First, I have to preface this with an expression of astonishment that this is the last blog post I will make for this class. The blog and discussion became part of my weekly routine, and I always love coming on here to see what Rhiannon and Annette have shared with the group, and what insight Tams has shed with an amazing application to her life. I feel like we’ve become a community, a sort of counter-culture of which Dante would approve. Or maybe I’m just nosy, since I like to learn about other people’s lives and their ideas that they have about the world. I haven’t shared as much personally, but I really appreciate the people who did.
My different struggles with faith are pretty personal, and have more to do with organized religion than the actual concepts of faith. I think in the beginning this made me defensive toward many of the ideas that Dante was presenting. Once the medieval mindset was explained in terms of organization and allegory, I found it much easier to accept the places that Dante put people. I think I was still resisting all through the Inferno, and resisting what seemed to me the product of conservative religion in other people, and resisting Catholicism. We were all bogged down in a sort of Hell with each other, especially around differing views of authority. But we worked through this, and got out of the Inferno.
Once we hit the Purgatorio, I got really excited about the ideas that Dante was presenting, and about applying them to real life. I really liked the idea of a counter-culture, and creating an environment in the world that made life more heavenly. I started looking for positive examples in the world. This is also when we all started getting comfortable with each other in the blog, after we ironed out our frustrations and formed more of a community of sharing. My freewrites started getting more personal, so I didn’t draw on them as much for blogs until my blog on joy in the Paradiso. My in-class writing on it was more shallow since it was just my moments of heaven on earth, and my blog took off when I started asking other people about their experiences. I was much more comfortable sharing my more positive views with everyone, rather than the negative ones with which we started. This was one of the best times to read the other blogs, also, because we were all sharing our joyful experiences in our lives. For me, this is one of my favorite parts of being at a university, the group discussion and presentation of other views and lives. Catholicism doesn’t seem as strange and mysterious to me as before, and I feel that Dante isn’t limited by being a Catholic or so limited by medieval ideas. At the end, he says he doesn’t have all the answers and we agree that we don’t have all the answers either, but we all feel better for the experience.