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Travels in Hyper-Reality: "Living in the New Middle Ages" -- Eco - Maybe It Is Yourself
February 2007
 
 
 
 
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Mon, Jan. 30th, 2006 08:08 pm
Travels in Hyper-Reality: "Living in the New Middle Ages" -- Eco

- There are two distinct historical periods that we call the Middle Ages: pre-1000 (decadence, cultural clashes, adjustments) and 1000-Humanism (High Middle Ages, some speak of a Carolingian Renaissance and another in the 11th and 12th)
- "We are close to the medieval contrada" (p. 76). [Age of locals, small communities, subdivisions, suburbs, etc.]
- U.E. argues that the Middle Ages and contemporary culture are mirrors of each other because they are at both extremes. He writes, "Today the parallel is inverted, has come full circle" (p. 78). famine/carconogenic food, difficulty of communication/hyper-communication, decay of Roman roads and postal system/hyper-travel and email, etc.
- * "consumer society at its maximum level does not produce perfect objects, but rather little machines that are highly perishable" (p. 78) [consumer society is about efficiency, productivity, quantity not quality, reliability, etc.]
- "If the parallels seem untidy [between monks and loafers (druggies and thieves)], think of the enormous difference, under the appropriatly religious cover, that obtained among lax, contemplative monks, who in the privacy of their monasteries carried on outrageously, and the active, populist Franciscans, the doctrinaire and intransigent Dominacans, all voluntarily and diversely withdrawn from the social context, which was despised as decadent, diabolical, the source of neurosis and alienation" (p. 81). U.E. goes on to talk about how these "societies of reformers" were often in the middle of providing service to outcasts and participating in practical activities; they were accused of being heretics and sometimes threatened with excommunication.
- "In both periods [contemporary and medieval], the select elite debates written texts with alphabetic mentality" (p. 81)
- Says that the M.Ages was a time of vision, and calls the cathedral the "great book in stone", equating it with our media today (pp. 81-82).
- "An art not systematic but additive and compositive, ours and that of the Middle Ages" (p. 83).
- equates monastery with American university p. 83
- Notes that during the M. Ages they didn't not systematically preserve things. [turn books into other books, modern-day equivalent = pulp, disorganized, etc]
- The M.Ages was "an immense work of bricolage" (p. 84)


Vocabulary:
paroxysm
       Med. An episode of increased acuteness or severity of a disease, esp.one recurring periodically in the course of the disease; a sudden recurrence or attack, e.g. of coughing; a sudden worsening of symptoms; A violent attack or outburst of emotion or activity. Freq. with of.
chiliastic
      Of, pertaining to, or holding the doctrine of the millennium; millenarian.
mendicant
     A member of any of the Christian religious orders whose members originally lived solely on alms; a mendicant friar.

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