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Eastern Thought on Dante’s Divine Comedy

Preface

“Since the Fourth Century AD, the message that came with Jesus was replaced by an era of Oligarchy. Since then, Superstition and Ignorance is depicted as Strength, Sovereignty as Slavery and Warfare as Peace”

(Emmanuel Goldstein)

Harmony of religions is not rooted in scepticism. It is awareness that truth can be realized, and indeed possible by a variety of paths: the many systems of belief and practice make up the shared human inheritance. Dante was an end-product of personal enrichment through Four Constellations of Spirituality: Hinduism, Judaism, Pre-Mohammadan Islam and Christianity.

World religions are definitely not “all the same” but their ideas of mutual enrichment came from many traditions of adherents of diverse world views. In a world marked by violence and well-defined intolerance, Dante went beyond the minimum requirement of tolerance and moved towards acceptance. He did not see all others as ‘other’, but as his “own. “

Through the three divisions of “Divine Comedy” (Inferno, Purgatory and Heaven) Dante of the Middle Ages endured a gradual spiritual development of three states of being: intolerance, falsehood, and problematic otherness. His intolerance saw all ‘others’ as a threat that should not be allowed to exist. Falsehood was presented repeatedly as relative truth. He saw others according to an imagined integrity and personal value. When problematic otherness was allowed, it became challenging.

But Dante moved through progressively higher states of realization. He moved away from a deluded identification with the physical body and its various adjuncts. Relations of family, ethnicity, nationality, and even species were cracked. He had a need to be protected from the strange and different.  Through intellectual identification he assessed the part with the Whole. In this virtue of tolerance, he saw the survival of a higher spirituality. It brought him to a full realization of one’s unity with the Whole. The virtue of acceptance for him came with a realisation: “We’re One, but we’re not the same.”

 

Sections of Eastern Thoughts on Dante’s Divine Comedy