27+ quotes from The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco

Quotes from The Island of the Day Before

Umberto Eco ·  528 pages

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“To survive, you must tell stories.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“All the stories I would like to write persecute me. When I am in my chamber, it seems as if they are all around me, like little devils, and while one tugs at my ear, another tweaks my nose, and each says to me, 'Sir, write me, I am beautiful.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“But the purpose of a story is to teach and to please at once, and what it teaches is how to recognize the snares of the world.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Love flourishes in expectation. Expectation strolls through the spacious fields of Time towards Opportunity.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Thus we have on stage two men, each of whom knows nothing of what he believes the other knows, and to deceive each other reciprocally both speak in allusions, each of the two hoping (in vain) that the other holds the key to his puzzle.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Never affirm, always allude: allusions are made to test the spirit and probe the heart.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“But can I really will anything? At this moment I feel the pleasure of being stone, the sun warms me, the wind makes acceptable this adjustment of my body, I have no intention of ceasing to be a stone. Why? Because I like it. So then I too am slave to a passion, which advises me against wanting freely its opposite. However, willing, I could will. And yet I do not. How much freer am I than a stone?”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“He thought he would become accustomed to the idea, not yet understanding that it is useless to become accustomed to the loss of a father, for it will never happen a second time: might as well leave the wound open. ”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“...we can only add to the world, where we believe it ends, more parts similar to those we already know (an expanse made again and always of water and land, stars and skies).”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“The Void is not being, but not being cannot be, ergo the Void cannot be. The reasoning was sound, because it denied the Void while granting that it could be conceived. In fact, we can quite easily conceive things that do not exist. Can a chimera, buzzing in the Void, devour second intentions? No, because chimeras do not exist, in the Void no buzzing can be heard, and intentions are mental things -- an intended pear does not nourish us. And yet I can think of a chimera even if it is chimerical, namely, if it is not. And the same with the Void.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Poor boy," the libertine then said, "he builds machines to count the infinite, and we have terrified him with the eternal silence of too many infinities. Voila, the end of a fine vocation.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Here he was holding the clear proof of the existence of other skies, but at the same time without having to ascend beyond the celestial spheres, for he intuited many worlds in a piece of coral. Was there any need to calculate the number of forms which the atoms of the Universe could create--burning at the stake all those who said their number was not finite--when it sufficed to meditate for years on one of these marine objects to realize how the deviation of a single atom, whether willed by God or prompted by Chance, could generate inconceivable Milky Ways?”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“...living the same sorrows three times was a suffering, but it was a suffering to relive even the same joys. The joy of life is born from feeling, whether it be joy or grief, always of short duration, and woe to those who know they will enjoy eternal bliss.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“And if it is possible that creatures live underwater, could not creatures also live under the earth, nations of salamanders capable of arriving, through their tunnels, at the central fire that animates the planet?”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“What am I?...I say so inasmuch as I am the memory of all my past moments, the sum of everything I remember. If I say I in the sense of that something that is here at this moment and is not the mainmast or the coral, then I am the sum of what I feel now. But what is what I feel now? It is the sum of those relations between presumed indivisibles that have been arranged in that system of relations in that special order that is my body.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Sir," Saint-Savin replied, "the first quality of an honest man is contempt for religion, which would have us afraid of the most natural thing in the world, which is death; and would have us hate the one beautiful thing destiny has given us, which is life.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Born blind, he could move in that handsome luminous space (yes, he said luminous) of his church, seeing, as he said, the sun with his skin”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Η πρώτη αρετή ενός τίμιου ανθρώπου, είναι η περιφρόνηση για τη θρησκεία, που θέλει από μας να φοβόμαστε το πιο φυσικό πράγμα του κόσμου, το θάνατο, να μισούμε το μόνο ωραίο πράγμα που μας έδωσε η μοίρα, τη ζωή, και να ελπίζουμε σ' ένα ουρανό όπου στην αιώνια μακαριότητα ζουν μόνο οι πλανήτες, που δεν έχουν ούτε επιβραβεύσεις ούτε καταδίκες, μα μονάχα την αιώνια κίνησή τους στην αγκαλιά του κενού. Να είστε δυνατοί όπως οι σοφοί της αρχαίας Ελλάδας και να κοιτάζετε το θάνατο με μάτι σταθερό και άφοβο. Ο Ιησούς παραΐδρωσε περιμένοντάς τον. Μα τι είχε να φοβηθεί αφού θ' ανασταινόταν;”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“I would like to tell about war and friendship among the various parts of the body, the arms that do battle with the feet, and the veins that make love with the arteries, or the bones with the marrow. All the stories I would like to write persecute me. When I am in my chamber, it seems as if they are all around me, like little devils, and while one tugs at my ear, another tweaks my nose, and each says to me, 'Sir, write me, I am beautiful.' Then I realize that an equally beautiful story can be told, inventing an original duel, for example, a man fighting and convincing his adversary to deny God, then running him through so that he dies damned....”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Sir, be proud: today you came close to a happy death; and behave in the future with the same nonchalance, knowing that the soul dies with the body. Go then to death after having savored life. We are animals among animals, all children of matter, save that we are the more disarmed. But since, unlike animals, we know we must die, let us prepare for that moment by enjoying the life that has been given us by chance and for chance.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“...I am not I who thinks,but I am the Void, or extension, that thinks me. And so this composite is an accident, in which Void and extension linger for the blink of an eye, to be able afterwards to return to thinking otherwise. In this great Void of the Void, the one thing that truly is, is the history of this evolution in numberless transitory compositions...Compositions of what? Of the one great Nothingness, which is the substance of the whole.

Substance governed by a majestic necessity, which leads it to create and destroy worlds, to weave our pale lives. I must accept this, succeed in loving this Necessity, return to it, and bow to its future will, for this is the condition of Happiness. Only by accepting its law will I find my freedom. To flow back into It will be Salvation, fleeing from passions into the sole passion, the Intellectual Love of God.

If I truly succeeded in understanding this, I would be the one man who has found the True Philosophy, and I would know everything about the God that is hidden. But who would have the heart to go about the world and proclaim such a philosophy? This is the secret I will carry with me to my grave, in the Antipodes.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“And on the moon there is surely water...And up there, if water exists, and air, then so does life.
A life perhaps different from ours. Perhaps that water has the flavor of (let us say) glycyrrhizin, or cardamon, or even of pepper. If there are infinite worlds, this proves the infinite ingenuity of the Engineer of our Universe, but then there is no limit to this Poet. He can have created inhabited worlds everywhere, but inhabited by ever-different creatures. Perhaps the inhabitants of the sun are sunnier, brighter, and more illuminated than are the inhabitants of the earth, who are heavy with matter, and the inhabitants of the moon lie somewhere in between. On the sun live beings who are all Form, or all Act, if you prefer, while on the earth beings are made of mere Potentials that evolve, and on the moon they are in medio fluctuantes, lunatics, so to speak...”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“An we, inhabitants of the great coral of the Cosmos, believe the atom (which still we cannot see) to be full matter, whereas, it too, like everything else, is but an embroidery of voids in the Void, and we give the name of being, dense and even eternal, to that dance of inconsistencies, that infinite extension that is identified with absolute Nothingness an that spins from its own non-being the illusion of everything.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Every thing thinks, but according to its complexity. If this is so, then stones also think...and this stone thinks only I stone, I stone, I stone. But perhaps it cannot even say I. It thinks: Stone, stone, stone... God enjoys being All, as this stone enjoys being almost nothing, but since it knows no other way of being, it is pleased with its own way, eternally satisfied with itself.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“But Roberto already knew what the Jesuit's real objection would be. Like that of the abbe on that evening of the duel when Saint-Savin provoked him: If there are infinite worlds, the Redemption can no longer have any meaning, and we are obliged either to imagine infinite Calvaries or to look on our terrestrial flowerbed as a priveleged spot of the Cosmos, on which God permitted His Son to descend and free us from sin, while the other worlds were not granted this grace--to the discredit of His infinite goodness. ”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“Aspirar a algo que no tendrás jamás, ¿es ésta la agudeza del más generoso entre los deseos?”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


“So you truly do not believe in God?"
"I find no reason to, in nature... If the idea of God is unknown in the state of nature, it must then be a human invention.”
― Umberto Eco, quote from The Island of the Day Before


About the author

Umberto Eco
Born place: in Alessandria, Italy
Born date January 5, 1932
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