Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gates of Paradise Epilogue

"To the Accuser who is

The God of this World."

There are two stanzas:

1. "Truly My Satan thou art but a Dunce

And dost not know the Garment from the Man

Every Harlot was a Virgin once

Nor canst thou ever change Kate into Nan."

Digby, p 52: "The individual, says Blake, is not the same as the state in which he is, in the course of experience, as he puts on or changes his clothes."

We wear many garments, some good, some not so good; in a lifetime of experience you can be sure there are many garments in your life. In a day you may pass through several states: one when you get up in the morning, another one after you're left home for the day, another when you get to your workplace at 8 or so, an entirely different state at 4 o'clock, etc. etc.

A book called Our Many Selves (that you can buy for $1.37) shows clearly how our states change as our environment changes. For example you were a very different man at twenty than you are at forty, perhaps sadder and wiser.

"What is the price of Experience? do men

buy it for a song?

Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it

is bought with the price of all that a

man hath, his house his wife his children.

Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come

to buy

And in the witherd field where

the farmer plows for bread in vain"
(A portion of Enion's Lament in Night two of The Four Zoas - Erdman 325)

We each have many selves, some of us of course have more than others, or less than others. But Christ's aim, and Blake's, is that we might become One. That doesn't mean identical like lemmings; no! something very different.

Stanza 2. "Tho' thou art Worship'd by the Names Divine

of Jesus and Jehovah thou art still

The Son of Morn in weary Night's decline

The lost Traveller's Dream under the Hill."

Paul wrote, " Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (II Corinthians 11:14). Within two centuries of the crucifixion of Jesus Christianity became a worldly establishment, under the control of worldly rulers, the primary agents of the God of this world. Blake lived with that insight from a very early age (like the child Jung, who showed the same insight with his dream of the monstrous turd falling on the cathedral.)

Blake knew like Paul that "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles [pagans] because of you". (Romans 2) It's always one or the other who gets our worship: God or Satan.

We project our own image and call it God. But it isn't God (who is indescribable); it's our Spectre. What we think to be the primary good proves to be the bat-like figure Blake made for the last picture.

There you see the "The lost Traveller's Dream under the Hill." As for the Son of Morn, that comes from Isaiah 13: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!"

In Symbol and Image in William Blake by George Wingfield Digby, he concludes his survey of The Gates of Paradise (page 53) with this pungent comment:

"The person who can attain an insight into this image of himself will know the source of his greatest illusion and bondage." -- and lo, the mind-forg'd manacles will fall away, and we will walk out of Plato's Cave and live at peace with God and Man."

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