The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco


He was thinking of the endless array of symbols with which God, through HIs creatures, speaks to us of the eternal life. But the universe is even more talkative than Alanus thought, and it speaks not only of the ultimate things (which it goes always in an obscure fashion) but also of closer things, and then it speaks quite clearly. 

For architecture, among all the arts, is the one that most boldly tries to reproduce in its rhythm the order of the universe, which the ancients calls “cosmos,” that is to say ornate, since it is like a great animal on whom there shine the perfection and the proportion of all its members. And praised by our Creator, who has decreed all things, in their number, weight, and measure. 

“Because reasoning about causes and effects is a very difficult thing, and I believe the only judge of that can be God. We are already hard put to establish a relationship between such an obvious effect as a charred tree and the lighting bolt that set fire to it, so to trace sometimes endless chains of causes and effects seems to me as foolish as trying to build a tower that will touch the sky.

The library defends itself, immeasurable as the truth it houses, deceitful as the falsehood it preserves. A spiritual labyrinth, it is also a terrestrial labyrinth. You might enter and you might not emerge. 

For three things concur in creating beauty: first of all integrity or perfection, and for this reason we consider ugly all incomplete things; then proper proportion or consonance; and finally clarity and light, and in fact we call beautiful those things of define color. 

But there are two forms of magic. There is a magic that is the work of the Devil and which aims at man’s downfall through artifices of which it is not licit to speak. But there is a magic that is divine, where God’s knowledge is made manifest through the knowledge of man, and it serves to transform nature, and one of its ends is to prolong man’s very life. And this is holy magic, to which the learned must devote themselves more and more, and one of its ends is to prolong man’s very life. And this is holy magic, to which the learned must devote themselves more and more, not only to discover new things but also to rediscover many secrets of nature that divine wisdom had revealed to the Hebrews, the Greeks, to other ancient peoples, and even, today, to the infidels (and I cannot tell you all the wonderful things on optics and the science of vision to be read in the books of the infidels!). And of all this learning Christian knowledge must regain possession, taking it from the pages and the infidels tamquam ab iniustis possessoribus. 

We live for books. A sweet mission in this world dominated by disorder and decay. 

Have you found any place where Gold would have felt at home?

The conquest of learning is achieved through the knowledge of languages. 

Amor est magis cognitivus quam cognitio, that we know things better through love than through knowledge. 

The plan of the library reproduces the map of the world. And the books are arranged according to the country of their origin, or the place where their authors were born. 

The older I grow and the more I abandon myself to God’s will, the less I value intelligence that wants to know and will that wants to do; and as the only element of salvation I recognize faith, which can wait patiently, without asking too many questions. 

We will meditate instead on the words the Lord will utter to drive from him those who have not earned salvation: Far from me, ye accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for you by the Devil and his ministers! You yourself have earned it and now enjoy it! Go ye from me, descending into the eternal darkness and into the unquenchable fire! I made you and you became followers of another! You became servants of another lord, go and dwell with him in the darkness, with him, the serpent who never rests, amid the gnashing of teeth! I gave you ears to hear the Scripture and you listened to the words of pagans! I formed a mouth for you to glorify God, and you used it for the lies of poets and the riddles of buffoons! I gave you eyes to see the light of my precepts, and you used them to peer into the darkness! I am a humane judge, but just one. To each I shall give what he deserves. I would have mercy on you, but I find no oil in your jars. I would be impelled to take pity, but your lamps are not cleaned. Go from me…Thus will speak the Lord. And they…and perhaps we…will descend into the eternal torment. In the name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Ghost. 

The hand of God creates it does not conceal. 

Fear prophets, Also, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth. 

Where is all my wisdom, then? I behaved stubbornly, pursuing a semblance of order, when I should have known well that there is no order in the universe.