Encourage more people to attend university, but don’t make courses easierby Umberto Eco / December 10, 2015 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
I can only give a polemical answer as to what I would do if I ruled the world because there is no chance of it happening. As I have got older, I have started to hate mankind, so if I had absolute power then I would leave it to continue on the path to self-destruction—it would be destroyed and I would be happier.
People like me, we are intellectuals—we do our job, we write articles, we have ways of protesting, but we can’t change the world. All we can do is support the politics of empathy. Angela Merkel made a positive statement when she encouraged the German people to host Syrian refugees. She changed the image of the German people all over the world—no longer will they be seen as Adolf Hitler’s SS. That’s what a politician can do.
Young people need to be taught to filter and question the information they receive through the internet, rather than take it at face value. It’s a difficult task. I use Wikipedia and I know that I can trust it 99 per cent of the time, but people have said on my page that I was the first of 13 children and that I married the daughter of my publisher. None of that is true. So even this can be subject to manipulation. One of my grandsons is 15 years old and says many of his friends believe the conspiracy theories they read on the internet. There is no quality control—it’s an enormous problem.