I’ve been through hell — as it was envisioned by Dante — and it doesn’t strike me as being too different from much of life as we know it (though there are many arresting phantasmagorical special effects).
So, I am ready to move on — it seems everybody’s ready to “move on” these days, at least that’s what they say in the newspapers — through purgatory and from there into the light — just as the fly did this morning through the open window in The Star’s upstairs bathroom.
Envy and pride were the worst sins, Dante thought, giving rise, as they did, to various forms of political and spiritual discord. And the bottom circles were thus reserved for those whose acts were evilly willed.
The sins of appetite — lust, gluttony, avarice, wrath, and sloth — occasioned less dire consequences. Their avatars were found by the Pilgrim and his guide, Virgil, in the circles of upper hell — a better address, as it were, than those circles south of Dis.
Being a modern, a modern liberal, no less, I do wonder what all the fuss is about, though, obviously, some lines must be drawn lest we replicate the Inferno entirely on this planet.
Dante was all for world government, I’m happy to say, believing it would be the only way to secure our happiness, and, according to my copy of the “Inferno,” which was translated and annotated by Mark Musa, thought that “the man who does not contribute to the common good fails sadly in his duty.”
Is East Hampton, then, an earthly paradise? For I find many here do contribute to the common good. Perhaps the many here who act in this communal way do so because they’re inspired by our beautiful natural surroundings. Being blessed, they wish the same for others. It’s something to think about as “we come out to see once more the stars.”