Friday, August 1, 2008

Umberto Eco likes Starksy and Hutch

Umberto Eco likes Starsky and Hutch. Imagine my surprise when I read that. Umberto is one of my favorite philosopher/novelists and I have to admit I was heartened to read that he like TV, DVDs and especially cheesy TV detectives. I was reading the latest Paris Review and the interview with Mr Eco is priceless. I found that he and I have much in common aside from the fact that he is Italian, unimaginably intelligent, and wildly successful as a novelist and scholar, and I am none of those things. We share a fascination with language, books, communication generally,magic, alchemy, The Middle Ages, and the intersections between all those things. He says he never stops working, always thinking about stories wherever he is (especially in water it seems--me too!). Umberto has something else I don't have-a prodigious memory. He actually remembers the books he reads and the thoughts he has on his travels and then incorporates them into his writings on a daily basis. I am in awe of a good memory and inspired by his approach to his work which seems less methodical than most writers I've read about.
There are snippets about Umberto's feeling on facts and culture. He recognizes that facts are contextual to some degree and while 'true' at a moment in time, are not necessarily 'truth'. He talks about culture as the determiner of what is remembered and what is forgotten, and in a sense he is talking about what we believe to be knowledge and how we preserve or alter it. One of the most profound acknowledgements made in the interview is that the literate person can afford himself multiple lives through reading whereas the illiterate person is stuck with only one--the real life.

You might be wondering what this has to do with future health trends and the honest answer is nothing at all. I just found this interview interesting and wanted to share! Check it out in The Paris Review, Summer 2008.
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