Home > Uncategorized > web of notes on Foucault’s Pendulum etc

web of notes on Foucault’s Pendulum etc

from everything2’s entry on Foucault’s Pendulum:

This Foucault’s theories apply then to the rest of the book and its texts–namely, the power of the word to make manifest, even when that which the word describes does not actually exist. And it is through machines–the computer Abulafia, Garamond Press–that these ideas take on life. It is in a museum dedicated to machines that Causabon hides, having witnessed the ritual murder of his friend and co-conspirator Belbo, owner of Abulafia, by the very cult who believed in Causabon and Belbo’s hoax.

BUT–we find that THEY know about Belbo’s text, the Plan in Abulafia, and yet don’t believe that it is all a hoax. THEY must have a secret which doesn’t exist, but which they believe exists because they need it to exist. The lies we create are the most appealing parts of our existence, for they construct meaning out of chaos. And it is this constructed meaning–these signs and symbols, these structuralist fantasies–that lead Belbo to his death.

“You mocked the creators of illusion, and now…you write using the alibi of a machine, telling yourself you are a spectator because you read yourself on the screen as if the words belonged to another, but you have fallen into the trap: you, too, are trying to leave footprints on the sands of time. You have dared to change the text of the romance of the world, and the romance of the world has taken you instead into its coils and involved you in its plot, a plot not of your making.”–Belbo’s files on Abulafia

from Deborah Solomon’s interview with Umberto Eco in the New York Times November 25, 2007:

DS – I am wondering if you read Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code,” which some critics see as the pop version of your “Name of the Rose.”

UE – I was obliged to read it because everybody was asking me about it. My answer is that Dan Brown is one of the characters in my novel, “Foucault’s Pendulum,” which is about people who start believing in occult stuff.

from Wikipedia’s entry on Foucault’s pendulum:

The three editors start to develop their own conspiracy theory, “The Plan”, as part satire and part intellectual game. Starting from Ardenti’s “secret manuscript”, they develop an intricate web of mystical connections. They also make use of Belbo’s small personal computer, which he has nicknamed Abulafia. Belbo mainly uses Abulafia for his personal writings (the novel contains many excerpts of these, discovered by Casaubon as he goes through Abulafia’s files), but it came equipped with a small program that can rearrange text in random.

They use this program to create the “connections” which inspire their Plan. They enter randomly selected words from the Diabolicals’ manuscripts, logical operators (“What follows is not true”, “If”, “Then”, etc.), truisms (such as “The Templars have something to do with everything”) and “neutral data” (such as “Minnie Mouse is Mickey Mouse’s fiancée”) and use Abulafia to create new text.

Casaubon jokingly suggests that to create something truly new Belbo must look for occult connections in non-obvious contexts, such as by linking the Kabbalah to a car’s spark plugs. (Belbo actually does this, and after some research concludes that the powertrain is a metaphor for the Tree of life.) Pleased with the results of the random text program, the three continue resorting to Abulafia whenever they reach a dead-end with their game.

from Wikipedia’s entry on telluric current:

The main plot of the novel Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco revolves around search of the Ombilicus Mundi (Latin: The Navel of the World), the mystic Center of The Earth which is supposed to be a certain point from where a person could control the energies and shapes of the earth thus reforming it at will. The novel takes this even further by suggesting that monuments like the Eiffel Tower are nothing more than giant antennae to catalyze these energies.

from Wikipedia’s entry on zairja:

A zairja was a device used by medieval Arab astrologers to calculate ideas by mechanical means. It used the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet to signify 28 categories of philosophic thought. By combining number values associated with the letters and categories, new paths of insight and thought were created.

It is thought that Catalan-Majorcan mystic, Ramon Llull (1234-1315) in his travels and studies of Arab culture, became familiar with the zairja, and used it as a prototype for his invention of the Ars Magna (The Great Art).

from Wikipedia’s entry on Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius:

One of the major themes of “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” is that ideas ultimately manifest themselves in the physical world and the story is generally viewed as a parabolic discussion of Berkeleian idealism – and to some degree as a protest against totalitarianism.

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