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First produced in 1944, Sartre’s No Exit (Huis Clos) is famous for its line, “Hell is other people.” But I don’t think that’s fair to either Sartre or hell; his play was about so much more than just that and, in my mind, I can think of a few people I gladly would spend eternity with and be quite comfortable.

Still, this got me thinking about the idea of hell and our fascination with the concept—the very word in English has a etymology that is debated to this day. "Sheol," "Hades," "Gehenna," "Tartarus," "Freshman Year," and so many other terms have been used to describe a place, a mental state, a spiritual failing; but ultimately it comes down to what we believe.

When I was six, I would have told you that hell is a long car ride with my family; at twelve it would have been a particular class in school; at eighteen I have no doubt it would have involved a girl. Now, I don’t know—it’s perhaps something more akin to being apart from the one I love.

So, here is my choice quote from No Exit:

There were days when you peered into yourself, into the secret places of your heart, and what you saw there made you faint with horror. And then, next day, you didn't know what to make of it,you couldn't interpret the horror you had glimpsed the day before. Yes, you know what evil costs.
I leave you with a song from Carmina Burana that movies have so taken out of context that we associate the diatonic line with something like hell.
The best-known song from Carmina Burana is “O Fortuna” (“Oh Fortune”), which serves as both prologue and epilogue. It frames the revelry of the three main movements with a stark warning about the power of luck and fate, offering the ancient image of a wheel of fortune that deals out triumph and disaster at random. The forceful first measures are among the grandest statements in all choral literature.

What's your idea of hell this wonderful Friday morning?

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