Human Character from ‘Foucault’s Pendulum’

It must be a week of reminders of favourites from great authors. I actually kept the following posted on my wall at work – part of a coping strategy for working with a resistant bureaucracy. Personally I have gravitated toward the fool. Even tried it myself. But in the end I just found myself slobbering, so the writing was on the wall. I left the public sector and I’m much better now 🙂

Definitions of Human Character from Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

The Cretin: “Cretins don’t talk; they slobber and stumble. Cretins are of no interest”.

The Fool: “He wants to talk about what is in his glass, but somehow he misses. Fools are in great demand, especially on social occasions. They embarrass everyone. In their positive form they become diplomats. They offend all the rules of conversation, and when they really offend, they’re magnificent.

The Moron: Morons never do the wrong thing. They get their reasoning wrong. Morons occasionally say something that’s right, but they say it for the wrong reason. Morons are tricky. Plenty of morons’books are published, because they’re convincing at first glance. God chose to be unthinkable to prove that philosophers are morons.

The Lunatic: Is easily recognised. He is a moron who doesn’t know the ropes. The lunatic doesn’t concern himself at all with logic. Everything proves everything else.


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