Visiting the ancient minds

Antique books are magical. When I read them and flipped through the pages, these books sent me to imaginary places. This is the first note I described these imaginary places occurred during my coffee/reading time. I am a big fan of thinking about imaginary places as a Virtual Reality designer, previously as an architecture student. It seems to me we can build similar imaginary places in VR. After watching Dan Brown’s Inferno, I felt resonated with Dante’s stories about his imaginary places.

Limbo in Dante’s Divine Comedy triggered one of the extreme reading experiences I had. Dante’s Limbo area drew a vivid picture that summarizes my experience of reading and interacting with ancient minds — my procrastinating mind. Quite different from my impression of hell and inferno, Dante’s first circle of inferno did not show pain nor suffering. Nor was it populated with unmet souls. Those souls in Dante’s Limbo were greatest minds before Christ. Dante ventured into inferno with his most admired poet — Virgil, in order to seek his ultimate lover Beatrice. It seems to me Virgil was Dante’s projection of his ultimate wisdom.

Dante in Limbo (c.1850). The figures to the left are Homer, Horace, Ovid, Lucan, Virgil, and Dante by the Italian painter — Nicola Consoni

When reading my pre-20th century books, I naturally navigated into Dante’s Limbo . It was a deeper and more engaging reading experience comparing to reading those books from a computer screen. More images and sensations were accompanied with the old books while reading them. Antique books are like VR devices that bring the imaginary contents to me.

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