Umberto Eco: a new year's message to grandson

"Learn by heart". So called his new year's address to the grandson of the Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco. Called by chance, because I dedicated it to something important that has been and is the person memory.

My dear grandson,
I don't wish this Christmas letter sounded too didactic, in the spirit of De Amicis, and would preach love for our neighbour, country, humanity, and similar things. You wouldn't have to listen to it (you're an adult, and I'm too old) as the system of values has changed so much that my recommendations may not be appropriate.

So, I want to give only one advice that can be useful to you in practice now, when you use your tablet. I'm not going to give you advice not to do it out of fear of appearing foolish old man. I myself use it. In a pinch I can advise you not to keep attention on the hundreds of pornographic sites, showing sexy games between people, between humans and animals. Don't believe that sexual relations are reduced to the rather monotonous actions. These scenes are meant to keep you at home and you could not go and meet real girls. Assume that you are heterosexual, otherwise accept my recommendations in the Annex to your situation, but look at girls at school or on playgrounds because they are better than television characters and ever will bring you more joy than girls online. Trust me, because I have more experience (if I was watching sex games on the computer, your father would never be born, and you would not be).

But I didn't want to talk to you, and about the disease that struck yours and the previous generation, which is already studying in universities. I'm talking about the memory loss.

Is it true that if you want to know who Charles the Great or where Kuala Lumpur, you'll be able to click a button and instantly learn everything from the Internet. Do it when you need to, but get help, try to remember it, not to seek a second time when this knowledge you will need in school, for example. The bad thing is that the understanding of what a computer can at any time to answer your question, discourages you wish to memorize information. This phenomenon can result in the following comparison: to learn that from one street to the other can be reached by bus or metro, which is very useful in case of haste, the man decides that he no longer needed to walk. But if you stop walking, you'll turn into a human, is forced to move around in a wheelchair. Oh, I know what you're doing sports and know how to control his body, but back to your brain.
Memory is like the muscles in your legs. If you cease to exercise, it will become flabby, and you will idiot. In addition, we all in old age at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, and one way to avoid this trouble is to constantly exercise our memory.

This is my recipe. Every morning vyuziva some short poem as forced us to do in childhood. You can arrange a competition with friends for the best memory. If you don't like poetry, you can memorize the composition of football teams, but you must know the players not only commands the club of Rome, but players from other teams, as well as their original compositions (pretend I remember the names of the players of the Turin club who were on Board the plane that crashed on the hill of Superga: Bacigalupo, Ballarin, Maroso and so on). Compete in who is better remember the books: do you remember your friends names servants of the three Musketeers and d'artagnan (Grimaud, bazen, blunderbuss and the Board)... And if you don't want to read "the Three Musketeers" (although you don't know what you lose), then do a similar game with the book that you read.

It's a game, Yes this is a game, but you will see how your head is filled with characters and stories of the different memories. You ask why once a computer called an electronic brain. This is because it was conceived on the model of your (our) brain, but the human brain has more connections than the computer. The brain is like a computer that is always with you, its capabilities are expanding as a result of the exercise, your desktop computer after prolonged use loses speed and after a few years need replacement. And your brain can last you up to 90 years, and 90 years if you will exercise, you will remember more than you remember now. He is also free.

Then there is another historical memory that is not tied to the facts of your life, or what you read. She keeps the events that happened before you were born.
Today, if you go to the cinema, you must come to the beginning of the film. When the film begins, you seem to be lead by the hand, explaining what is happening. In my day you could enter the cinema at any time, even in the middle of the movie. Many events happened before you came, and you had to conjecture what happened earlier. When the movie was starting again, you can see the correct your reconstruction. If the film is liked, you could stay and watch it again. Life resembles watching a movie in my times. We are born at a time when hundreds of thousands of years, there have been many events, and it is important to understand what happened before our birth. This is necessary in order to better understand why today are so many new developments.

Today school (in addition to your own circle reading) would teach you to remember what happened before you were born, but it is bad succeed. Various surveys show that today's youth, and even University, born in 1990, does not know, and maybe don't want to know what happened in 1980, not to mention the fact that it was 50 years ago. Statistics says that when young people are asked who Aldo Moro, they reply that he headed the "Red brigades", and he was killed by members of the underground leftist organization.
The activities of the "Red brigades" for many remains a mystery, but they were present on the political scene only 30 years ago. I was born in 1932, 10 years after the fascists came to power, but I knew who was Prime Minister during the March on Rome. Maybe in Nazi school told me about it to explain how stupid and bad was this Minister ("cowardly Fact"), offset by the Nazis. Even so, I knew about it.

But let's leave aside the school. Today's young people do not know Actresses movie twenty years ago, and I knew who this Francesca Bertini, who starred in silent films for 20 years before I was born. Maybe it was because I was flipping through old magazines, piled into the back room of our house. I invite you to flip through the old magazines, because it helps to understand what happened before you were born.

But why is it important to know about the events of the past? Because often such knowledge helps to understand the events today and in any case, as the knowledge of football teams, help to enrich our memory.

Bear in mind that you can train your memory not only through books and magazines, but also through the Internet. It is suitable not only to chat with your friends, but also for the study of world history. Who are the Hittites and kamisori? What was the name of three ships of Columbus? When the dinosaurs became extinct? Whether the wheel on Noah's ark? What was the name of the ancestor of the bull? A hundred years ago vodilos more tigers than now? What do you know about the Mali Empire? Who told about it? Who was the second Pope in history? When was Mickey mouse created?

I could continue to ask questions indefinitely, and they'd make good subjects for the study. All this should be remembered. The day will come and you'll grow old, but you will feel that lived a thousand lives, as if you participated in the battle of Waterloo, was present at the murder of Julius Caesar, visited the place where Berthold Schwarz, mixing in a mortar various substances in an attempt to get gold accidentally invented gunpowder and flew into the air (and so he should!). And other friends of yours, not seeking to enrich their memory will live only one's own life, monotonous and without great emotion.
So, abogada your memory and tomorrow learned about the memory "La Vispa Teresa".published

P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! © Join us at Facebook , Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki



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