The Examination of Virtues for the Pilgrim

The threefold examination of the Pilgrim at the boundary between the material Cosmos and the eternal mind of the Divine is in many ways making a crucial argument about which insights are needed – to open up this Divine Realm within yourself. The key is to expand on the ideas of Faith, Hope and Love in your mind and heart – as a process of “finding” this Realm.

Crucial elements are first, that Faith is “the substance of those hoped-for things, and argument for things we have not seen.” Meaning things like the Good, the Heavens, the Divine – which by definition would be beyond our comprehension, and thus only reachable by a conviction or belief.
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How Love moves things to Rest

Excellent conversation about Paradiso Canto 1, by Patrick Boyde (University of Cambridge) and John Bruce-Jones (StantonMarris).

Among the many highlights is the idea of the Hermeneutic Circle regarding reading Dante; that one needs to understand the overall picture to understand the elements, but one needs to understand the elements in order to understand the overall picture. Which is what we have sometimes referred to here as the metaphor of “mosaic” in understanding Dante; gradually one learns the smaller pieces and cantos, and then gradually an overall image and world emerges out of the whole Poem. Continue reading “How Love moves things to Rest”

The Good that Multiplies, like Mirrors

The Source of Envy, and Nature of the Good.

At the end of the second Terrace the Pilgrim has one of his biggest new understandings of the nature and roots of Envy, which leads to an even bigger and more joyful discovery; that Love and the Good only multiplies like mirrors, the more people that participate in it.

The argument is that the material goods will create a kind of possessiveness and fear of loss, whilst a greater understanding of the Heavenly Good, and spending your time and actions towards the spiritually good things – will only increase the motivation for sharing this Good with others, and having more people finding the same joyful source of Good Life. In some ways Envy could be seen a direct result of aiming at the wrong things as the higher value in life.

As the Pilgrim absorbs this deeper new insight, Virgil points out that they should move on to erase the five wounds left on Dante’s forehead. Symbolically meaning that through understanding this nature of Envy, and the mutually amplifying nature of the Good, the “scar” of Envy has already healed completely from the Pilgrim’s soul. A change of mind has occurred. And this, according to Dante’s writings, is a part of the path to happiness and ascent towards the Good in the widest sense possible. We are learning both substance and process at the same time. And like the Pilgrim, it’s very easy to yearn for more learning, and more understanding!