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Disruptive behavior disorders (DBD) are heterogeneous at the clinical and the biological level. Therefore, the aims were to dissect the heterogeneous neurodevelopmental deviations of the affective brain circuitry and provide an integration of these differences across modalities.
We combined two novel approaches. First, normative modeling to map deviations from the typical age-related pattern at the level of the individual of (i) activity during emotion matching and (ii) of anatomical images derived from DBD cases (n = 77) and controls (n = 52) aged 8–18 years from the EU-funded Aggressotype and MATRICS consortia. Second, linked independent component analysis to integrate subject-specific deviations from both modalities.
While cases exhibited on average a higher activity than would be expected for their age during face processing in regions such as the amygdala when compared to controls these positive deviations were widespread at the individual level. A multimodal integration of all functional and anatomical deviations explained 23% of the variance in the clinical DBD phenotype. Most notably, the top marker, encompassing the default mode network (DMN) and subcortical regions such as the amygdala and the striatum, was related to aggression across the whole sample.
Overall increased age-related deviations in the amygdala in DBD suggest a maturational delay, which has to be further validated in future studies. Further, the integration of individual deviation patterns from multiple imaging modalities allowed to dissect some of the heterogeneity of DBD and identified the DMN, the striatum and the amygdala as neural signatures that were associated with aggression.
Yarkoni's analysis clearly articulates a number of concerns limiting the generalizability and explanatory power of psychological findings, many of which are compounded in infancy research. ManyBabies addresses these concerns via a radically collaborative, large-scale and open approach to research that is grounded in theory-building, committed to diversification, and focused on understanding sources of variation.
The New Testament, like the Old, offers exemplary models for the conjugation of poetry and prose working together in order to make poetically possible a revelation of the divine. The beatitudes, liturgical hymns like the Magnificat, and prayers like the Pater noster communicate lyrically a sense of salvation to those who experience the Christ and believe. Such lyric core texts provide a basis for expansion into the full-blown historical narrative of the Bible. The synergy of poetry and prose is crucial in the process of memorialization of a life-transforming love followed by the death of the beloved and the glorification of the beloved person in an afterlife. The experience of Christ by his disciples, as crystalized in the New Testament, proves in these respects to prefigure Dante’s experience of Beatrice, as recorded and interpretively actualized in the Vita nuova. Dante’s book opens penetrating insight into the indispensable role of literary construction in the theological revelation of its progenitor text, Holy Scripture, especially the Gospels.
The truth of the work, as determined by its origin in personal existence, is fully revealed and realized only through interpretation by other individuals reading it in relation to their own existence in the course of a history of reception. The Vita nuova can stand as emblematic of this process and as illustrative of its exceptionally fecund results in literary history. Often touted as the first book of Italian literary tradition, the Vita nuova is a seed of the very process of a literary tradition disseminating itself through ongoing production of works as responses such as Dante himself elicits in circulating the sonnet about his initiatory dream to fellow poets. Especially revealing of the history of effects of this text are its artistic appropriations at various periods in the iconographical tradition. The Pre-Raphaelite depictions, notably by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, illustrate how subjectively driven interpretation can become relevant to revealing the original, but temporally unbounded meaning of a text. Rossetti’s, like Dante’s, personal preoccupations prove instrumental for disclosing and illuminating what can be lived as perennial and perduring truths about human existence.
Beatrice’s salutation in the streets of Florence communicates salvation in a religious and even in an eschatological register to Dante as her lover. Dante translates his experience of “beatitude” in relation to this lady into the lyrical language of his poems. He thereby endeavors, furthermore, in an evangelical mode, to communicate this experience to others who can be transformed in their own existence by means of the revelation of his witness. Beatrice is a Christ-like figure for Dante, even a mediation to him personally of Christian salvation. The lyrical quality of this experience is in excess of all objectively communicable facts and content. Hence the dynamic interplay between autobiographical prose, testifying to concrete aspects of Dante’s existence, and the poetry that manifests what these contextual facts can never encompass or exhaust. Ineffable aspects of existence are translated into the ecstatic language of lyric testifying to irreducibly personal experience. The experience of Beatrice, as interpreted in this poetry, is for Dante a transcendent revelation of divinity. The Vita nuova understands this experience in light of the Gospels and, in its turn, illuminates how the Gospels, through literary and lyrical means, become a revelation of the divinity of Jesus.
Dante’s life-transforming experience of Beatrice is at once a theophany and a poetic epiphany. It is made such particularly in and through its literary elaboration. Beatrice’s living appearances to Dante become inseparable from his imaginings of her in the complex weave of interpretations preserved in the book of his memory and in the existential witness of his poems. Dante’s rhetoric of appearing marks the visionary quality of his narrative and his verses, but it also underscores certain enigmas pertaining to the veracity of his personal experience of what is, for him, an unshakable truth. A proliferation of variants of his experience – whether of dissemblance or of death – riddles Dante’s testimony to one incomparable person and event. As in the fourfold Gospels, experience of the transcendent is inescapably multiple: every individual witness differs from the others. The emergence of modern self-reflective subjectivity in Dante’s rendering of his witness to a religious experience results in a dialectic between reflection and inspiration. The more Dante reflects on his experience, the more reflection itself is revealed as at least the proximate source of his however exalted perceptions. His inspiration comes to him in and through his deeply subjectivized reflection – for instance, in his spontaneously “receiving” the incipit for his canzone “Women who have intelligence of love” during prolonged solitary meditation. The boundaries between inner and outer realities dissolve when all definable realities show up as produced by reflection. Reflection finds itself at the origin of its world to such an extent that even the self has no content not produced by reflection, and in this Dante’s little book anticipates the eventual implosion of the modern subject. For him, this is also its explosion in a direction opening to the infinitely other and divine.
Dreams reveal more than they can know or say about a reality that they only indirectly refract. They present a plethora of manifestly significant, yet non-transparent symptoms and indices. Dreams invite us to interpret their enigmatic representations as encodings of the mysteries of our existence. As essentially a form of interpretation, moreover, dreams can elucidate the logic of the consciously constructed narratives and lyrical compositions of poetry that elaborate and extend into daytime consciousness the mysteriously imaginative modes and darkly felt emotions of dreaming.
Dreams can have a higher degree of truth than the ordinary empirical reality that presents us simply with one thing after another because the dream reveals more openly and directly the deep desires and shaping drives that infiltrate our actual experience of the real. The dream makes apparently separate things coalesce together and exposes the unapparent connectedness of them all. All become part of a unified meaning which the dream reveals. Poetic and dream knowledge alike furnish outstanding models for religious revelation.
Moving from the recently changed landscape in literary theory, in which the distinction between sacred and secular literature blurs, this book demonstrates that Dante’s Vita nuova harbors enormous potential for responding creatively to the cultural and intellectual crises of our times. Our “post-truth” era can rediscover the deeper meaning of truth as a poetic interpretation of what in the Middle Ages could still be understood as theological revelation. Dante’s “little book” makes startlingly clear how theology is crucial to the continuing intelligibility and viability of the humanities. Meant here is especially negative theology, or theology as (negated by) poetry. Theology, qua negative, is the knowing of our own unknowing of divinity – or of whatever it is that most deeply bonds us together as humans and grants us our very existence together with everything else. Dante’s hybrid of lyric poetry and autobiographical prose in his “little book” shows how the language of theology, like that of poetry, is grounded in the ineffability of human existence itself. This recognition is the beginning of the critique of all ideology as, in effect, idolatry. On this basis, a possibility of salvation through and for humanities tradition and theological revelation alike is projected from Dante’s work into our contemporary times.
Poetic figuration, by this account, proves to be of the essence of what experience reveals, and it is irreducible to prose sense. Figuration presents an original articulation of the real. Yet, for Dante, this depends on its being interpretable in prose. Prose is necessary to unpack and lay out all that is potential in the poem. Hence his penchant for commentary. Dante’s autobiographical prose, moreover, is necessary to ground the poems in a personal and historical existence from which alone their meaning can grow in all its incarnate potency.
Meaning originates with the poems, but it is illuminated and explicated by the prose. Ultimately, more than their prose meaning, what counts is the inspirational presence that is realized in the poems. The meaning in question is not exactly anything that can be stated as such. It transpires in what happens as recounted in the narrative and in its meditative re-actualization in reading and in re-telling. Hence the silencing of the poet in the book’s concluding chapter (XLII) in face of a predicament that will be developed finally in the Paradiso in terms of the ineffability of his vision. Dante’s little book already contains a distant echo of the biblical Book of Revelation and prefigures the totaling “volume” of the Comedy.
The question of how much of our knowledge is owing to pure perception and how much is dependent on interpretive construction animates the ongoing debate between phenomenology and hermeneutics. Recently, phenomenology has taken a “theological turn” and concerned itself with what is imperceptibly lurking within the perceptible. The eternal may be found to be implicit, in this manner, within time. Indeed, Dante’s temporal experience is projected toward an eternity experienced already by Beatrice as beholding the face of God. Just as time can mediate the eternal, so mediation by poetic interpretation can be reversed into an immediacy of perception in Dante’s model of knowledge as revelation. This revelation is incarnate. Dante experiences it in the beauty of Beatrice, which takes him to the very limits of his beatitude. The inextricably lyrical mediation of this revelation does not deliver it over to rhetorical convention and condemn it to narcissistic self-enclosure. Lyric grounded in Dante’s personal life experience becomes a means of encountering a wholly other dimension of existence open without limit. Dante’s lyric epiphany opens him to the world, as crystalized in pilgrims in transit through Florence, as well as in a vertical, transcendent dimension reaching toward the infinite.
Modelling knowledge as revelation and theology as poetry, this powerful new reading of the Vita nuova not only challenges Dante scholars to reconsider the book's speculative emphases but also offers the general reader an accessible yet penetrating exploration of some of the Western tradition's most far-reaching ideas surrounding love and knowledge. Dante's 'little book', included in full here in an original parallel translation, captures in its first emergence the same revolutionary ferment that would later become manifest both in the larger oeuvre of this great European writer and in the literature of the entire Western canon. William Franke demonstrates how Dante's youthful poetic autobiography disrupts sectarian thinking and reconciles the seeming contraries of divine revelation and human invention, while also providing the means for understanding religious revelation in the Bible. Ultimately, this revolutionary unification of Scripture and poetry shows the intimate working of love at the source of inspired knowing.