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Umberto Eco

Foucault's pendulum

  • b7132351702has quoted2 years ago

    “If what you saw has anything in common with the Masons, it’s the fact that Bramanti’s rite is also a pastime for provincial politicians and professional men. It was thus from the beginning: Freemasonry was a weak exploitation of the Templar legend. And this is the caricature of a caricature. Except that those gentlemen take it extremely seriously. Alas! The world is teeming with Rosicrucians and Templars like the ones you saw this evening. You mustn’t expect any revelation from them, though among their number occasionally you can come across an initiate worthy of trust.”
  • wodhas quoted2 years ago
    People who meet on the street...secretly dedicate themselves to operations of Black Magic, they bind or seek to bind themselves to the Spirits of Darkness, to satisfy their ambitions, their hates, their loves, to do—in a word—Evil.
  • wodhas quoted2 years ago
    Cowards die many times before their deaths.
  • wodhas quoted2 years ago
    “God is everywhere?”

    “In a sense, yes. That’s why the Pendulum disturbs me. It promises the infinite, but where to put the infinite is left to me. So it isn’t enough to worship the Pendulum; you still have to make a decision, you have to find the best point for it. And yet...”

    “And yet?”

    “And yet...You’re not taking me seriously by any chance, are you, Casaubon? No, I can rest easy; we’re not the type to take things seriously...Well, as I was saying, the feeling you have is that you’ve spent a lifetime hanging the Pendulum in many places, and it’s never worked, but there, in the Conservatoire, it works...Do you think there are special places in the universe? On the ceiling of this room, for example? No, nobody would believe that. You need atmosphere. I don’t know, maybe we’re always looking for the right place, maybe it’s within reach, but we don’t recognize it. Maybe, to recognize it, we have to believe in it.
  • wodhas quoted2 years ago
    You see, Casaubon, even the Pendulum is a false prophet. You look at it, you think it’s the only fixed point in the cosmos, but if you detach it from the ceiling of the Conservatoire and hang it in a brothel, it works just the same. And there are other pendulums: there’s one in New York, in the UN building, there’s one in the science museum in San Francisco, and God knows how many others. Wherever you put it, Foucault’s Pendulum swings from a motionless point while the earth rotates beneath it. Every point of the universe is a fixed point: all you have to do is hang the Pendulum from it.”
  • wodhas quoted2 years ago
    The Breaking of the Vessels. Diotallevi was to talk to us often about the late cabalism of Isaac Luria, in which the orderly articulation of the Sefirot was lost. Creation, Luria held, was a process of divine inhalation and exhalation, like anxious breathing or the action of the bellows.

    “God’s asthma,” Belbo glossed.

    “You try creating from nothing. It’s something you do once in your life. God blows the world as you would blow a glass bubble, and to do that He takes a deep breath, holds it, and emits the long luminous hiss of the ten Sefirot.”

    “A hiss of light?”

    “God hissed, and there was light.”


    “But the lights of the Sefirot must be gathered in vessels that can contain their splendor without shattering. The vessels destined to receive Keter, Hokhmah, and Binah withstood their magnificence, but for the lower Sefirot, from Hesed to Yesod, light was exhaled too strongly in a single burst, and the vessels broke. Fragments of light were spilled into the universe, and gross matter was thus born.”
  • wodhas quoted2 years ago
    History does not happen randomly. It is the work of the Masters of the World, whom nothing escapes. Naturally, the Masters of the World protect themselves through secrecy. And that is why anyone who says he is a master, a Rosicrucian, a Templar is lying. They must be sought elsewhere.”

    “Then the story goes on endlessly.”

    “Exactly. And it demonstrates the shrewdness of the Masters.”

    “But what do they want people to know?”

    “Only that there’s a secret. Otherwise, if everything is as it appears to be, why go on living?”

    “And what is the secret?”

    “What the revealed religions have been unable to reveal. The secret lies beyond.”
  • wodhas quoted2 years ago
    “It is the whole idea of ‘point’ that is mistaken. Ever since Parmenides, points have been posited by science in an attempt to establish whence and whither something moves. But in fact nothing moves, and there is only one point, the one from which all others are generated at the same instant. The occultists of the nineteenth century, like those of our own time, naively tried to prove the truth of a thing by resorting to the methods of scientific falsehood. You must reason not according to the logic of time but according to the logic of Tradition. One time symbolizes all others, and the invisible Temple of the Rosicrucians therefore exists and has always existed, regardless of the current of history—your history. The time of the final revelation is not time by the clock. Its bonds are rooted in the time of ‘subtle history,’ where the befores and afters of science are of scant importance.”
  • wodhas quoted2 years ago
    After a couple of centuries an incurable ennui takes possession of the wretched immortals. The world is monotonous, men learn nothing, and, with every generation, they fall into the same errors and nightmares, events are not repeated but they resemble one another...novelties end, surprises, revelations. I can confess to you now that only the Red Sea is listening to us: my immortality bores me. Earth holds no more secrets for me and I have no hope anymore in my fellows.”
  • wodhas quoted2 years ago
    One day, saying that he had known Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, he described minutely the governor’s house and listed the dishes served at supper. Cardinal de Rohan, believing these were fantasies, turned to the Comte de Saint-Germain’s valet, an old man with white hair and an honest expression. “My friend,” he said to the servant, “I find it hard to believe what your master is telling us. Granted that he may be a ventriloquist; and even that he can make gold. But that he is two thousand years old and saw Pontius Pilate? That is too much. Were you there?” “Oh, no, Monsignore,” the valet answered ingenuously, “I have been in M. le Comte’s service only four hundred years.”

    —Collin de Plancy, Dictionnaire infernal, Paris, Mellier, 1844, p. 434
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