Librarian of Alexandria


One morning Amparo and I were driving along the coast after having attended a seminar on the class structure of the lumpenproletariat. I saw some votive offerings on the beach, little candles, white garlands. Amparo told me they were offerings to Yemanj√°, goddess of the waters. We stopped, and she got out and walked demurely onto the sand, stood a few moments in silence. I asked her if she believed in this. She retorted angrily: How could I think such a thing? Then she added, "My grandmother used to bring me to the beach here, and she would pray to the goddess to make me grow up beautiful and good and happy. Who was that Italian philosopher who made that comment about black cats and coral horns? 'It's not true, but I believe in it'? Well, I don't believe in it, but it's true."

—Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum