An Ass Always Gets What He Brays For
Epicureanism, like most any other brand-name philosophy from materialism on up, surely possesses a "fragment of truth." Indeed, this is what makes philosophy -- and intelligence -- so dangerous. Intelligence + pride = disaster. See Genesis 3 for details.
Great stupidities do not come from the people. First, they have seduced intelligent men. --Don Colacho
Speaking of which, yesterday I had a pleasant conversation with a very cultured man who describes himself as an "absolute materialist." I informed him that if his metaphysic were true, he couldn't possibly know it.
It wouldn't be quite accurate to say that he failed to understand, for the space where "he" should be has been colonized by an anti-human philosophy that has possession of his soul. His intelligence has turned upon itself like a scorpion, which happens much more often than people realize.
For if the purpose of language is to conceal thought, the purpose of secular philosophy is to conceal man from himself.
Who are these Epicureans of whom Dante speaks? They too are materialists who deny "the immortality of the soul" and "give up their lives to externals" (Upton). Which means that the Epicure is a symptom of the very disease that afflicts him.
Now, the soul is not just the interior of the cosmos, but interiority as such. Therefore, these are people who have not only turned the cosmos upside-down, but inside-out.
However, please note that the one inevitably follows the other: for to dwell at the bottom is to live in the exterior, while to cling to the exterior is to live at the bottom. All bottom-dwellers externalize the soul to the point of dissipation. And all dissipated souls live outside reality.
Just as Life employs the language of DNA to free biology from matter, language frees man from the prison of biology. Biology exists within one morphic space of possibility, mind in another. Language vaults us over the confining prison wall of the senses, and into the world of Imagination.
Upton concurs that "The life of the senses is a tomb. Thus the punishment endured by the Epicureans for their denial of the soul's immortality is to be forced to spend eternity as corpses."
In other words, Epicureans believe that the soul dies with the body. And they are correct. For the materialist doesn't believe what he sees, but sees what he believes.
In this circle of Hell, Virgil appropriately cautions Dante about the misuse of language: Here your words must be appropriate (or well-considered). This is for reasons alluded to above; as Upton explains, "Appropriate speech is a way of keeping one's distance from the damned."
This is difficult to do, because one must remain in one's spiritual center without being seduced or hypnotized by the speech (and emotionality) of the damned. It is especially difficult for half-formed children in college, the latter of which serves as the most important recruitment center and seminary for Tools of the Conspiracy.
Please note that the sophisticated yahoos and trousered barbarians of the left -- whose institutional stupidity is crystalized and enshrined in academia and the MSM -- are "the 'civilized damned,' whose sophisticated style can almost make a damned soul look attractive" (ibid.)
Think of all the damned souls who have attracted the left at one time or another: Castro, Stalin, Mao, et al. But every hero of the left has a little Stalin in him, for the totalitarian temptation is intrinsic to leftism.
As Upton explains, "To see humanity as only earthly is to deny the human state." And to deny the human state is to usher in the infra-human State to fill the vacuum.
Another subtle point: there are two "presents," one animal, one human (and therefore Divine). There is a merely "sensory" present, and then there is the present that is a prolongation of, and window to, Eternity. The materialist is fixated on the former, which prevents him from climbing on the inscape of the ladder.
Note that the leftist never understands the present, only a projected past and future. This is because, as any neurologist can tell you, the sensory present is already past; it is merely "the light from a dead star," to plagiaphrase Don Colacho. And let the dead bury the dead.
The Rule of Wholes: if you find yourself in a grave, stop digging.