Dewey Decimal System

“…create three 3-digit numbers using your selections from the first step. Next, visit this Dewey Decimal System website and find the subjects that match your three digit numbers.  If one of your results turns up “not assigned or no longer used,” you may create a new 3-digit number to replace it from the original four you selected.”

1952, the year of my birth. 529, 195, 291 Let’s see what happens now! (Sorry, I couldn’t see any point in making multiple four digit numbers, bpuppies)

529 = chronology

195 = Modern Western philosophy; Italy

291 = Comparative religion

Anyone looking at the chronology of human culture is going to find themselves staring into the looking glass tunnel of world religion. Like ocean waves, the themes recur and recede. Here humans worry about caring for the poor; here they worry about salvation; here they worry about the exact meaning of whatever scripture they follow. The study of comparative religions shows this, even with its intrinsic philosophical flaw. Comparisons are, by definition, the search for similarities, so over and over we find virgin births and baptisms. These facts emerging through the chronology of the development of human culture become “evidence” for one argument or another. The central assumption on which the comparison turns — that there is a supreme being — is often ignored. Since comparative religion is used to bolster arguments, we forget that religion is also humanity’s attempt to make sense of chaos, to fence human experience within the chronological parameters of a human life. It’s difficult to accept that while our lives begin and end, they are not complete sentences. They are fragments of something larger and, perhaps, eternally incomplete.

In Milan, in the Stazione Centrale, I’ve had some of the greatest moments of my life. I didn’t know much about the station and its history until I bought a tourist guide (in Italian) and read that the station had been built by Mussolini as a testament, a monument, a palace to “liberty ed eclettismo.” Pondering that bit of modern Italian philosophy, what is liberty but eclecticism? And what a world that would even think of that? And isn’t it in that eternal incompleteness that we find liberty? In eclecticism we find the most possibility? The irony is that this was part of the philosophy of Italian fascism.

6 thoughts on “Dewey Decimal System

  1. I think I got this a little wrong as well, but like your contribution(s). Milan railway station has memories.I was about 45 years younger on my way for an easter holiday in Venice with three other youg english friends. Oh yes, we had to go to the WC in the station when we were changing trains – one entrance for men and women and afterwards ladies to the right and men to the left, Italia pure. And it was 5.30 a.m.

    • I may know that restroom. I was there in 1998, running away from some love drama. Someday I’ll write that story. Suffice it to say that the restroom attendant was cute and funny and, though it was Christmas, wished me a Buona Pasqua 🙂

      • I think they rennovated the station since I was last there, all modern and glass. In my time it was grubby, packed with people and no glass.

      • Yeah — I wondered about that. The places where the trains arrive was not (in 2004 last time I was there) the same as it was the first time. When did they do that? The inside of the station was the same in 2004 as it had been the first time I was there (December 1998 on my way to Zürich). But maybe it’s been “fancified” too. I remember getting off the train in Zürich and my friend was waiting for me with a box of Comella . 🙂

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