Oct 29, 2006

The Quote Shelf

book shelf A frequent feature on this site; feel free to comment on the quote or to supply a competing quote.

I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.
--Umberto Eco


Stephanie said...

I'm sorry if this is rude, but...

Are you depressed? I remember your quotes being much more....optimistic. More good guys challenging the bad guys, less the world sucks anyway, why bother.

Are you okay?

microdot said...

Did you really think that this quote was depressing?
Truth is simple, the human condition makes it complicated!

historymike said...

Not rude at all, Steph. In looking back I can see how one might arrive at the conclusion you did; I have been reading a lot of skeptical philosophy of late, and I am sure it has influenced my outlook.

I have been battling cynicism, but my overall state of mental health is fine.

The Eco quote caught my eye at a moment of spiritual doubt. As a Christian, I struggle with reconciling the evil in the world with the concept of an omnipotent God.

That whole deal.

Stephanie said...

Well, I'm glad to hear you're not depressed. Cynicism I can understand. Especially as the hyped-up run to election time plays out around us. Well, depression I could understand too, as far as that goes; but it's more cause for concern. Especially considering how many narratives of the people around people not paying attention when it's important you've posted, I figured it was appropriate to comment.

And I certainly understand how what one reads affects what one thinks and feels. I go through that all the time!

But, on the up side, your prose has been excellent lately, and that's something I really appreciate!

Stephanie said...

And, yes, Microdot, I consider seeing the world as a meaningless enigma to be something that is extremely depressing. If all the suffering in the world has no purpose, if there's no reason moldy pieces of paper (i.e. old comic books) sell for thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars, while children starve, if it's all just a stupid accident of nature, then why bother? If there is no such thing as goodness, if there is no hope, then we're all screwwed; because if this is all we get, then death is a much easier, much less absurd option than struggling through a purposeless existence wrought with pain, misery and suffering. If there is no purpose, if there is no meaning in life, then why not screw over as many people as you can to die in the lap of luxury? Why care about others at all, if we're all just a haphazard collection of cells without intrinsic value? Yes, it's a very depressing notion indeed.