Just a few ideas about the last week of posts referring to the subjects of travel, movement(s) and going places.
Festina lente or Σπεῦδε βραδέως is a classical adage meaning “hasten slowly“. It has been used as the motto of many people such as the Emperors Augustus and Vespasian. The meaning of the phrase is that activities should be performed with a proper balance of urgency and diligence. If tasks are rushed too quickly then mistakes are made and good long-term results are not achieved. Work is best done in a state of flow in which one is fully engaged by the task and there is no sense of time passing.
Lesson / Koan : One wishes for success, but our definition of success must be our own.
Two individuals can help greatly with this wish.
Aldus Pius Manutius (1449/1450 – February 6, 1515), was an Italian humanist who became a printer and publisher when he founded the Aldine Press in Venice. His publishing legacy includes the distinctions of inventing italic type, establishing the modern use of the semicolon, and introducing inexpensive books in small formats bound in vellum that were read much like modern paperbacks. The publishing logo imprint of Aldus was the dolphin around an anchor, today used by Doubleday. It is derived from the symbol of the ancient city of Beirut, Lebanon and text from the proverb “Festina lente” (Hasten slowly). Aldus had taken as a motto as early as 1499, and regularly expounded to his friends.
One who listened to Aldus was Italo Calvino. “From my youth on, my personal motto has been the old Latin tag, Festina lente, hurry slowly.” The quote is from his series of lectures called Six Memos for the Next Millennium. Six Memos for the Next Millennium is a book based on a series of lectures written by Italo Calvino for the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard, but never delivered as Calvino died before leaving Italy. The lectures were to be given in the fall of 1985, and Memos was published in 1988. The memos are lectures on the values of literature which Calvino felt were important for the coming millennium. At the time of his death Calvino had finished all but the last lecture.
Italian cover of the Six memos for the next millennium.
Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium contains five memos, or personal testaments. The sixth was never written on paper. Each memo on lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, and multiplicity acts as a guideline for life and creativity. Six Memos for the Next Millennium is a book one should all read to endure a more satisfying life of clarity and simplicity.
The Symbol of Festina lente was critical to Italo Calvino as in a rebus. His early & life-long love of fairy tales represented his desire or wish to have his readers travel into the types of similar imagery.
The values which Calvino highlights are:
All that is known of the sixth lecture is that it was to be on consistency.
One should really spend time with the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures. Below is but a few of who were invited to speak.
T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Sigfried Giedion, Thornton Wilder, E.E. Cummings, Ben Shahn, Pier Luigi Nervi, Jorge Luis Borges, Charles Eames, Octavio Paz, Frank Stella, Umberto Eco, John Cage, John Cage.
A rebus (Latin: “by things”) is a kind of word puzzle that uses pictures to represent words or parts of words.
The term rebus also refers to the use of a pictogram to represent a syllabic sound. This adapts pictograms into phonograms. A precursor to the development of the alphabet, this process represents one of the most important developments of writing. Fully developed hieroglyphs read in rebus fashion were in use at Abydos in Egypt as early as 3400 BC.
The writing of correspondence in rebus form became popular in the 18th century and continued into the 19th century. Lewis Carroll wrote the children he befriended picture-puzzle rebus letters, nonsense letters, and looking-glass letters, which had to be held in front of a mirror to be read. Rebus letters served either as a sort of code or simply as a pastime.