Monday, February 01, 2010

Blake's System

"Man was made for Joy and Woe"

A fair number of people will tell you that 'they belong to a religion of one' or that 'they have their own religion' or that 'they don't go to church, but they pray'.

According to Blake these people walk on the right track; that's certainly what he did: "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's."

You and I have the same choice: to live by "another man's" values or to see things for ourselves (Blake called these choices 'single vision' or 'double vision.)

Satan (the Selfhood or tyrannical Society) constantly works to fit us for the 'mind forg'd manacles': School exists primarily to 'socialize' a child (to conform to the ways 'Society' has chosen for us). Most of us obey, but a fair number of kids don't buy Society's program; Blake fortunately escaped that bane.

Blake considered the greatest sin to be 'hindering another' (Erdman 601). His primary aim was to "raise men to a perception of the Infinite" (MHH plate 13).

The system Blake created bears a close resemblance to the Perennial Philosophy; when he had completed it, Jesus, the Imagination (or Jesus the Forgiveness) was Central.

2 comments:

Justin said...

You probably know more about William Blake than me, but you seem to be saying Blake thought Satan stood fro selfhood and that was a bad thing. Doesn't satan also stand for creativity, as in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"? And for Blake, isn't 'evil' precisely what is necessary to build one's own system?

Larry said...

Justin,
In MHH Blake used 'Satan' in an ironic sense; it was a satire and a parody.

He actually used 'Satan' in a lot of other senses; two of them I used in the post.

There are 254 occurences of 'Satan' in his works; he used it in many different ways, perhaps most generally to point toward the dominance of materiality in the psyche at the expense of a spiritual consciousness.

Blake's words very often have multiple meanings used variously in different contexts. He might have said that Satan founded education.