Righteous and Self-Righteous Vomiting
Upton calls this an "infernal watchtower" which represents "an inverted sense of spiritual guidance." This brings to mind the last thing Jesus says to the disciples before his betrayal: watch and pray.
In order to pray, we enter the "interior watchtower." In the words of Theophan the Recluse, "we must enter the inner room or 'closet.' Where is this room? It is our heart. How then can we learn to pray there? If we go there, as well as we are able, God will help us."
This interior watchtower is also the "magnetic center" of which we have posted in the past. It is the space which both "attracts God" and where God draws us toward him. Put simply, it is the space of (↓↑); (¶) is the "attractor" that grows as a result of this spiritual metabolism.
Now, in order to understand these deeper dimensions of hell, we need only invert the above description. I mean, if Dante and I are on the same page. Let's find out.
In the next scene in Canto VIII, an obnoxious boatman ferries Dante and Virgil across the Styx. He proceeds to engage in a little trash talk, mocking them for bringing such a weak game into his house. In this regard, Upton notes that "the very demons who draw souls into Hell scorn them for being there," just like Larry Bird in Boston Garden.
When Dante stays within his spiritual citidel (¶) and refuses to "take the bait," the boatman is enraged. He "feels a sense of personal insult when he discovers that Dante is not damned" like he is (ibid).
This, by the way, is why we do not respond to trolls except by way of targeted ridicure, piercing laphorisms, and jehovial witticisms. Please note that if you do choose to react, you will soon find yourself at their level. This is how it must be, for they are obviously not going to come up to yours.
Once again we are reminded of another excellent aphorism of uber-Raccoon Don Colacho: Whoever insists on refuting idiotic arguments ends up doing so with stupid reasons. Or, to paraphrase someone else, it is much more difficult to argue with a weak mind than a strong one. For remember, it is always Yahweh or the low way.
Indeed, Virgil turns the tables on the bitter and resentful demon and engages in a little trash talking of his own. He gives the boatman a shove and says, Away there, with the other dogs! For In life, this flaming ferryman was both arrogant and cruel; / No good repute adorns his memory; / Hence is his shade so furious here below. Many souls in the same boat "stalked the earth as kings," only to find themselves wallowing in the filth and mire.
Here I am reminded of the neo-Kleinian cartograpy of unconscious and perversely narcissistic hells (looks like an interesting article, BTW):
"The destructive narcissism of these patients appears often highly organized, as if one were dealing with a powerful gang [read: mind parasites] dominated by a leader, who controls all the members of the gang to see that they support one another in making the criminal destructive work more effective and powerful. However, the narcissistic organization not only increases the strength of the destructive narcissism, but it has a defensive purpose to keep itself in power and so maintain the status quo."
Upton raises a critical point: what is the difference between the boatman's mockery of Dante, and Dante's mockery of the boatman? "Dante's anger is not essentially demonic because it liberates his soul from the Hell he is passing through." It is the difference between righteous and self-righteous anger, the latter of which is motivated by pride. But some anger clearly praises God in its expression.
Schuon had many useful things to say about this distinction, which places you on the long or short end of the Styx. For example,
"Holy anger is a movement of concentration and not a going outside oneself; it is like an 'incarnation' of the divine Wrath in the human microcosm, which must at that moment be free from passionate anger. The inner criterion of holy anger is precisely calmness, whereas passionate anger carries away the entire being and brings forgetfulness of God; it has no centre, that is to say it is entirely peripheral and dissipated. Holy anger exists only by virtue of a motionless centre, an implacable truth which determines it; when driving the money-changers from the Temple, Christ was impassible."
Therefore, anger can be liberating, so long as one is angry at the right things and in the right measure. Note that liberals are generally angry at the wrong things, for the simple reason that they blame "society" or "corporations" or "people of colorlessness" for their loserhood. You might say that the left runs on sheer loser power, which is -- to say the least -- a farce to be reckoned with. To pretend it is not a real power in this world is to fail to understand the ubiquitous and perennial appeal of the seductive doctrine of the Adversary.
Another key point: righteous anger is objective, in that it is a completely appropriate and proportionate response (not reaction) to its occasion. It reminds us of something Don Colacho said about moral indignation -- that it is not truly sincere unless it literally ends in vomiting.
In this case, vomiting provides objective information about a spiritual situation. I mean, if some politicians don't make you sick to your stomach, there is something wrong with your digestion. For Who said it: because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit thee from my mouth.
Whew, this river stynx!