After so many years even the fire of passion dies, and with it what was believed the light of the truth. Who of us is able to say now whether Hector or Achilles was right, Agamemnon or Priam, when they fought over the beauty of a woman who is now dust and ashes?
I did not know then what Brother William was seeking, and to tell the truth, I still do not know today, and I presume he himself did not know, moved as he was solely by the desire for truth, and by the suspicion - which I could see he always harbored - that the truth was not what was appearing to him at any given moment.
True learning must not be content with ideas, which are, in fact, signs, but must discover things in their individual truth.
The truth is an anagram of an anagram.
Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.
The truth is a young maiden as modest as she is beautiful, and therefore she is always seen cloaked.'
'I have never doubted the truth of signs, Adso they are the only things man has with which to orient himself in the world. What I did not understand is the relation among signs.... I behaved stubbornly, pursuing a semblance of order, when I should have known well that there is no order in the universe.' 'But in imagining an erroneous order you still found something....' 'What you say is very fine, Adso, and I thank you. The order that our mind imagines is like a net, or like a ladder, built to attain something. But afterward you must throw the ladder away, because you discover that, even if it was useful, it was meaningless.... The only truths that are useful are instruments to be thrown away.'
Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth.
But now 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.
More Umberto Eco Quotations (Based on Topics)
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