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Life Undercover #55 Life Undercover #55
by Thanos K & Asa B
2008-01-17 09:44:16
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Emanuel Paparella2008-01-17 11:36:17
Voice in his head: I always suspected you were a robot created by Frankastein.

Man in bed: How so?

Voice in the head: has it ever occurred to you that without hell there is no freedom of will?

Man in bed: how so?

Voice: no matter what you did or did not do, you’d be determined or predestined to heaven from your Frankestein maker, as a robot with no will of its own, however you wish to conceive of heaven. Being bad or good would have no bearing on the decision which would not be yours. You’d just be sent there willy nilly.

Man in bed: hmmm, never thought of that!
Voice: you need to get up, go to the library and read Dante.

Man in bed: does he write about Hell?

Voice: yes, but also about Purgatory and Heaven. They are interrelated. Lots of interesting people in all three places.

Man in bed: this chap Dante sounds interesting. Where can I find his book?

Voice: Any library will do. He is also taught at most universities in the world where world literature is taught.

Man in bed: No kidding.


Sand2008-01-17 16:07:46
But the concern was not whether Hell was a choice or not but whether Heaven as envisioned was a punishment.


Emanuel Paparella2008-01-17 16:58:33
If one refrains from throwing the book into the bonfire (i.e., send it to hell) and instead reads carefully Jean-Paul Sartre's conception of hell in his play No Exit (hell as having to tolerate other people who are as bad as oneself with no choice in the matter) one may then be closer to the intented,or perhaps non-intented but rather obvious meaning of the cartoon.


Sand2008-01-17 17:14:43
You keep concerning yourself with the horrors of Hell. The cartoon implicated the horrors of Heaven, something else altogether.


Asa2008-01-17 21:14:37
Yeah, Sand's right... there's nothing worse than being stuck in Heaven if you're bad.

Anyway, the way things are going down here on Earth, Heaven's going to be rather empty - 'VACANCIES' reads the sign St. Pete is hanging on the Pearly Gates.


Emanuel Paparella2008-01-17 23:19:23
Indeed, Mr. Butcher, theologically speaking you have it on target and Dante and Sartre too would concur with your view: the vision of God is incompatible with evil and for evil doers and villains to enter heaven would result in its instant transformation into hell, as indeed they manage to do quite well even within time and space. Somewhat similar to Plato’s dark cave and the sun shining outside: the eyes need to become accustomed to the light.

In turn that explains purgatory which literally means the place of total purification so that the soul is ready to be admitted to God’s vision (in Aristotle’s natural theology called the Unmovable Mover) described by Dante as the still point around which swirls a cohort of saints and blessed and angels. Intriguing that description of heaven as some sort of luxury hotel with the owner giving discounts to fill it. Grace and forgiveness for those who repent of their free choice may be that discount, but perhaps you are right there too: if heaven has many vacancies, somewhat like a luxury hotel, but that may be because, as you hint at, fewer saints, those who go directly there, are being formed here on earth by the rather conventional Epicurean-hedonistic life-style of a great number of people. So they may all be in purgatory being purified. (continued below)


Emanuel Paparella2008-01-17 23:20:15
The difference between purgatory and heaven is that in the former there is no hope: “lasciate ogni speranza, o voi ch’entrate” says Dante [leave every hope you who enter here]. On the other hand, try as you may, while the Church calls those in heaven saints, despite Dante’s Inferno, you will not find a single man or woman officially mentioned as being in hell; and if I understand your fellow country man Milton’s Paradise Lost, in the end everybody will be redeemed, even the devil, but not without their consent. As I said, there is a reason why Dane continues to be taught in most of the better schools of the world and only the rationalists contemptuous of imagination are astonished at it.


Emanuel Paparella2008-01-17 23:22:42
Correction: the above first should read: "the difference between purgatory and hell"


Emanuel Paparella2008-01-17 23:24:46
Further correction: it should read thus: the difference between hell and purgatory is that in the former there is no hope."


Emanuel Paparella2008-01-17 23:30:08
Another correction: the last sentence should read thus: there is a reason why Dante and Milton continue to be taught in most of our better schools...


Sand2008-01-18 06:04:18
I have been enlightened about my encounters with Paparella by a quotation from G.B.Shaw and shall henceforth adjust my behavior accordingly.

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
George Bernard Shaw


Emanuel Paparella2008-01-18 11:19:16
Staying with the subject at hand, the vituperation probably means Milton and Dante are to be considered passè amd they too ought to be consigned to the bonfire too.

That agreement with Shaw is intriguing given that sometime ago you were championing the pig, tail and all, as a clean animal. What the eck, anything to win a high five.


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