is not the egg that count during the process or mechanism that generated an egg?

Would the purpose of sciences be based on the study, analysis, and invention of processes that optimize the production of particular products that human need?  Maybe not to survive as mankind, but indeed to live in luxury and opulence while living?

By analogy to chicken and egg cycle, let us consider the cycle of laws and facts (data).  Let us bypass the previous lengthy reasoning and tackle the problematic head on. Let me state: “facts use laws to produce facts.”  There are varieties of natural and social laws that generate facts for the brain to perceive. Actually, the brain is the machine that set the foundations for generating laws in order to perceive facts.

The brain is the eminent scientist: no law can be discovered that the brain had not the potential to recognize or manufacture. The Erica syndrome is common among scientists: a law was in hiding to taunt the hard working and focused scientist to discover it, by using many viewing perspectives and possibilities.

The brain has the scientific mechanism in place to discovering whatever laws or “truths” we are willing to uncover.  We use reasoning methods such as deductive, inductive, and abductive methods (you may read my post “Abduction field”); we use all kinds of plausible logic systems to structure our processes; we have various senses to extend our perception into “seeing” the facts.

Actually vision and hearing go through many filters (processes) in order to be perceived by the brain: they are more complex and richer impressions (distorted perceptions) than smell, taste or touch. All we have to do is to take seriously the “rhetorical” mechanisms (analogy, association…) that the brain is excellent at processing in order to offer us the means to discoveries.

It is time that scientists boldly proclaim that their Ericas were pretty much within the common realm of capabilities of every normal man, if he had the passion and endurance to go the extra mile in whatever could interest his “nature”.

The “truth” is this: the universe is the facts and the brain the laws.  Our brain is just the medium to perceive models of the real universe. If we manage to preserve an adult human brain from deterioration, then the brain will “sees” universes and it will create new facts to amuse and exercise its “curiosity”.  Preserve a new born brain and it will “see” the same incoherent universe (whatever this thing might be) in vivid colors and rich sounds that adult brains have blunted for survival needs: the brain needs outside impressions to form and become an efficient processors of impressions to perceive coherent worlds.

For example, I tend to agree with Umberto Eco that books generate books.  Authors are medium in that process. An author does not have to have read plenty of books to emulate a notion, an idea, a concept, or a process that was not already published.

The human brain is assimilating world data and world knowledge and many “coincidences” are very much “reasonably” plausible. (You may read my post “how the mind acquires knowledge”)

Egg generates eggs, book generates books, fact generates facts, but they “mean” nothing if mankind brain lacks the potential to generate models for comprehending the needs for egg, book, or fact.  The essence is comprehending, any which way feasible, otherwise, the philosophical question has no reason to pop-up.

Note 2:  You may read the follow up articlehttps://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/what-comes-first-totally-irrelevant-question-in-most-cases/

What did come first? (Jan. 24, 2010)

There is this hellish cycle: a chicken lays an egg to generate chicken; and the cycle continues.  What comes first, nature or nurture…? Human brain is not satisfied with this obvious mechanism: our brain wants to know the origin of the process.  For example, what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Then what? Would this cycle cease to exist if we “resolve” the origin problem? Would any interpretation or conjecture make a difference?

Now suppose we take a different perspective and instead of considering the source we tackle the problem as a medium issue? Let us declare: the egg uses the chicken as a mean to generate another egg.  Would that satisfy human curiosity and drop the origin “idée-fix”?  It makes plenty of sense: an egg is an egg and uses many different mediums (name with me the varieties of fowls that lay eggs; hell, snakes lay eggs!) Sure, the “essence” or nature of the egg is different when hatched but the process is fundamentally the same. Eggs can be hatched without fowls: industrial processes do it all the time. An egg can be altered genetically and generate a diversity of fowls.

Can we claim that it is the process that counts? It appears that the chicken must have come first:  There are more essential components in a chicken that an egg lacks.

Still, human mind would counter: “who created the egg?” or the first kind of egg in the first place? Now we are back to “origins” and creators.  What if it is not the egg that count during the process or mechanism that generated an egg?  

Would the purpose of sciences be based on the study, analysis, and invention of processes that optimize the production of particular products that human need?  Maybe not to survive as mankind, but indeed to live in luxury and opulence while living?

By analogy to chicken and egg cycle, let us consider the cycle of laws and facts (data).  Let us bypass the previous lengthy reasoning and tackle the problematic head on. Let me state: “facts use laws to produce facts.”  There are varieties of natural and social laws that generate facts for the brain to perceive. Actually, the brain is the machine that set the foundations for generating laws in order to perceive facts.

The brain is the eminent scientist: no law can be discovered that the brain had not the potential to recognize or manufacture. The Erica syndrome is common among scientists: a law was in hiding to taunt the hard working and focused scientist to discover it, by using many viewing perspectives and possibilities.

The brain has the scientific mechanism in place to discovering whatever laws or “truths” we are willing to uncover.  We use reasoning methods such as deductive, inductive, and abductive methods (you may read my post “Abduction field”); we use all kinds of plausible logic systems to structure our processes; we have various senses to extend our perception into “seeing” the facts.

Actually vision and hearing go through many filters (processes) in order to be perceived by the brain: they are more complex and richer impressions (distorted perceptions) than smell, taste or touch. All we have to do is to take seriously the “rhetorical” mechanisms (analogy, association…) that the brain is excellent at processing in order to offer us the means to discoveries.

It is time that scientists boldly proclaim that their Ericas were pretty much within the common realm of capabilities of every normal man, if he had the passion and endurance to go the extra mile in whatever could interest his “nature”.

The “truth” is this: the universe is the facts and the brain the laws.  Our brain is just the medium to perceive models of the real universe. If we manage to preserve an adult human brain from deterioration, then the brain will “sees” universes and it will create new facts to amuse and exercise its “curiosity”.  Preserve a new born brain and it will “see” the same incoherent universe (whatever this thing might be) in vivid colors and rich sounds that adult brains have blunted for survival needs: the brain needs outside impressions to form and become an efficient processors of impressions to perceive coherent worlds.

Note: I tend to agree with Umberto Eco that books generate books.  Authors are medium in that process. An author does not have to have read plenty of books to emulate a notion, an idea, a concept, or a process that was not already published.  The human brain is assimilating world data and world knowledge and many “coincidences” are very much “reasonably” plausible. (You may read my post “how the mind acquires knowledge”)

Note 2:  You may read the follow up article https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/what-comes-first-totally-irrelevant-question-in-most-cases/

Part two: What is your cult? (Jan. 15, 2010)

The “Pendulum of Foucault” by Umberto Eco; part two

The book query three authors specializing in the occult or diabolic manuscripts that were written and published in Europe in the last 600 years after the persecution of the Templar Knights.

The authors tried to put together the many pieces of the puzzle that were gleamed from ancient manuscripts in order to construct a rational and logical story of Europe history events.

The Templar Knights were persecuted around 1344 by the French monarch Philip Le Bel and the pope of Rome: Templar Knights over extended their power base in acquiring vast lands and lending money to monarchs and princes and had become the most influential secret organization in Europe. The “initiates” or members were willing to die rather than divulge secrets.

The story starts from a cryptic message that it was attributed to the Templar Knights and found in the town of Provins in south-west France near the Cathar sect region. The various interpretations led to the belief that the fleeing Knights took refuge in the town of Tomar in Portugal and devised a plan to be executed for a period of 600 years.

Every 120 years, the headquarters of the “Invisible 36 Superiors” would be relocated to six different places so that each headquarters would relinquish the secret to the next headquarters.

Apparently, there are two secrets.

The initial secret was of religious nature and it became a cover up to the second secret for dominating the world.  The initial cult was based on the premises that either Jesus was not crucified and was whisked to Marseille in France and his descended initiated the Merovingian French monarchic dynasty or that Jesus died but Marie Magdalena was impregnated by Jesus and was whisked away to start a new dynasty.

The other more enduring secret says that earth underground is traversed by currents that can be controlled to spread havoc on earth crust if only the center or “Umbilicus” of the current could be determined; the center could be discovered if the entire pieces of a particular world cartographical chart can be put together and the sun ray hitting the right location on June 23 or Saint John Day at the beginning of earth summer solstice.

A quick summary of part one might be needed.  The plan would move from Tomar in 1344 to Scotland in 1464, then to Paris in 1584 at Saint Martin des Champs, then to Germany in 1704 at Marienburg near Dantzig, then to Bulgaria in 1824, and finally to Jerusalem (The Rock) in 1944.

The headquarters was transferred to Scotland but the next transfer to Paris didn’t take place and problems started. Every sub-cult wanted to put the pieces together all by itself since serious discontinuity of the pieces of the plan to rule the world was ruined.

One rumor is that the Jewish Diaspora got wind that the Christians have an important secret and got into their own investigative whirlwind and the Kabbala cult was expanded.  The ghettos were targeted for information because the abbot Pic de la Mirandolla referred in one of his speeches that Hebrew is the language to learn in order to decipher the cryptic messages using the Talmud.  The trend became to learn Hebrew and applying all kinds of combinational cryptology on the Talmud.

In fact, the Templar Knights had no connections with the Jewish religion; they had no Jewish sources or learned Hebrew.  The Free Masons inherited their cult from the Templar and added this myth related to Hiram and the Temple of Jerusalem.

Another rumor was that the Jesuits organization of Ignacio de Loyola was attuned to these secrets and working to put together the puzzle; the Jesuits were behind switching from the Julian to the Georgian calendar?  Anyway, France’s Grand Master Guillaume Postel died in 1581 and a Jesuit abbot confessed him.

Francis Bacon traveled to Prussia to connect with the Grand Master in Marienburg and he instituted many Templar Knights cults around Europe to gather information.

Most of the scholars in Europe were initiates in one or more of these cults such as Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, Voltaire, Condorcet, Diderot, d’Alembert, Lavoisier, Goethe, Mirabeau, Jules Verne, Francis Bacon, and on.   

Alexander Dumas wrote “Joseph Balsamo”, representing a Grand Master of Templar Knights; most of the heroes of Jules Verne are permutations on Cultists names such as “John Garral” in reference to the Graal or Robur le Conquerent and many of his novels are located underground and in the bowel of earth.  The frenzied endeavors to constructing vast underground tunnels, sewer systems, and metro lines in most European Capitals were decided and initiated by cultist sects; Salomon de Caus, one of the initiates, started the sewer system in Paris around 1665 at the demand of Colbert; Paris ended up with 23 kilometers of underground system.

Napoleon summoned the Jews in Europe to a conclave in 1806; the name of the convention was “Grand Sanhedrin”.  Apparently, Napoleon needed three pieces of the puzzle; since Napoleon failed to invade England then he wanted the last piece of the puzzle that he judged would be in the hands of the Jewish cults, the hierosolymitaine supposed to be waiting in Jerusalem (don’t ask me what is this sect).  The piece of puzzle, before the last, was supposed in the hands of the Paulician sect settled in Russia.

Who are the Paulicians? The sect is one of the hundreds of “heretic” Christian sects according to the Orthodox Byzantium Church. The Paulician refuses the Ancient Testament, the sacraments, despises the cross, and does not honor the Virgin Mary: she was just a fast conduit to Christ already made in heaven.  The sect became widespread and engaged in many wars along side the Byzantium Empire; it reached the Euphrates River in Syria and established communities in the Arabic Peninsula. Emperor Basil of Byzantium ended up persecuting the Paulician sect that fled to Slavic lands.

Now, the Orthodox Synod in Moscow lambasted Napoleon as trying to establish the antichrist reign and rule the world. Napoleon would in 1812 invade Russia to connect with the Paulician branch of the Templar Knights and fail in his endeavor.

Baron von Brunswick convened all the European Templar branches to reaching a consensus: the cultists met and the meeting failed.

The secret service of Tsar Nicholas II, the Okhrana, disseminated protocols in ancient manuscripts and labeled it “Protocols of the Wises of Sion” and the Jews were persecuted in order to get a piece of the puzzle.

Hitler also wanted a piece of the pie.  He tried to invade England and Russia for the same reasons.  Hitler was very meticulous in killing as many Jews as possible, in a well oiled process, in order to discover the secret of the hierosolymitaine branch.

At this stage, the authors of the occults realized that the story was advancing in the wrong direction.

Since the Templar Knights had no connections with Jewish sources then the last branch is not in Jerusalem but the fort of Alamut in the south-east region of the Caspian Sea.  The “Old of the Mountain” was Hassan Ibn Al Sabbah who instituted what the European called the “Assassins sect” based on the word “hashasheen” or those that consumed hashish.

The initiates of Al Sabbah had terrorized all Moslem monarchs and princes and frightened the Crusaders when they attempted to kill a few of their leaders.  The Templar Knights were owed by this sect and valued those fearless initiates and connect with Al Sabbah sect and learned their underground current secret, their organization, and the techniques for training suicidal members.

Al Sabbah would kidnap select young men, drug them, and then move them to the fort.  The young man would wake up and be feasted for many weeks with best food, women, hashish, and everything that might give the man the impression of transplanted in heaven.  Then, when time is ripe, the young man would be drugged again and relocated outside the fort Alamut with instructions.  The move would be to kill an enemy at very close range and then commit suicide (feddayins) if not killed on the spot.  Sultan Salah El Din came very close to be assassinated twice and he decided to desist persecuting this sect.

The sect of Al Sabbah is a variant of the Shiaa Islamic schism: they believe that Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad, is also a prophet as are all his descendents; the last prophet is to unveil his existence at the end of time.  This sect is one of the Ismailia sects that the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt disseminated.  The Druze sect in Lebanon is a variant of Ismailia.  Actually, one of the misinterpretations in transcribing manuscripts was confounding Ismaili with Israeli.

In the end, the authors interpreted the cryptic message the right way: the message was based on a commission list of a merchant at Provins; this list was not hidden in a case encrusted with diamonds but a rotting one. Actually, the commission list mentions streets, churches, and forts that are located in the town of Provins.  The town was famous for clothing and growing red flowers imported from Syria during the crusading campaigns.  The merchant jotted down in short hand the locations to deliver six bouquets of roses, 6 roses in each bouquet for 20 sous, for a total of 120 sous.

The cultist mentality wrecked havoc in Europe for 600 years based on rumors and the need for secrets to assemble people in organizations and associations.

Cultists are “Big” kids in need of secrets to perpetuate before merging into adulthood.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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