Dante’s wisdom ~ Inferno (part II)

{find part I here, if you want}

I have arrived upon the sixth circle of hell ~ Canto IX ~ Torment of the Heretics. I put down the Comedy last night only immediately upon putting myself to bed. Currently its Saturday morning here. My entire night’s sleep has involved a dialogue with someone (Dante, himself, perhaps?), in the dreams of my psyche, of the great wisdom embedded within the Inferno. Everything means something here. The journey which Dante travels ~ this symbolizes the journey which all souls and psyches must take, in order to reach their destiny ~ Divine Light and Love. The rough and wrinkled terrain, dotted with clefts and crevices, resemble to me the terrain of the human cerebral cortex – that wrinkled surface of the brain which plays a key role in the execution of complex brain functions. And of its structure ~ as one travels deeper and deeper into the brain, one finds its core, connected with its funnel-like brain stem: primitive cerebral elements which live in the darkness, but which define and bound corporeal existence.

One must traverse that mysterious and unpredictable passage in order to reach the Light. Human reasoning generates a light of its own, to illuminate our uncertain and frightening path. However, the cortical brain has limits, does not extend all the way to the Light. For, human reasoning, alone, simply cannot carry us to completion. Along the path we encounter Evil, Evil of such destruction and force that we cannot behold or experience it without certain damnation. We, alone, cannot find our way to the Light in abject and murderous darkness. We must appeal to the guidance of Divine Light, for safe passage beyond this frightening and destructive Evil. Fear blinds our eyes and our souls and diminishes Human Reason to a point at which it loses its effect. One must travel one’s life road ever-aware of the temptations of the crevices which line our passage. And the ease with which one can certainly slip, or stumble, into these. And the divine ardour we must grasp, and with which we must hoist ourselves from such a fallen state. And the humility, with which we must seek assistance, when we find we have fallen from grace, into the darkest crevice.

Expand the post to view the snippets that spoke to me. Perhaps they will speak to you, too.

on abandoning oneself to the temptest of passion

“…And she: ‘The double grief of a lost bliss

is to recall its happy hour in pain.

Your Guide and Teacher knows the truth of this’ …”

on observing the souls in torment

“I see new torments and new souls in pain

about me everywhere. Wherever I turn

away from grief I turn toward grief…”

“And he to me: ‘Look to your science again

where it is written: the more a thing is perfect

the more it feels of pleasure and pain.”

on the perversion of hoarding & wasting

“And he: ‘In the first life beneath the sun

they were so skewed and squint-eyed in their minds

their misering or extravagance mocked all reason…’

‘…In their sordid lives they laboured to be blind,

and now their souls have dimmed past recognition …’

‘Now may you see the fleeting vanity

of the goods of Fortune for which men tear down

all that they are, to build mockery.’ …”

on that lady of chance, Dame Fortune, who dances upon the path of life

“…’No mortal power may stay her spinning wheel.

The nations rise and fall by her decree.

None may foresee where she shall set her heel:’ …”

on facing the purest Evil

“My Guide then, in the greatness of his spirit:

‘take heart. Nothing can take our passage from us

when such a power has given warrant for it.

Wait here and feed your soul while I am gone

on comfort and good hope; I will not leave you

to wander in this underworld alone.’ …”


~ by frizzyscissorhands on August 25, 2007.

2 Responses to “Dante’s wisdom ~ Inferno (part II)”

  1. “Wait here and feed your soul while I am gone on comfort and good hope; I will not leave you
    to wander in this underworld alone.’ …”

    Beautiful- Jesus said much the same…In this world you will have trouble, but take heart- I have overcome the world.

    Sigh- I have to start dinner- wish I could linger a bit longer. Thanks for you wishes for my week- at some point the schedule will be all sorted out 🙂

  2. Beautiful, indeed, isn’t it? I keep a notebook just about everywhere, together with a pencil … so that, wherever I may be, whenever the muse strikes me, I can write down whatever bit or piece she deposits into my brain. And, at some later point, I combine them, and assimilate them into the digital medium (i.e. my computer). Just a way I have to transcend that schedule thing … and still keep the muse happy and the creative juices flowing.

    Be sure not to accept these tiny daily barriers that present themselves as excuses not to please the muse … noam saying?

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