Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/10/22/sending-trump-hell
Turning this essay around, I would say Dante is saying the same things to the collective United States, about all the peoples we have killed and harmed, all the species we’ve either driven to extinction or harmed, the way we treat each other, as commodities to be used for our own success. We keep our elders in what can only be described as prisons(or as Hell), our children have no elders then to teach them lessons from the past that can guide them into the future. For us, we have no past, only the future, a house truly built upon the sand.
Now, as a Wiccan, I do not think of a virtual hell, but certainly the Goddess’s Rede is clear-if you do harm, it will return to you threefold. It’s not meant as a reward/punishment belief, but simply as a way to remind us all of our actions affect others and to think before we do.
As a person influenced by Buddhism, I find the concept of good and evil, heaven and hell, god and the devil to be unsatisfactory in making sense out of this world. The fundamental teaching of the Buddha is that of dependent arising, that all acts arise from the conditions influencing that very moment. The idea of agency–one choosing to do one thing–is an illusion: “we” only create the illusion we made a choice after the fact.
By that perspective, there is no blame, no praise. Trump does what he does as a consequence of the forces acting on him at the moment, forces that include an upbringing in a loveless family, for one. Much as it gratifies us to feel he will or should get his just desserts, in the end we are just perpetuating the belief that punishment of a solitary, eternal “soul” is a accurate description of how the universe behaves. It isn’t.
I would settle for him suffering on video to be looped for time immemorial. Let’s let our imaginations run wild. He has earned it. Hell on Earth, I say.
There is no way Tweetle-Dumb could ever understand Dante unless it were made into a cartoon, or maybe a clay-mation video á lá Wallace & Gromit. Come to think of it, given his short attention span, it would have to be a series
of shorts – max four minutes each – one for each circle of hell, starring William Barr as Satan himself. Or maybe Uncle Vladimir, and show it in the ‘Situation Room’.
And once he’s out of office, but him in stocks or a pillory on the South Lawn, within tomato range of the sidewalk . . .
Something about this essay saddens me, grieving for the damage torture has wreaked on the fine mental machinery of a true poet of our age, of our continent. My respect for Dorfman is boundless, but life is short here among the remnants of fellow creatures here on planet Earth; There still remains enough beauty to relish your life’s precious minutes, minute by minute, day by day. There should be joy in the spirit of human solidarity, should we succeed in defeating the beast. As our minds are compelled to savor visions of eternal damnation – that’s a cage we implicitly build for ourselves, so needlessly, imho. It’s a trap.
Ah, the consolations of philosophy!
Not to worry folks, when I get there, I’ll make sure Trump doesn’t escape hell.
He could arise daily only to be escorted to the dart board. After hours of needle sharp darts being thrown at him, the line of dart throwers will have to go home and come back tomorrow when the dart throwing starts all over again.
He makes for a nice plump target just as Rush would.
Hi Unce Fester:
LOL, but how about this too. You know how he said he could shoot someone on 5th Ave and no one would notice? As more and more steroid effects combine with his already diseased brain—when he goes–have the funeral on 5th Ave—and I bet no one would notice, especially since Covid is still raging!
Nevertheless, I find it ironic that in the course of writing what you just did, you made numerous choices based on various ethical judgements. Pity this stuff has a tendency to devolve into semantic quibbling. It’s also a pity that ever since civilization was invented, the possibilities to help oneself directly whilst damaging others (including other species and the as-yet unborn) indirectly have multiplied exponentially. I personally find Hannah Arendt’s observations on the “banality of evil” to apply perfectly to Trump, and so much else besides.
No, I do not choose to write anything–the post I made is the product of inputs both social and intellectual. The fundamental problem with Western philosophy generally is that it never was able to explain “I”, the notion of agency. It is a serious shortcoming since our legal system and government rely on the faulty concept of “freedom of choice.” A government less reliant on “free will” would take a stance similar to that of public health with regard to an epidemic. The goal is to reduce harm, not to punish and reward. That approach would emphasize safe childbirth and baby care, universal preschool education, and later education that pays strict attention to the worth of every child. Prisons would become less punitive, always seeking to reduce recidivism while emphasizing training prisoners to behave like decent human beings.
The mistaken Western notion of a persistent “I” lies at the root of the Abrahamic religions. The suffering inflicted by their believers over the centuries is a matter of record.
Dante Alighieri aside, Ariel Dorfman is a literary and humanistic treasure in our own time, and no one here seems to have the slightest idea who he is. His son Rodrigo is also maturing in those areas. Hint: There is a connection with author Isabel Allende.
If Trump and his fascist party get four more years, Trump will not be sent to hell…WE WILL!
Clicking the word “here” in Dorfman’s thumbnail bio at the bottom of the article does not work. Two URLs at Duke from page 4 of a web search do not seem to have the message either.
Clicking the word “message,” however, leads to a page at The Nation Magazine on which his name near the top is a link to an article in The Nation from September, 2011, that appears to be the one mentioned in the thumbnail.
I knew that the attacks in New York and Washington ten years earlier may (or may not) have been in part a reminder if not revenge for a different 9/11 that also changed Dorfman’s life.
What I didn’t know was that a seminal event in the life of Mohandas Gandhi that led to his philosophy of Satyagraha (non-violent resistance) that eventually led to the end of British rule in India also occurred on September 11.
There is also a closely related article by Dorfman from Tom Dispatch at this web page:
My understanding of heaven is that “hell” is actually dark and cold. You are far away from the light and warmth of “God” in relation to the life you have led. He will be in a very cold, dark place, his spirit, anyway. No music from the frequencies of the universe, no comfort from heaven’s angels (they hang with you silently but communicate intuitively), and the cold is a reflection of the distance between your spirit and and any communication with anything. This is where he will be; in typical hell, he would make some sort of deal with the devil.