Dante and Spiritual Intelligence

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Date(s) - 19th October, 2021
18:15 - 19:45

The Lincoln Centre


Full details here.

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, who died 700 years ago this year, is many things: a personal crisis, a diatribe against corruption, an unsurpassed poem, a celebration of love. But as it is celebrated this year, it’s possible that its heart, as Dante described it, is side-lined or overlooked. He called it realising that ‘I am more than I am’, discovered by journeying through three domains of reality. So what is the nature of this perceptual expanse and how does it come about?

The lecture will examine the transformation Dante underwent, which human beings can still undergo. It will focus on what might be called the emergence of Dante’s spiritual intelligence, which is different though not divided from his rational and emotional intelligence. Spiritual intelligence knows many things: that descent and ascent are intimately linked; that time can be experienced in dramatically different ways; that virtues are crucial not so much for moral reasons but because they connect with reality; that the whole of life is one life, unified not through uniformity but, as Dante describes it, like a book of many leaves bound by love, each with its part.

In wisdom traditions, this is called the beatific vision and nondual consciousness. Dante recognised himself as a modern poet. His vision of what we are capable is no less inspiring, and important, now.