The Divine Comedy: III. Abandon All Hope, You in the Crowd.

Kierkegaard spent his life denouncing/warning those who never took the leap of faith, but instead stood apart as an “objective” spectator of life. These people would end up in the Inferno of Dante, who seems to share Kierkegaard’s aversion to “the vulgar crowd”, the noncommittals, the cowards. In life, they never stood or fought for anything, in death, they are forced to run after a banner without respite; in life, they refused to heed the voices of the prophets and the gadflies (among whom are Socrates and Kierkegaard) to examine their lives and repent, in death, they shall be stung and urged on by horseflies and wasps again and again unto eternity.

The Ante-Inferno

“Where you will see the miserable people,
those who have lost the good of the intellect.

who lived without disgrace and without praise.
They now commingle with the coward angels,
the company of those who were not rebels
nor faithful to their God, but stood apart.
The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened,
have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them-
even the wicked cannot glory in them,

And I, looking more closely, saw a banner
that, as it wheeled about, raced on-so quick
that any respite seemed unsuited to it.
Behind that banner trailed so long a file
of people-I should never have believed
that death could have unmade so many souls.

These wretched ones, who never were alive,
went naked and were stung again, again
by horseflies and by wasps that circled them.”

Fallen Leaves

As, in the autumn, leaves detach themselves,
first one and then the other, till the bough
sees all its fallen garments on the ground,
similarly, the evil seed of Adam
descended from the shoreline one by one,
when signaled, as a falcon–called-will come.


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