“I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very cultivated woman and knows that he cannot say to her “I love you madly”, because he knows that she knows (and that she knows he knows) that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. Still there is a solution. He can say “As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly”. At this point, having avoided false innocence, having said clearly it is no longer possible to talk innocently, he will nevertheless say what he wanted to say to the woman: that he loves her in an age of lost innocence.”
Umberto Eco’s quote talks about how people in a postmodern world struggle to express their feelings sincerely because there are already so many existing phrases and ideas.
He gives an example of a man who loves a sophisticated woman but can’t just say “I love you madly” because those words have been used by a famous romance writer.
Instead, he suggests a solution: the man can say, “As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly.”
By doing this, the man acknowledges that it’s difficult to speak genuinely and innocently in today’s world.
But even though he can’t be completely original, he still wants to tell the woman he loves her in a time when innocence is hard to find.
So, the quote shows that in a postmodern mindset, people are aware of the existing cultural references and clichés, making it challenging to express themselves honestly.
But by acknowledging this, they can still find ways to convey their feelings even in a world where pure and innocent expression seems lost.
In a crowded marketplace, entrepreneurs often face the challenge of standing out and being authentic.
Eco’s quote highlights the difficulty of expressing oneself genuinely when existing ideas and phrases are already in use.
Similarly, entrepreneurs need to find innovative ways to differentiate their products or services from the competition while remaining true to their unique vision.
Entrepreneurs might find innovation solutions by drawing inspiration from current ideas and modifying them to fit their business context.
Introduce innovative products without copying what’s already there.
It is like having to say I love you without saying I love you… Innovators and entrepreneurs have to grabble with this conundrum daily of having to differentiate themselves from what’s already there.