Today I realize that many recent exercises in "deconstructive reading" read as if inspired by my parody. This is parody's mission: it must never be afraid of going too far. If its aim is true, it simply heralds what others will later produce, unblushing, with impassive and assertive gravity.
Umberto Eco (1932 -)
Source: Preface to Misreadings (English translation 1993)
IF If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too: If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; If you can dream and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same;* If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!" If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - You'll be a Man, my son! *These two lines are inscribed over the door to the center court at Wimbledon.
Whereas Frege had the strongest influence on me in the fields of logic and semantics, in my philosophical thinking in general I learned most from Bertrand Russell. In the winter of 1921 I read his book, Our Knowledge of the External World, as a Field For Scientific Method in Philosophy. Some passages made an especially vivid impression on me because they formulated clearly and explicitly a view of the aim and method of philosophy which I had implicitly held for some time. In the Preface he speaks about "the logical-analytic method of philosophy" and refers to Frege's work as the first complete example of this method. And on the very last pages of the book he gives a summarizing characterization of this philosophical method in the following words: I felt as if this appeal had been directed to me personally. To work in this spirit would be my task from now on! And indeed henceforth the application of the new logical instrument for the purposes of analyzing scientific concepts and of clarifying philosophical problems has been the essential aim of my philosophical activity.
Source: his "Intellectual autobiography" in The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap [Carnap63], p13
The Flame My life can glow and shine In radiant display; New light will be the sign That guides me day by day. But just to sight the gleam, A goal must be my aim. My ambitions are the spark; My achievements are the flame.