Saturday 15 October 2011

Rota Fortunae

In English, it means the Wheel of Fortune, in other words the changing nature of Fate. I am a medievalist, or I was at some point. My latin has always been poor, but the concept of capricious Fate, Rota Fortunae, I understand a good deal. People who thinks medieval times were primitive and uneducated should think twice. The Wheel of Fortune is a very modern concept (before becoming the name of a stupid game show), that I think is the ancestor of the absurd and maybe a distant great uncle of existentialism.

I was thinking about this when I read that unemployment was in a record high in the UK. I was jobless for quite a while and had a string of bad jobs afterwards. Now I don't have the ideal job, but I am lucky enough to have one. And I do look at jobs adverts from time to time, and while there isn't all that much, it seems that there is always something available for a French speakers. I have this asset over the locals (so I hope nobody will ever accuse me of stealing any job here). Wherever I go and live, it will be an asset, except, ironically enough, in Montreal, where there are plenty of bilingual people. So I am feeling lucky... for now at least. But I understand the changing nature of fortune and I know the recession can reach me everywhere too. And I am not even mentioning the other bad things that can happen: sickness, accident, what have you. I understand my luck. I think it is Machiavel who said that you were in control of half your life. The rest was in the ands of Fortune.

When I think of the concept of Rota Fortuna, I also think of the Carmina Burana as adapted by Carl Orf, the first song especially, which I discovered with Excalibur (sadly it is now the theme song of another stupid show). It has been overused, but it lost nothing of its powerful evocation.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Same for me, I got my job only because I speak French and English and the French are generally lousy English speakers :)