Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Dante

(Durante degli Alighieri)

1265 – 1321 CE

Dante fell madly in love with Beatrice when she was only 8 years old and described his passion as “a God stronger than I who came and ruled me.” This unrequited love lasted through her marriage to another, her death at only 24, and throughout Dante’s life. It inspired his great work, The Divine Comedy now considered the greatest book in the Italian language and most important Middle Ages poem. Dante’s politics led to his exile, loss of citizenship and property, 15 years of poverty-stricken wandering, and a decree for him to be arrested and burned alive. His vivid descriptions of hell were based on personal experience and his writings saved him from the intensity of his suffering as it helped establish modern literature. Florence apologized for his exile 700 years later.

Eras

Unlisted Sources

Divine Comedy

Divine Comedy (1320)

Letters

Monarchy, 1309

The Convivio

The Divine Comedy

Quotes by Dante (24 quotes)

“Pride, envy, avarice—these are the sparks that set on fire the hearts of a all men.”

from Divine Comedy

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“What is liberty but the unhampered translation of will into act?”

from Letters

Themes: Freedom

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“Lawful gains rarely come to the good because they require much anxious care and the good—their care directed to weightier matters—rarely have time or motivation for that much care.”

from The Convivio

Themes: Crime

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“What else imperils and slays cities, countries, and individuals as much as the amassing of wealth which cannot be gained without harming others?”

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“All hope abandon, ye who enter here!”

Themes: Hope

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“Remember tonight... for it is the beginning of always.”

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“My course is set for an uncharted sea.”

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“My course is set for an uncharted sea.”

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“Do not be afraid; our fate cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”

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“The path to paradise begins in hell.”

from Divine Comedy

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“The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time.”

Themes: Time

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“The devil is not as black as he is painted.”

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“Beauty awakens the soul to act.”

from Divine Comedy

Themes: Beauty

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“Consider your origin. You were not formed to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge.”

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“O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall?”

Themes: Failure

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“Those who stay asleep will watch their life drift past them like a dream, and the traces of their memory will fade from time like smoke in air, or ripples on a stream.”

from Divine Comedy

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“A mighty flame follows a tiny spark.”

Themes: Less is More

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“Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground.”

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“Aristotle: first among all thinkers and master of those who know.”

from Divine Comedy

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“These are the soulless whose lives concluded neither blame nor praise.”

from Divine Comedy

Themes: Inspiration

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“Follow your star, for if in all of the sweet life I saw one truth shine clearly, you cannot miss your glorious arrival.”

from Divine Comedy

Themes: True Self

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“Mankind is at its best when it is most free and the basic principle is freedom of choice—a saying many have on their lips but few in their mind.”

from Monarchy, 1309

Themes: Freedom

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“You are like those who pass through the night pulling a light behind them. It doesn't profit themselves but makes those who follow them wise.”

from Divine Comedy (1320)

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“O glory of the Latin race... Our divine poet....by whom our language showed forth all its power... of the other poets honor and light... You are my guide, you are my lord and teacher”

from The Divine Comedy

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Quotes about Dante (4 quotes)

“Dante, though as a poet he was a great innovator, was, as a thinker, somewhat behind the times. His thought is interesting but it was not influential, and was hopelessly out of date.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from History of Western Philosophy

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“Dante did not accomplish his life-work until he had been driven to withdraw from his native city... in losing his birthright in Florence, Dante was to win the citizenship of the world; for in exile the genius which had been crossed in politics after being crossed in love found its life-work in creating the Divina Commedia.”

Arnold Toynbee 1889 – 1975 CE
from A Study of History

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“Dante was a madman, and his work is a monstrosity. He has many commentators, and therefore cannot be understood. His reputation will go on increasing, for no one ever reads him.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE

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“What Dante achieves at last is sublimity. And because he loved order as well as liberty, and bound his passion and vision into form, he achieved a poem of such sculptured power that no man since has equaled it. The secret of his character was a flaming intensity and all Europe was inspired by his battle and his art, by his story of a proud exile who had gone to hell, and had returned, and had never smiled again.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE via Shan Dao
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Age of Faith

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