Rylee Bapst: “Gone With the Wind”
Rylee Bapst: “Passin’ Cars”
Rylee Bapst: “Ain’t No Sunshine”
Rylee Bapst: “Edge of Desire” (John Mayer Cover)
Rylee Bapst: “The Joker” (Steve Miller Band Cover)
Rylee Bapst: “Neon” (John Mayer Cover)
Rylee Bapst: “Comfortably Numb” (Pink Floyd Cover)
Chris Harmison: James Corigliano – Serenade and Rondo: I. Serenade
Chris Harmison: Paul Creston – Saxophone Sonata Op. 19: I. With vigor
Chris Harmison: Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine
Chris Harmison: Doja Cat – Alone
Chris Harmison (Charm_son) on YouTube
Bruce Dalzell: “The Last Time I Saw You”
Bruce Dalzell: “Local Boys”
BELOW: DAVID BRUCE — SPOKEN WORD
Chapter 6: The Gluttonous
When Dante regained consciousness, he discovered that he was in a new section of Hell — the third Circle. Here cold rain and hail and snow fell incessantly, creating mud and a stink like that of a gigantic garbage dump.
Dante and Virgil saw Cerberus, a three-headed dog with a swollen belly whose job was to howl incessantly to make the sinners here wish they were deaf, although the sinners also howled. Cerberus is also the guard of the third Circle. Like the sinners, Cerberus was a glutton, and Cerberus often bit the gluttons.
Once again we see a Circle that is devoted to punishing sinners who are guilty of incontinence, Virgil thought. These sinners were not able to control themselves. They put their desires ahead of their reason. They made their desires — not their reason — supreme in their lives. These sinners ate or drank way too much. They became obese or alcoholic.
Virgil had been this way before, and he knew what to do. To keep Cerberus busy long enough that he and Dante could pass, Virgil threw heaps of mud down Cerberus’ three throats. Busy swallowing the mud, Cerberus let them pass.
The sinners whom Dante and Virgil passed lay on the ground. They seemed to have human form, but they lacked bodies. Only on Judgment Day would their souls be reunited with their bodies.
One sinner saw Dante and quickly sat up and said, “Do you know who I am? We lived at the same time for a while.”
Dante looked closely at the sinner, but he admitted, “Your punishment must have changed you because I don’t recognize you. But please tell who you are.”
The sinner said, “Your own city — Florence, which is filled with envious people — once claimed me as a citizen. I am damned to this Circle because of my sin of gluttony. The Florentines gave me a nickname: Ciacco.”
Ciacco is a fitting name for a glutton such as you, Virgil thought. It means Hog or Pig.
“Ciacco,” Dante said, “I pity you, and I want to cry, but since you mentioned Florence, can you tell me what will happen to that city that I love? The city has two political parties that fight each other. What is going to happen to them? Are all the men in Florence envious?”
“After much more fighting, one party will drive out the other party,” Ciacco replied. “Then within three years the positions will be reversed, and the party that was victorious will be defeated, and the party that was defeated will be victorious. Two men in Florence are just, but no one will listen to them.”
I understand more than you do, Dante, Virgil thought. Ciacco is making a prophecy of your upcoming exile when you will be forbidden ever to return to your beloved Florence on pain of death. Like the other souls in the Inferno, I am able to see the future. However, I won’t tell you about your upcoming exile. I am your teacher, but teachers don’t tell all they know. Some things are better for a student to think about and discover for him- or herself.
Dante asked, “Can you give me some more information, please? What has happened to Farinata degli Uberti, to Tegghiaio Aldobrandini, to Jacopo Rusticucci, and to Mosca dei Lamberti? Where are they? Are they in Heaven or in Hell?”
“They are in Hell,” Ciacco answered. “Their sins are worse than mine, so they are in deeper Circles than I am. If you continue your journey downward, you will see them. But if you ever make it again to the sweet, living world, remember me and ask our mutual friends to remember me.”
The deeper we go into Hell, the worse the sins that are being punished, Virgil thought. High in Hell, many of the sinners still want to be remembered on Earth. Very low in Hell, many of the sinners prefer to be entirely forgotten on Earth because of the vileness of their sins.
Ciacco’s gaze lost focus. He squinted, and then he lay down again in the mud with the other gluttons.
Virgil told Dante, “Ciacco will stay like that until Judgment Day. On that day, his soul will be reunited with his body.”
“What will happen when his soul is reunited with his body?” Dante asked. “Will his torment be increased or lessened or just the same as now?”
“You have studied philosophy,” Virgil replied. “Human beings were created with both a body and a soul. Together, body and soul are more perfect than they are separately. What is perfect can feel more perfectly than what is not perfect can feel. The sinners in Hell will feel their pain more intently, and the saved souls in the Supreme Emperor’s kingdom will feel their bliss more intently.”
They continued walking.
This is another example of contrapasso, Virgil thought. Mud is plentiful in the third Circle of the Inferno because rain is always falling. The gluttons wanted to enjoy the good things, but now they are forced to live in uncomfortable surroundings — surroundings much like a muddy pigsty. The gluttons made pigs of themselves while living, and now, although they are dead, they live like pigs. The gluttons sleep in the mud like pigs, just like a glutton would go to sleep after enjoying a huge meal. After talking with Dante, Ciacco was unable to focus his eyes; he is now in a stupor, just as a glutton would be in a stupor after eating a huge meal. In addition, Cerberus bites the gluttons the way that the gluttons bit into their food.
Dante and Virgil then saw Plutus, the arch-enemy of Humankind.
Chapter 7: The Wasters, Hoarders, Wrathful, and Sullen
As Virgil and Dante approached him, Plutus clucked the nonsense words “Papa Satan, pape Satan aleppe!”
Virgil reassured Dante, “Plutus has no power to stop you from continuing your journey. Therefore, do not be afraid.”
Virgil then turned on the wolf-like Plutus and shouted, “Be quiet! This man here is on a mission from the Supreme Emperor!”
Plutus, deflated like a sail in a calm, sank to the ground and was quiet.
Plutus is an appropriate guard for Circle 4, Virgil thought. Plutus is also known as Pluto, and he is the pagan god of wealth, as well as the god who ruled the Underworld. It is fitting that he rules the Underworld because much wealth (gold, silver, diamonds) comes from under the ground. His association with wealth makes him a fitting guard for the sinners in Circle 4: the wasters and the hoarders.
Virgil and Dante saw many souls now — more than in the Circles they had already passed through. These souls pushed heavy weights before them in the Circle, and when they met, they crashed the heavy weights together. One group shouted, “Why hoard?” The other group shouted, “Why waste?” Then they went around the Circle again, and they crashed their heavy weights together again, and they shouted again.
“Who are these sinners?” Dante asked Virgil. “From their haircuts, I see that many of them were priests. Were they all priests on this side?”
“These sinners were incontinent when it came to wealth,” Virgil replied. “Neither group could control themselves. One group hoarded their wealth, while the other group wasted their wealth. Many of the sinners you see here were Popes, cardinals, and priests — such people are unfortunately prone to greediness.”
Here we see two groups of sinners being punished together because their sins, although opposites, are closely related, Virgil thought. The wasters and the hoarders are people who either saved as much money as possible and never spent it or people who spent every penny they could and never saved anything. Both types of people are sinners. To be good with money, living people need to spend some money to acquire necessities and good things; however, they also need to have an emergency fund. When it comes to money, living people need to seek a mean between extremes.
Limbo has a library, and so I am familiar with the work of Aristotle, whom I also studied while I was alive and who is also in Limbo so that I can consult him. The theory of the mean between extremes is a famous part of Aristotle’s ethical thought. He believed in moderation — as most Greeks did. If you had too much or too little of something, you would suffer from an excess or a deficiency of that thing. Think about food. If you eat too much food, you will be overweight. If you eat too little food, you will be underweight. You need to eat the right amount of food so that you will have a healthy weight. What you need is exactly the right amount. A different example: Courage is the mean between the extremes of cowardice (deficiency) and rashness (excess). The sinners here failed to find the mean between the extremes of miserliness and of wastefulness.
“Shouldn’t I be able to recognize some of the sinners here?” Dante asked Virgil.
“No, you won’t be able to recognize anybody here,” Virgil replied. “Because of their sinful relationship with wealth, these sinners failed to accomplish anything notable while they were alive. They failed to accomplish something great for Humankind. Because of that, they have no distinguishing characteristics here.
“Well, they do have some distinguishing characteristics, Those who are misers have tight fists; those who are wasters are without hair because they have spent even the hair on their heads. But as for recognizing a sinner and knowing his or her name, forget it.
“These sinners are exactly where they belong. They overvalued either wealth or what wealth can buy, and now no amount of wealth can rescue them from Hell. In Hell as in the living world, they bicker over what belongs to Fortune.”
“Who or what is this Fortune that you mention?” Dante asked.
“Fortune controls all the wealth that ever was and ever will be,” Virgil replied. “Fortune is a minister of God. She sees that money goes from person to person, family to family, country to country. She controls the Wheel of Fortune. At times, a person may be at the top of the Wheel of Fortune and be very prosperous, but as the Wheel turns, that person’s prosperity decreases. The thing to do is to know that the Wheel of Fortune will turn. While riding high on the Wheel of Fortune, save some wealth so that you are at least somewhat prepared when you are riding low on the Wheel of Fortune. The same applies to families and to countries. The Wheel of Fortune turns for individuals, for families as a whole, and for entire countries.
“Human beings dislike Fortune, but they should recognize that she is doing the work of the Supreme Emperor.
“But now let us continue on our journey.”
Virgil and Dante continued walking. They came to a spring, which created a stream of grey water, and they walked along the stream on a rough path. As they walked, the stream of grey water turned into a marsh that Dante learned is named the Styx.
In the marsh they saw muddy, angry sinners moving around and fighting each other. Not only did they hit each other with their hands, but they also kicked and bit each other — so great was their anger.
Virgil said, “Here in this Circle — Circle 5 — you see those who could not control their anger. We see the sinners on top of the marsh, yet other sinners are below the marsh, revealing their presence only by the bubbles rising to the top of the marsh.
“These sinners below the marsh say, if you listen closely, ‘We were sluggish while we were alive, and in our heart was the smoke of sloth. Now we are punished in the muck of Styx.’ So they say, but not clearly.”
The sinners below the marsh are the slothful, Virgil thought. The slothful should have pursued the right things while they were alive, but they were slothful — lazy — and did not pursue them with the zeal that they ought to have shown for the right things. Along with their sloth, they were sullen — they bottled up their anger. It would have been better for them if they had expressed vigorous and righteous anger at sin and sinners.
Virgil and Dante continued walking along the path by the marsh. Eventually, they reached a high tower.
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