Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Is the novel "the name of the rose" part of my inquiry into systems thinking?

I've got to come clean, I have had several attempts to read The Name of the Rose.... and never really made it past the preamble. This time, however, I have a new Open University course to avoid, so I've reached page 50... and I have found a beautiful definition of a vicious cycle!

"For what I saw at the Abbey then [...] caused me to think that often inquisitors create heretics. And not only in the sense that they imagine heretics where these do not exist, but also that inquisitors repress the heretical putrefaction so vehemently that many are driven to share in it, in their hatred for the judges. Truly, a circle conceived by the devil". (The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco)

I have speculated for a long time on the long term impact of restrictive regimes on the behaviour of the population that is being "controlled".

The most recent example of this, I believe, is the behaviour of the US National Security Agency (NSA)  (and other western governments) in their attempts to identify potential terrorists before they commit a crime. I've just re-read the quote above, and replaced the word Abbey with World; inquisitors with security agencies; and heretics with terrorists. By jove, by Eco's standards, the devil is winning!

I will let you all know if this continues to be a theme through the rest of the book!

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