Wednesday, June 08, 2005

From an interview with Umberto Eco here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml;sessionid=BWS0WKLDVC04ZQFIQMGSNAGAVCBQWJVC?xml=/arts/2005/05/24/boeco22.xml&sSheet=/arts/2005/05/25/ixartleft.html
"Though he has a paunch and unexpectedly small, geisha-like feet, Eco has an energetic stride - as I discover when he leads the way along a winding corridor and I try to keep up with him. We pass through a labyrinthine library containing 30,000 books - he has a further 20,000 at his 17th-century palazzo near Urbino - and into a drawing-room full of curiosities: a glass cabinet containing seashells, rare comics and illustrated children's books, a classical sculpture of a nude man with his arms missing, a jar containing a pair of dog's testicles, a lute, a banjo, a collection of recorders, and a collage of paintbrushes by his friend the Pop artist Arman. "

I'd expect, from his writing style, that Eco would have to be surrounded by a plethora of random information and oddities. He just goes into so much detail, one wonders where it all comes from. His head must buzz audibly from all the activity in there.

I was pleased to read that Eco's "second novel, Foucault's Pendulum, took eight years to write." He didn't write his first one until he was 50, after his children left home and he had no one to tell his stories to. The buzzing in his head was too much for him --so he wrote a book. The second one "was about three editors at a Milan publishing house trying to link every conspiracy theory in history, including that now famous one about the medieval Knights Templar and the secret of the Holy Grail. " Sounds like Da Vinci Code! And he admits to the interviewer: "'I know, I know,' he says with a laugh. 'My book included the plot for The Da Vinci Code. But I was not being a prophet. It was old occult material. It was already all there. I treated it in a more sceptical way than Dan Brown did. He had the excellent idea of treating it as if it were true. Millions of people believed him. They took it seriously, but it was all a hoax.' The Da Vinci Code is one of the few novels to have sold more than The Name of the Rose, I point out. Must be quite galling, that. He shrugs. Has he read it? 'Yes.' Did he like it? He shrugs again. 'It's a page-turner.' " I have not read the code. I just haven't got round to it. I have been told it is a good story. But all the ridiculous attention to the possibilities of truth in it have made me hesitant. I don't like reading what EVERYONE is reading. How good could it be? Although, Harry Potter is good and read by EVERYONE--maybe just young everyones. And the same stupidity goes on about the TRUTH in POTTER's world--oh, so confusing that make believe stuff!

I want to have 50,000 books. Like a dream come true. Like living IN a dream. All those books and so little reality.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

For those who think learning is work and school is a chore, i submit the following:

"...I didn't know what the word schola meant. I thought of it only as a school. ...But the Latin word schola comes from the Greek schole which means 'leisure.' What an interesting discovery! Before you can teach, you must learn, and in order to learn, you must stop your busyness and hold still for a while. You must give yourself leisure to learn.

I saw then that there can be a sequence in the derived meanings of schola... First comes the leisure itself, the cessation of restless activity, the stillness and silence. Then comes the learning, the instructive part, framing ideas that can help--'school' in our usual sense. Finally, we can have 'school' in the sense of a 'school of thought,' a community of shared insight, a body for concerted expression of the shared vision." --from Radical Optimisim, Beatrice Bruteau

Some people spend their leisure time playing golf or cards, others go shopping or to the movies. I like to take classes and read. I find learning to have great personal reward. The world is filled with interesting facets of life, from science to philosophy, and so much more. I cannot imagine ignoring all the world around me, taking it for granted, and so I examine the areas that catch my eye. Libraries are the primary resource for information about the world. Of course, the internet has most recently given libraries and the books therein a run for the money. And then, there are bookstores. A Nirvana for all leisure-learners like me. And web-sites, like Bookworm that provide more sources for learning. So little time! So much to read!

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