The premise is that the true meaning of Dante's salvation can be understood as 'literary procedure' to which inviting the readers, instead of forcing them to the salvation pre-completed or pre-destined by God. This kind of interpretation was suggested ...
The premise is that the true meaning of Dante's salvation can be understood as 'literary procedure' to which inviting the readers, instead of forcing them to the salvation pre-completed or pre-destined by God. This kind of interpretation was suggested by Dante scholars, for example by relating it effectively to Odysseus' journey; but if I may add, I should like to clarify the meaning of Dante's pilgrimage in relation to Odysseus' 'return' (which may well be linked to the Buddhist way of salvation) from which we can consider Dante's pilgrimage as an unstoppably continuous, circulative journey toward incessantly changeable reality. This kind of journey is rather an appropriate figure of 'literature'; only if we as the readers participate in Dante's pilgrimage, we are able to make conversational relationship with him.
On the one hand, some say that Odysseus' journey, although it is long and winding, is certainly limited to result in its own pre-fixed destination; he ultimately makes safe journey home wherein recovers everything he had before: truly happy-ending. This kind of signification of the term 'return' is in general inherent in the Greek epic form so as to be conceptualized as the form of life unfolded in the fictional world of classic.
Odysseus' journey is horizontal while Dante's journey is vertical in geographical and symbolic dimensions; however, the two are converged insofar as they are both limited to be directed toward an ultimate point which was, in the former, an idea created and controlled by human whereas, in the latter, was God which, however, was at some point invented and maintained by human too.
On the other hand, we should ask a question at this point whether this return was a 'return' in its original meaning. If it means return to past or origin, it too may mean the loss of past or origin. It might sound paradoxical but has something to noteworthy; this is because one who returns always imagines or pursues to restore (or cure) his (or her) home(sick), but once he makes a successful return and settlement at his own home, the past-origin of his home disappears and then he becomes haunted by its stability. In other words, while he is on the way of returning home he always experiences his return as instability, but once he fulfills return, the stability that home-past-origin grants to him replaces that instability. Here his return recovers his past origin but at the same time loses it, and return itself disappears; that is, once he returns, he returns to nowhere. In sum, if we think that return does not indicate only the settlement in its origin but also the process itself to the origin, we can find that the return includes in itself a contradiction to negate its own destination. Now return becomes problematic.
Thus, we can say that only insofar as return, as a procedure, always postpones home-past-origin to an unfulfilled future, it can maintain its proper function and concept. The kind of return always maintains itself as a present procedure so as not to need any restore of origin; here he does not need origin, even when he arrived at there, that he has pursued, but rather dares to discard it whereby replaces his achieved home-past-origin with an object of recovery that he will achieve again in the future. Here, 'home' becomes a place of eternally repeated losses.
A way of curing the trauma the eternal loss causes is to maintain return itself a momentum of that loss; in other words, to make it as an event (to use Heidegger's concept) which occurs at present and in itself without recalling or expecting anything. This allows us to understand return in a way that differs from what it has been used to be understood, and to read Homer and Dante newly.