Dante’s Infernal Paradise Lost and Found

Some of us (We) more readily accept pain over paradise because misery feels more like the reality that we believe—the reality that we have come to know—the reality that we deserve. This is either the greatest lie of which we’ve ever convinced ourselves, or it is simply the hardest truth we’ve come to understand.

People want so badly to be understood that they sometimes wish the damage inflicted on them to be inflicted on everyone else so that they can feel that others truly empathize with them. Hence, the cliché, Misery Loves Company, but it’s not entirely true. The real trick of it is that even when others have gone through something similar or subjectively worse, a person still won’t believe the other individual because, while they want someone to understand them, they don’t think it’s possible. They feel their experience is so uniquely awful that no one else could’ve gone through it, or maybe they don’t have the emotional availability to hurt for someone else because they are so deeply affected by their own situation. Sometimes, it’s simply because they don’t feel that they deserve that kind of empathy. It becomes self-inflicted, and this is how a person isolates themselves from everyone they know and reality in general.

Listen to me read this post with bonus content on The Thought and Other Absurdities Podcast below.


  1. The sight of the title of this post made my heart tighten with anxiety. One of my senior English projects was on Paradise Lost (if written in the 1980s). Not my best paper, but I passed the class and I swore to re-read the prose but have never picked it up again.

    Have a great day…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL I’m sorry I brought up such a painful memory. It’s hilarious, though, looking back how much anxiety we had in school. Like, those problems pale in comparison to our lives now, yet most people have nightmares about it for their entire lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a lot about this as a parent. I’m sure you do too. We want to inflict pain on others simply because it was inflicted on us. Thus it gets passed down from generation to generation. It affects not only our attitudes towards others, but even our perceptions on the world as a whole.

    That’s why whatever my parents did, I try to do the opposite 😀

    (Btw, got the shirt and coasters. They’re great! Thank you so much!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pain, suffering, and empathy are immeasurable and unfathomable. It’s all about perspective, coping, learning, and the will to move on. I hope people can transform their ‘awfuls’ into something better. Life is too short to hold on to sadness and grudges. A good one, Joseph. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think affliction is indoctrinated and passed down from generations “sins of my father” ect ect and it is extremely difficult to break the cycles and reprogram yourself. It takes years to get better (if at all). Some people a long time ago disliked that we came from animals/ are animals ourself and learned that we could be manipulated and monetized every aspect about birth, life, and death. They are playing Sims and controlling our reality. Anyone “awoke” will be crucified or shadowbanned.

    Liked by 1 person

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