This great humanistic cry was for me the most striking thing about Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose. Although he captures it in a religious context whereby the ‘Antichrist can be born from piety itself’, the lesson is broader. Where anyone is consumed by ideology they can end up violating the very ideals or principles they may have set out to defend. And I love the closing line: the mission of those who love mankind being to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, rather than dying for it or killing others. This became all the more poignant after the Charlie Hebdo murders.
Again, on World Laughter Day, hope it inspires you to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, and show your love of mankind in the process!
‘The Antichrist can be born from piety itself, from excessive love of God or of the truth, as the heretic is born from the saint and the possessed from the seer. Fear prophets, Adso, 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 … Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh.’
Source: Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose, trans. William Weaver, p. 491
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