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Observations placeholder

Dante - Inferno [self pity]



Type of Spiritual Experience


Self  pity

So things have not gone very well, so you have met adversity and sadness.  What do you do?  You learn from it or should do.  You pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again.

You do something about it.

But if you are moaning all the time to others – others who may well have their own troubles – or complaining about your lot, how hard done by you are, how unfair the world is and wondering to whoever will listen [or who is unfortunate enough to get caught up with you] what have you done to deserve this, you are self pitying and you are executing in a grand fashion the system of self pity.

And you are a pain in the neck.

It is one thing to want to talk things over with a sympathetic soul, or ask people who may have been through the same thing what they did in the circumstances – in other words seek help to help yourself, but a person who moans with no intention of helping themselves is a loser.  And they are well on the way to hell  - in Dante's view they are in hell.

John Bunyan – Pilgrim’s Progress
But why did you not look for the steps? … by the direction of the Lawgiver certain good and substantial steps, placed even through the very midst of the Slough [of Despond], but at such time as this, these steps are  hardly seen


A description of the experience

Dante – The Divine Comedy  INFERNO I


 The good Master said 'Son, ….....
I would also like you to understand

That underneath the water are people sighing;
It is they who make the water bubble on top
As you can see, whichever way you turn

Stuck in the slime, they say 'We chose to be sad
In the sweet air enlivened by the sun;
And our hearts smouldered with a sullen smoke

Now we are sad instead in this black filth'.
That is the hymn they gurgle in their throats
And cannot even get the words out properly

So we described a long arc round the bank
Of that stinking pool, between the dry and the soft
With our eyes turned towards those who were swallowing the mud.

The source of the experience

Dante Alighieri

Concepts, symbols and science items





Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Extreme unhappiness