The contradiction, as it seems to us, resolves itself into an essential, easily apprehensible, if mystical, unity. Dante at first gave himself to the study of the sciences (after he had lost the simple, unquestioning faith of youth) as the means of arriving at certainty. From the root of every truth to which he attained sprang this sucker (rampollo) of doubt, drawing out of it the very sap of its life. In this way was Philosophy truly an adversary of his soul, and the reason of his remorse for fruitless studies which drew him away from the one that alone was and could be fruitful is obvious enough. But by and by out of the very doubt came the sweetness1 of a higher and truer insight. He became aware that there were ‘things in heaven and earth undreamt of in your philosophy,’ as another doubter said, who had just finished his studies, but could not find his way out of the scepticism they engendered as Dante did.
When it attains it, and it can attain it;
If not, then each desire would frustrate be.
Therefore springs up, in fashion of a shoot,
Doubt at the foot of truth; and this is nature
Which to the top from height to height impels us.Paradiso, IV. 124-132.
Insane is he who hopeth that our reason
Can traverse the illimitable way
Which the one Substance in three Persons follows!
Mortals, remain contented at the Quia;
For, if ye had been able to see all,
No need there were [had been] for Mary to bring forth.
And ye have seen desiring without fruit,
Those whose desire would have been quieted
Which evermore is given them for a grief.
I speak of Aristotle and of Plato
And many others.Purgatorio, III. 34-44.2