In search of The Plan

March 21, 2010

“We consoled ourselves with the realization—unspoken, now, respecting the etiquette of irony—that we were parodying the logic of our Diabolicals.” Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum, p. 467.

This novel—in which we were first introduced to the fictional character Dan Brown—is clearly Eco’s finest. The Italian scholar’s erudition is unparalleled; I have spent the last decade reading Foucault, even ventured to the archive in Caen, and have yet to come across any reference to the pendulum that Eco takes as his fulcrum. Perhaps it will turn up in The Government of Self and Others or subsequent lectures. I have tried to discover whether Eco was in Paris during the seventies or early eighties, but wikipedia was hardly forthcoming on the matter. In any case, this powerful semiotician is no doubt in possession (hidden among his 50,000 volumes) of the forbidden final manuscript of The History of Sexuality, wherein Foucault revealed the secret of the furtive S/M practice, learned in San Francisco and key to the interpretation of all his sayings and writings, that Eco portrays at the conclusion of his great novel. (Miller’s biography does not even have an index entry on “strangulation”, which shows that even the most insightful of hermeneuts can fall short of the truth.)

However these investigations turn out, I am blessed to have finally discovered my true diabolical comrades, who expose Eco’s slander of Bacon-Shakespeare, militate clandestinely for the overthrow of the latest New World Order, and more importantly, insist on the true “purpose of authentic metaphysical schools, orders, or traditions — to guide individuals through preparatory physical and spiritual self-purification to commitment to a lifetime’s quest for self-knowledge, the development of character, and graduated advances in the evolution of consciousness, leading ultimately, to liberation.” In all his late work on spiritual exercise and gnostic ascesis, Foucault rarely put it better himself.

At least I have shaken myself loose of the false path presented by this cabal—

—whose tour I futilely tracked through Romania last May as a result of unwarranted associations and extraordinary shortcuts that I am now ashamed to have believed.

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2 Responses to “In search of The Plan”

  1. Adam Says:

    great stuff, choof – dan brown as a character of Eco – i love it! partly because it adds an intellectual dimension to the dan brown phenomenon, partly because it’s almost believable.

    Has anyone played with Eco/echo, by the way? And what about ‘Umberto’ – makes me think of umbra – shade, shadow.

    Dark Echo. It’s a clue, surely.


  2. It’s actually a line of Eco’s from an interview – asked about Brown, he responded with appropriate disdain. Of course, he just meant that Brown is like the Diabolicals. Your suggestion that the Dark master Echo actually invented Brown, and plotted the whole phenomenon, just proves there is none more diabolical than you.

    As for Ec(h)o, I imagine it’d tempt any self-respecting postmodernist literary critic. See http://www.jstor.org/pss/464659

    Everything is a clue.


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