Friday, January 23, 2004

what are stories?

"Stories, over the centuries, have been the most important way of
 keeping our collective wisdom.  They were and still are a sort of
 universal brain where we can retrieve what we have forgotten and what
 we still do not know.  If you will allow me to use such a metaphor, a
 library is the best possible imitation, by human beings, of a divine
 mind, where the whole universe is viewed and understood at the same
 time.  A person able to store in his or her mind the information
 provided by a great library would emulate in some way the mind of
 God.  In other words, we have invented libraries because we know that
 we do not have divine powers, but we try to do our best to imitate

 - Umberto Eco, Vegetal and Mineral Memory: the Future of Books," a
   lecture at the newly opened Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

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