Dante Transformation

With the phrase “Dante transformation” we allude to the insight expressed by Schopenhauer to the effect that the Hell described by Dante in the first book of his “Divine Comedy” is nothing more nor less than the life that we live here on earth. To undergo the “Dante Transformation” is to recognize that all children who are begotten are “begotten into Hell”, because Hell is nothing belonging to the “afterlife” but rather human life itself. Concomitantly with this “Dante Transformation”, then, there arises a need for an anthropodicy: if our life in this world is Hell parents are under a moral obligation to justify what they do when they bring children into it through procreation.

Authors such as Octave àMirbeau or Franz Kafka – whose “In the Penal Colony” may have been modelled on Mirbeau’s “The Garden of Tortures” – located Hell in corners of human life as it is actually lived, whereas Thomas àBernhard, holding more strictly to the original Schopenhauerian insight, considers this life as a whole to be Hell.

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