Dante's Inferno
and Arcadia


Canto XII of Dante's Inferno

so that the universe felt love,
by which, as some believe,

the world has many times been turned to chaos.
And at that moment this ancient rock,
here and elsewhere, fell broken into pieces.

Scene Seven of Arcadia

Chloe: 'Even in Arcadia - Sex, Literature and Death at Sidley Park'. Picture of Byron.
Valentine: Not of Bernard?
Chloe: Byron Fought Fatal Duel, Says Don'. . . Valentine, do you think I'm the first person to think of this?
Valentine: No.
Chloe: I haven't said yet. The future is all programmed like a computer - that's a proper theory, isn't it?
Valentine: The deterministic universe, yes.
Chloe: Right. Because everything including us is just a lot of atoms bouncing off each other like billiard balls.
Valentine: Yes. There was someone, forget his name, 1820s, who pointed out that from Newton's laws you could predict everything to come - I mean, you'd need a computer as big as the universe but the formula would exist.
Chloe: But it doesn't work, does it?
Valentine: No. It turns out the maths is different.
Chloe: No, it's all because of sex.
Valentine: Really?
Chloe: That's what I think. The universe is deterministic all right, just like Newton said, I mean it's trying to be, but the only thing going wrong is people fancying people who aren't supposed to be in that part of the plan
Interesting isn't it how Dante's idea that chaos is born of love is expressed through Chloe's theory in Arcadia. The deterministic universe theory wil never work, according to Chloe, because people fall in love with people who are not supposed to be part of the plan. Thus, an indeterminate universe turns to chaos as in the Inferno because of love.

Love = Chaos

By Anne Diers

Picture of the gardens at Stour
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