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Thread: Umberto Eco - Foucaut's Pendulum

  1. #1

    Default Umberto Eco - Foucaut's Pendulum

    A deep political read?

    Foucault's Pendulum

    Geoffrey Sauer

    Humanitas: 12 February 1990

    'Listen, Jacopo, I thought of a good one: Urban Planning for Gypsies.'
    'Great,' Belbo said admiringly. 'I have one, too: Aztec Equitation.'
    'Excellent. But would that go with Potio-section or the Anynata?'
    'We'll have to see.' Belbo said. He rummaged in his drawer and took out some sheets of paper. 'Potio-section...' He looked at me, saw my bewilderment. 'Potio-section, as everybody knows, is the art of slicing soup. No, no,' he said to Diotallevi. 'It's not a department, it's a subject, like Mechanical Avunculogratulation or Pylocatabasis. They all fall under the heading of Tetrapyloctomy.'
    'What's tetra...?'
    'The art of splitting a hair four ways. Mechanical
    Avunculogratulation, for example, is how to build machines for greeting uncles.' (74)


    The above quotation seems an apt microcosm of Foucault's Pendulum: at once amusing, bewildering, ironic, exceedingly intellectual, and eminently unlikable. Umberto Eco's novel, only released in an English hardcover late last year, is a second expedition into the novel form by the Italian scholar and acclaimed author of The Name of the Rose. This adventure is an detective story about a search for the center of an ancient, still-living conspiracy of men who seek not merely power over the earth but over the psychic, 'telluric' powers of the earth itself, and who in the end draw their pursuers into a circle (a pentagram?) where discovery of the truth is lethal. The story is inordinately difficult to follow -- its encyclopedic richness of historical detail breaks any smooth transparency of prose -- but it is not meant to be easy. Neither was The Name of the Rose, which became a bestseller, even if one wonders how many actually read all of it. Foucault's Pendulum will almost certainly achieve recognition as well, for it is a complex artifact of Eco's postmodern aesthetic at work in a traditional literary form: in this case like his first novel, the detective thriller.
    Eco is an active scholar, and forges links between his academic and popular works. In a 1988 essay 'Dreaming of the Middle Ages,' the Italian identified ten types of nostalgic neo-medievalism. Number nine he labelled the Middle Ages of Tradition, 'an eternal and rather eclectic ramshackle structure swarming with Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, alchemists, and Masonic initiates;' that passage seems a prophetic formula for Foucault's Pendulum -- itself the celebration of the attempt to rediscover that world. If nothing else the work is undeniably 'eternal': the only reason the volume doesn't reach seven hundred pages is because Eco declines to finish it properly. It isn't even really a novel in the strict sense of the word, more a sort of formidable gathering of information, delivered playfully by a master manipulating his own invention -- a long, erudite (if often dry), joke.


    The novel as narration is put into the mouth of Causaubon, a scholar who writes his doctoral dissertation on the Knights Templar, and establishes himself a business in Milan, styling himself a kind of Sam Spade of information (a 'regular Joe' Mycroft Holmes? a lean, married, Nero Wolfe?). For a price, he will track down any fact -- even though he seems to know everything already (except that he is named for the scholar of George Eliot's Middlemarch, who also knew everything though it did him no good). He accepts a job as consultant for the Garamond Press, and joins Jacopo Belbo (a commonsensical Piedmontese companion) and Diotallevi (an ex-foundling Piedmontese, who fancies himself Jewish). These three spend most of their time drunk or bored, creating parodic word-games, and ridiculing anyone who takes himself seriously. Belbo's favorite sentence he saves for pretentiousness, 'Ma gavte la nata,' which means something like 'take the cork out [of his ass] and let the wind out.'
    These three -- 'clowns' is perhaps the best word for them -- in their research for a book entitled The History of Metals, advertise for manuscripts about the diabolical histories of secret societies. If the story so far seems to veer a bit, just wait -- it gets better. They decide as a game to feed all the hermetic plots that ever were into their computer. The results go beyond even paranoid fantasy: the unexplained phenomena of history, they find, can be fitted into a single, cosmic plan that embraces opposites, provide better interpretations than orthodox history has of certain past events, and reveals the greatest secret of history. What every major society of Europe, from the thirteenth century onward, has wanted -- Templars, Rosicrucians, Masons, Jesuits, even Nazis, we discover -- is control of the Earth's 'telluric currents,' the psychic forces which control the land, seas, and skies.
    The pre-Celts built Stonehenge; the Gothics erected immense cathedral spires; Eiffel contrived his tower. Why? 'What need did Paris have of this useless monument? It's the celestial probe, the antenna that collects information from every hermetic valve stuck into the planet's crust!' This, the ultimate conspiracy, synthesizes all possible conspiracies -- though the list is so comprehensive one wonders precisely who they're plotting against. No matter. A plot is a structure, a semiotic fabrication. Umberto Eco is a professor of semiotics, a grand master of codes, signs, and hidden meanings. The obsessiveness of the three Italians becomes contagious, and soon no single fact seems innocent.
    What is truly remarkable is how compelling 'the Plan' can seem, though the reader knows it to be false. It cannot be true; we watch, as the word processor groups together facts with its random number generator -- any resulting coherence must surely be accidental. And reading the novel, it is possible to watch the three become obsessed and irrational, fabricating unlikely 'ifs' in order to fit missing pieces. One feels exhausted when the puzzle's last pieces are fitted into place.

    'Not bad, not bad at all,' Diotallevi said. 'To arrive at the truth through the painstaking reconstruction of a false text.' (459)

    the pendulum as analog

    Eco first heard about the pendulum (which swings in the Conservatoire des Arts et Mètiers in Paris) from a professor of civil engineering and architecture at Cornell University. The instrument, a twenty-eight kilo silver ball with a needle point, hanging by wire from a fixed point on the ceiling sixty-seven meters above, was invented by Jean Bernard Lèon Foucault (1819-68) to demonstrate the rotation of the earth; it swings perpetually, given momentum by the instability of the solid floor beneath it. The mechanism itself seems harmless, the confirmation of a comforting permanence, but turns sinister toward the end.
    Causaubon becomes irritated early in the novel by the indifference of passersby to the pendulum's miracle:

    "Above her head was the only stable point in the cosmos, the only refuge from the damnation of the panta rei, and she guessed it was the pendulum's business, not hers. A moment later the couple went off -- he, trained on some textbook that had blunted his capacity for wonder, she, inert and insensitive to the thrill of the infinite, both oblivious of the awesomeness of their encounter -- with the One, the Ein-Sof, the Ineffable. How could you fail to kneel before this altar of certitude?" (6)

    The poetry of the pendulum is the poetry of Eco's novel, and of history itself. One writes a novel as Causaubon, Belbo and Diotallevi write their 'Plan' -- in order to rewrite history -- a history in which they then become a part. The pendulum, privileged, looms over the lunacy, scorn, and fear of the world because its point of attachment, alone in the universe, is fixed -- wherever you choose to put it. This 'centeredness' so desired by the cabalists' metaphysics, by Italian scholars' cynicism, of poetry and history are only possible because of the force which maintains the pendulum.
    It takes over six hundred pages to get from our first view of the Pendulum to the last. These pages are crammed not with action but with information. I happened to be writing on fifteenth-century Venetian printers and was not surprised to find them there. If you want to know about the Gregorian calendar, or the theory that the Holy Grail is really St. Mary Magdalene, you will find it here. The book clearly needs an index. Perhaps Dr. Eco has already got his semiology students to work on it; as there was a little volume of metafiction to supplement The Name of the Rose, so may we expect something hermeneutic about its successor.
    But in the meantime, all three of Eco's heroes discover with alarm that neither their parody nor their new-found Plan can protect them from a universe ruled simultaneously by both and neither. Diotallevi first is diagnosed as having cancer, and moralizes on his deathbed:

    "And what are my cells? For months, like devout rabbis, we uttered different combinations of the letters of the Book. GCC, CGC, GCG, CGG. What our lips said, our cells learned. What did my cells do? They invented a different Plan, and now they are proceeding on their own, creating a history, a unique, private history. My cells have learned that you can blaspheme by anagrammizing the Book, and all the books of the world. And they have learned to do this now with my body. They invert, transpose, alternate, transform themselves into cells unheard of, new cells without meaning, or with meaning contrary to the right meaning. There must be a right meaning and a wrong meaning; otherwise you die. My cells joke, without faith, blindly."

    Similarly Belbo meets an unpleasant fate, trapped by his own creation, the TRÉS conspiracy come to life and curious about his secret knowledge. In the Paris Conservatoire, at midnight, in the pendulum room, he confronts his fiction-turned-real.

    'Now you will speak,' Aglie said. 'You will speak, and you will join the great game. If you remain silent, you are lost. If you speak, you will share in the victory....this night you and I and all of us are in Hod, the Sefirah of splendor, majesty, and glory; Hod, which governs ritual and ceremonial magic; Hod, the moment when the curtain of eternity is parted. I have dreamed of this moment for centuries. You will speak, and you will join the only ones who will be entitled, after your revelation, to declare themselves Masters of the World. Humble yourself, and you will be exalted. You will speak because I order you to speak, and my words efficiunt quod figurant!'
    And Belbo, now invincible, said, 'Ma gavte la nata...'

    The proximity of the pendulum's focus, the center of the universe, ennobles and melodramatizes both. Belbo is killed, magnificently, symbolically, hung by the wire of the pendulum. Causaubon's final monologue reflects the uncertainty with which he awaits his fate.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

  2. #2


    "I am a professor who writes novels on Sundays"

    Mukund Padmanabhan

    Umberto Eco on his foray into fiction, the success of his first novel, his love for narratives, his views on translation and more...

    — PHOTO: T. Singaravelou

    Umberto Eco... "I work in empty spaces."
    Literary fiction, academic texts, essays, children's books, newspaper articles — Umberto Eco's written output is staggeringly large and wide-ranging. A professor at the University of Bologna in Italy, Eco had already acquired a formidable reputation as a scholar for his ideas on semiotics (the study of signs), literary interpretation, and medieval aesthetics before he turned to writing fiction. In 1980, he acquired the equivalent of intellectual superstardom with the publication of The Name of the Rose, which sold more than 10 million copies. The novel, which weaves philosophical debates, theological disputes, and scientific discourse into a detective yarn set in a 14th century Italian abbey, was the beginning of further forays into fiction — most notably, Foucault's Pendulum, a complex cerebral story about a hoax that becomes true, resulting in the conspirators getting caught in a fiction that has become reality.

    With over 30 honorary doctorates and a string of literary and academic awards, Eco has the reputation of being one of the world's foremost intellectuals. He was recently in Pondicherry for a conference on "Cultures of Knowledge," which was held at the French Institute. Excerpts from a freewheeling interview:

    The English novelist and academic David Lodge once remarked: "I can't understand how one man can do all the things he [Eco] does."

    Umberto Eco: Maybe I give the impression of doing many things. But in the end, I am convinced I am always doing the same thing.

    Which is?

    Aah, now that is more difficult to explain. I have some philosophical interests and I pursue them through my academic work and my novels. Even my books for children are about non-violence and see, the same bunch of ethical, philosophical interests.

    And then I have a secret. Did you know what will happen if you eliminate the empty spaces from the universe, eliminate the empty spaces in all the atoms? The universe will become as big as my fist.

    Similarly, we have a lot of empty spaces in our lives. I call them interstices. Say you are coming over to my place. You are in an elevator and while you are coming up, I am waiting for you. This is an interstice, an empty space. I work in empty spaces. While waiting for your elevator to come up from the first to the third floor, I have already written an article! (Laughs).

    Not everyone can do that of course. Your non-fictional writing, your scholarly work has a certain playful and personal quality about it. It is a marked departure from a regular academic style — which is invariably depersonalised and often dry and boring. Have you consciously adopted an informal approach or is it something that just came naturally to you?

    When I presented my first doctoral dissertation in Italy, one of the Professors said: "Scholars learn a lot of a certain subject, then they make a lot of false hypotheses, then they correct them and at the end, they put the conclusions. You, on the contrary, told the story of your research. Even including your trials and errors." At the same time, he recognised I was right and went on to publish my dissertation as a book, which meant he appreciated it.

    At that point, at the age of 22, I understood scholarly books should be written the way I had done — by telling the story of the research. This is why my essays always have a narrative aspect. And this is why probably I started writing narratives [novels] so late — at the age of 50, more or less.

    I remember that my dear friend Roland Barthes was always frustrated that he was an essayist and not a novelist. He wanted to do creative writing one day or another but he died before he could do so. I never felt this kind of frustration. I started writing novels by accident. I had nothing to do one day and so I started. Novels probably satisfied my taste for narration.

    Talking about novels, from famous academic you went on to becoming spectacularly famous after the publication of The Name of the Rose. You've written five novels against many more scholarly works of non-fiction, at least more than 20 of them...

    Over 40.

    Over 40. Among them a seminal piece of work on semiotics. But ask most people about Umberto Eco and they will say, "Oh, he's the novelist." Does that bother you?

    Yes. Because I consider myself a university professor who writes novels on Sundays. It's not a joke. I participate in academic conferences and not meetings of Pen Clubs and writers. I identify myself with the academic community.

    But okay, if they [most people] have read only the novels... (laughs and shrugs). I know that by writing novels, I reach a larger audience. I cannot expect to have one million readers with stuff on semiotics.

    Which brings me to my next question. The Name of the Rose is a very serious novel. It's a detective yarn at one level but it also delves into metaphysics, theology, and medieval history. Yet it enjoyed a huge mass audience. Were you puzzled at all by this?

    No. Journalists are puzzled. And sometimes publishers. And this is because journalists and publishers believe that people like trash and don't like difficult reading experiences. Consider there are six billion people in this planet. The Name of the Rose sold between 10 and 15 million copies. So in a way I reached only a small percentage of readers. But it is exactly these kinds of readers who don't want easy experiences. Or at least don't always want this. I myself, at 9 pm after dinner, watch television and want to see either `Miami Vice' or `Emergency Room'. I enjoy it and I need it. But not all day.

    Could the huge success of the novel have anything to do with the fact that it dealt with a period of medieval history that...

    That's possible. But let me tell you another story, because I often tell stories like a Chinese wise man. My American publisher said while she loved my book, she didn't expect to sell more than 3,000 copies in a country where nobody has seen a cathedral or studies Latin. So I was given an advance for 3,000 copies, but in the end it sold two or three million in the U.S.

    A lot of books have been written about the medieval past far before mine. I think the success of the book is a mystery. Nobody can predict it. I think if I had written The Name of the Rose ten years earlier or ten years later, it wouldn't have been the same. Why it worked at that time is a mystery.

    What did you think about the film [directed by Jean Jacques Annaud and starring Sean Connery]? Why weren't you happy with it?

    I expected the film to be different. My novel is a kind of club sandwich — lettuce, tomato, cheese...

    Different layers of meaning?

    Yes. A film cannot select all the layers. It has to make do with jambon or cheese... I didn't react like authors who, immediately after the film is made, say it is not at all like my book. But after that experience, I asked my publisher not to sell the rights of the novel to cinema. I did this because I discovered that 80 per cent of readers read the book after the movie. And that is very painful for a novelist.

    But surely this also means greater success, greater remuneration?

    Yes. But it is embarrassing to know that somebody else has already told the reader that the novel should be read in a particular way. That he should imagine the face of a character in a particular way. The only enviable position is that of Homer's who had the film made more than 2000 years after the book (laughs).

    So this is why Stanley Kubrick never got to make Foucault's Pendulum?

    Since I had laid down a general rule, the publisher said no. Then Stanley Kubrick died. But it may have been a great movie (laughs).

    Talking about Foucault's Pendulum, there is a sense in which you did the Da Vinci Code before Dan Brown did. Of course, you did it as a myth that takes on a strange reality and he did it as it was historical truth.

    I told Dan Brown's story. My characters are his. I gave the broad picture of this kind of literature.

    How has your latest novel fared? The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana.

    It was published this June in Great Britain and America. It is set in the 1930s and 40s in Italy during the Fascist period and about a man who loses his biographical memory while retaining his semantic one. The kind of person who knows everything about Shakespeare but nothing about himself, the fact that he is married or has two daughters. There are black holes relating to the years of his childhood. It is about how the history of Italy and his own personal history are reconstructed through schoolbooks, comic books, newspapers and how the past is retrieved through this. It is a reconstruction of a personal soul not by exploring inside [the mind] but through a process of exploring objects.

    In your lecture today [titled `Rasa and Taste: a difficult synonymy' at a seminar in the French Institute], you talked of translation as a negotiable issue. You stressed the fact that it works. Example: there may be 99 versions of the Bible but everyone agrees and understands that Jesus died after he was nailed to a cross. It is a position of great practicality but...

    There are many, many philosophical essays that say translation is impossible. But all those essays are translated in various languages and many people learn through these translated essays that translation is impossible.

    But don't the issues of translation and trans-cultural understanding in philosophy also have to do with questions of the perception of reality and whether this differs? How does a purely pragmatic position square up with this? For instance, philosophy texts which talk of the difficulty of translation sometimes cite the example of the American Indian tribe that have 16 or more terms for rain...

    Yes. And that some others have zero terms for snow. But I don't think people are so stupid that when we speak of snow, they don't know what we are talking about. We indicate, we show things. Interacting is not only interaction through words.

    So is it fair to say that you believe that philosophical debates on translation and cultural incommensurability are much too abstract, too removed from reality. And that you need a more pragmatic, a more sociological view?

    No, no. I believe that mine is the right philosophical attitude. The kind of reflections in analytical philosophy, in order to be supposedly scientific, don't analyse the real common language but only laboratory situations. For instance, the philosopher [Saul] Kripke illustrates an entire discussion on translation of proper names with the case of a certain Pierre who, being French, knew London as Londra. He was convinced that Londra was a beautiful city. He visited London without realising that it was Londra and wrote that London is an ugly city. Pierre is an idiot or a laboratory fiction. Human beings are not like that. You cannot create a philosophical discourse on the behaviour of a mad person.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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    What appears to be completely undiscussed about Eco's two major novel's, The Name of the Rose, and Umberto Eco's is the close association both have with the Qabalistic Tree of Life.

    In the frontpiece of Name of the Rose, Eco includes the glyph of the Tree of Life, but one that has two unexplained images added to the normal Tree of Life diagram.

    In Foucault's Pendulum, the ten segments of the book are named after the ten Sephira of the Tree of Life.

    I would dearly love to ask him about these curiosities, so if anyone has his email address please PM it to me in confidence...
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Guyatt View Post
    What appears to be completely undiscussed about Eco's two major novel's, The Name of the Rose, and Umberto Eco's is the close association both have with the Qabalistic Tree of Life.

    In the frontpiece of Name of the Rose, Eco includes the glyph of the Tree of Life, but one that has two unexplained images added to the normal Tree of Life diagram.
    This is all quite new to me. It's amazing how well you and I get on when our interests diverge so far afield from the same center. :D
    But I did look up Umberto Eco, semiotics and related topics on google and found something here:

    New World Order/Synarchy - The Secret History *
    The Secret History's most important figures are perhaps self-proclaimed Russian mystic Madame Helena Blavatsky and her American husband Colonel Henry Olcott. The result of their collaboration would thrust the world into the abyss and cost the lives of millions. *
    Their Theosophy ideology became popular amongst the middle classes in Germany at the end of the 1800's, mostly because of its introduction to Eastern religious and mystical ideas.* Blavatsky claimed to have been party to revelations from Hidden Masters called the "Great White Brotherhood" who resided somewhere in the Himalayas.* But Blavatsky later admitted in letters to her sister that this was a codename for the Rosicrucian hierarchy who funded her.* It is clear her work is influenced, if not sourced, in the work of Masonic demagogue General Albert Pike - the American South's Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Civil War war criminal, and leading member of the Ku Klux Klan - who revealed Rosicrucian/Masonic doctrine and its "Aryan heritage" in his unpublished pamphlet Morals & Dogma (1871) that was distributed to Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret (32nd degree) Scottish Rite initiates.
    Albert Pike is regarded as bringing "order out of chaos" by rewriting the ancient rites of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, formerly devised by groups in France including the Council of the Emperors of the East and West (now known as the European Council of Princes) and the Royal Stewart's Chapter of Clermont, based at the College of the Jesuits, Paris in 1761.*
    Pike modernized these rituals for the modern American leader, and explained their Aryan source and meaning in Morals & Dogma and numerous other works.* At this time Pike was head of the Supreme Council of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, based in Charleston, South Carolina, and following the Civil War and dropped charges of treason against Pike, the Supreme Council moved to Washington DC.
    Blavatsky's breakthrough book The Secret Doctrine (188 was an attempt to popularize the racist concepts of Rosicrucian belief at a time of great change and turmoil.* America was recovering from the Civil War, and the abolition of Slavery was forcing a redefinition of the West's perception of Race.* The radical decision to reveal the beliefs of the power elite came at a time when desperate measures seemed necessary.* The Priory of Sion within the Royal Houses of Europe and various occult circles were attempting to create a movement with their Synarchy ideology, a politicized form of Rosicrucian dogma.* Synarchy advocated government by secret society - an elite of enlightened initiates who rule from behind the scenes.* This found expression through the writings of Joseph Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, which called for the infiltration of "the three key pillars of society... political and social institutions, economic institutions, and religious institutions".* The infamous Protocols of the Learned Elders of Sion (commonly known by its Old English variant "Zion") are clearly some form of manifesto for the implementation of Synarchy's aims, and are signed by the "representatives of Sion of the 33rd degree".* Not surprisingly, the content of the Protocols have much similarity to Albert Pike's central work Morals and Dogma.* Synarchy was opposed to ideas of democracy and social equality, as only the Synarchists were the "natural leaders".
    As the masses of Europe were rising up rebelliously against their feudal overlords, the Holy Roman Empire was in disarray.* The First Reich, founded in 800 by the 'Emperor of the West' Charlemagne, had been smashed by Napoleon following the French Revolution.* With Napoleon's eventual defeat, the Holy Roman Empire reformed in a weakened and splintered state.* Prussia/Germany took the former Gnostic Cathar regions of Lorraine and Alsace back from revolutionary France, and established the Second Empire under Kaiser Wilhelm I.* He was allied with the Austrian-Hungarian-Croatian Empire, which was still under the control of the Grail bloodline House of Habsburg, who had been ruling for the previous 600 years.* Power was still very much in the hands of the Princes of Europe and the Vatican, who found unity within their occult "Secret Church" that has historically always existed behind the "Visible Church".
    Theosophy was born in 1875, a key time of political upheavals throughout Europe, as Russia was moving towards revolution, following the examples set by America and France.* The Theosophy movement was an attempt to occultize the newly emerging industrial and merchant class and provide a spiritual antidote to Marxism straight from the Rosicrucian philosophy that previously had been for hand-picked initiates only.* The Grail aristocratic families of the Holy Roman Empire were planning to reunify the old territories and needed the control and support of the managing classes.* It is no coincidence that their plan to "infiltrate Freemasonry and seize absolute control of the Western World's social, political and economic institutions" as outlined in the Protocols of Sion appeared simultaneously with the Synarchy ideology and the creation of Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy movement.* As the Protocols stress "Our philosophers will discuss all the shortcomings of the various beliefs of the manipulated.* But no-one will ever bring under discussion our faith from its true point of view since this will be fully learned by none save ours who will never dare betray its secrets".* *
    At the turn of the 20th century this agenda was again outlined in the Priory of Sion's Hieron du Val D'Or that described "a theocracy wherein nations will be no more than provinces, their leaders but proconsuls in the service of a world occult government consisting of an elite.* This regime of the Great King will be a double hegemony of the Papacy and the Empire, of the Vatican and of the Habsburgs".* This ambitious scheme was thwarted with the assassination of the Habsburg heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914, an event that ignited the First World War. *
    Theosophy's teachings about enlightened mystics guiding human evolution towards the creation of a higher super-race, and pseudo-theories about the ancient Aryan civilization of Atlantis, promoted dangerous racial theories that formed the core of Austrian and German anti-Semitism. *
    From an aristocratic background, Helena Blavatsky, the widow of Russian Army General Count Blavatsky, designed elaborate genetic family trees that clearly illustrated the superiority of the Aryan people over the other races of the world.* These strange beliefs were heralded by middle class occultists throughout Germany and Austria-Hungary and merged with their extreme right-wing nationalist politics.* Hence, complete reunification of the Holy Roman Empire, effectively abolished by Napoleon in 1806, became a priority not only of the ruling aristocracies, but also of the merchant middle classes. *
    The ensuing horrors of the First World War was an attempt to take France from the democratic Republicans by a vengeful aristocracy who had seen their brethren murdered by the French revolution.* The new middle-class occultists such as Guido von List and his Armanen Order, Baron von Sebottendorf and his Thule Society, and Lanz von Liebenfels and the Order of the New Templars referred to the First World War as a Holy War, revealing the quasi-religious and philosophical motives of their Hidden Masters.* It has been documented that Nazi party leaders Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolph Hess and Hermann Goering were all members of these occult secret societies.* The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Sion and the Hieron du Val d'Or are proof that a conspiracy of epic proportions was at play behind the broader political scene. *
    The end of the First World War resulted in Kaiser Wilhelm I being banished to Belgium and the removal of the Habsburgs from the throne of the Second Empire--the global "hegemony of Great King and Pope" was delayed.* The Habsburg's reluctant abdication was upon the insistence of the Allied nations and their Treaty of St. Germaine.* Incidentally, the Order of St. Germaine is the French Royal Stewart equivalent of the Habsburg's Order of Sion (each laying claim to genetic superiority and Kingship of Jerusalem) - such is the secret subtext of European war and politics.* The magickally relevant regions of Alsace and Lorraine were promptly returned to the Republic of France through the Treaty of Versailles, which not so much infuriated a young Hitler, as his aristocratic Hidden Masters behind the curtain.* While their agenda had brutally backfired, the Great White Brotherhood were by no means beaten, and a simple reversal of the truth (a common propaganda technique) would lead them ever closer to their goal, and introduce the world to perhaps their greatest spin doctor.
    So I take it semiotics (Eco's field) comes in when writers like Blavatsky create code words that translate to other meanings to the "initiated" members of their group?

    ...Following the widespread distribution of the Protocols by the Thule Society and Hitler's protege Alfred Rosenberg, it was the added "Jewish" elements that were seized upon by Hitler's Mein Kampf and Henry Ford's The International Jew. Conveniently both of these fervantly anti-Semitic works chose to ignore the Rosicrucian references of the Protocols, and the fact that the "Return of the King" agenda is not traditionally Jewish or a historical goal of Jewish Zionism, but the secret goal of the Catholic/Rosicrucian/Grail elites. Perhaps the popularization of the altered Protocols was an attempt at damage control, and a pointing of the finger away from the true authors, as their actual neo-feudalistic agenda was becoming known by political and occult scholars. Or something even more nefarious: "It is hardly credible that the baddies would reveal their fell purposes so blatantly", commented Foucault's Pendulum author Umberto Eco on the current recycling of the Protocols within popular culture and the disturbing rise of "crude forms of racism of the neo-Celtic kind" -- and yet the use of the Protocols was the primary justification for the Holocaust and the attempted annihilation of the Jews, who are regarded as the historical "perfidious Enemy" of both Jesuit and Rosicrucian elites....
    "History records that the Money Changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance." --James Madison

  5. #5


    Let's not overlook Eco's co-authorship of The Bond Affair.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Drago View Post
    Let's not overlook Eco's co-authorship of The Bond Affair.
    How can one overlook something one did not know to look for? :confused: At any rate, I did look up The Bond Affair, thanks to Charles, which eventually led me to this:
    ...Eco employs his education as a medievalist in his novel The Name of the Rose, which was made into a movie starring Sean Connery as a monk who investigates a series of murders revolving around a monastery library. He is particularly good at translating medieval religious controversies and heresies into modern political and economic terms so that the reader can understand them without being a theologian. At the conclusion of that novel, we are left with a monk attempting to reconstruct a library based on scraps and attempting to create meaning by the combination of random pieces of information. This monk is fulfilling the role of a reader....Eco's characters partially enact literary theory, as they demonstrate the way that meaning is manufactured by consciousness, and how it may be impossible for any human reading to be without meaning. As in semiotics, it is possible that there is an order antecedent to even the consciously random and that any manufactured meaning is true or false only to the degree that it is believed.

    I discovered The Role of the Reader By Umberto Eco, which I may be forced to order, though it may be over my head; part of it can be viewed online at google books:,M1
    "History records that the Money Changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance." --James Madison

  7. #7



    The name of Connery's character -- William of Baskervilles -- reflects the author's nods to the much-misinterpreted forger of Occam's Razor, and the creator of Baker Street's paragon of reason.

    Gee ... subtext in an Umberto Eco novel. Whudda thunk it?

    FYI, I've looked for years, and to no avail, for a copy of Eco's co-authored Bond analysis for under a hundred dollars.

    Perhaps if this forum ever turns a decent profit ...

    (We're too busy turning prophets, I fear.)


  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Minor View Post
    Or something even more nefarious: "It is hardly credible that the baddies would reveal their fell purposes so blatantly", commented Foucault's Pendulum author Umberto Eco on the current recycling of the Protocols within popular culture and the disturbing rise of "crude forms of racism of the neo-Celtic kind" -- and yet the use of the Protocols was the primary justification for the Holocaust and the attempted annihilation of the Jews, who are regarded as the historical "perfidious Enemy" of both Jesuit and Rosicrucian elites....
    Linda, It is of interest here that Gerard Encausse (aka "Papus" - Latin for "a pimple") who some consider to be the true author of the Protocols - it being a Martinist manifesto under this view - was avowedly anti-Semitic. This would, I feel sure, fit in with the Jesuit connection Eco notes above.

    The neo-Celtic racist recycling theme is something I've come across many times during research. One of the more outstanding examples is the Celtic word "Cuchulainn" (meaning tribe of the White Dog I am told) is said to be the origin of the Ku Klux Klan.

    Charlie, I was aware of Eco's The Bond Affair but haven't read it. His two named novels above I have and both are littered with interesting curiosities of which much can be found on the internet.

    Btw, I thought it interesting that at one point in time (see my post above) Stanley Kubric wished to make a movie of Foucault's Pendulum, but Eco was against it.

    Kubric appears to have made Eyes Wide Shut instead.

    Synchronicity is scary...
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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