“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smarrita.”
[“When I had journeyed half of our life’s way,
I found myself within a shadowed forest,
for I had lost the path that does not stray.”]–Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Tr. Allen Mandelbaum (Toronto: Bantam Books, 1980)
Dante may have been thinking of individuals, but the message applies as well to factions, elites, political parties, countries, cultures, and civilizations.