The System of Dante’s Hell

images-2.jpgI highly recommend Amiri Baraka’s experimental novel from the ’60s, The System of Dante’s Hell. Written under the poet’s name at that time, LeRoi Jones, Baraka gives a highly personal, somewhat autobiographical, account of how the experience of being a black man can be related in terms suggestive of Hell as developed by Dante in the Inferno.

In fact, a modified version of Dante’s system is provided at the beginning of the book. But don’t get trapped into attempting to marry each section of Baraka’s narrative to Dante’s map of Hell.

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Make Predictions Come True

arendt1“Scientism” in politics still presupposes that human welfare is its object, a concept which is utterly alien to totalitarianism. It is precisely because the utilitarian core of ideologies was taken for granted that the anti-utilitarian behavior of totalitarian governments, their complete indifference to mass interest, has been such a shock.

This introduced into contemporary politics an element of unheard-of unpredictability. Totalitarian propaganda, however….indicated even before totalitarianism could seize power how far the masses had drifted from mere concern with interest.

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