Sunday, August 08, 2010

Man and State

Look first at what Blake meant by state: at Milton plate 32.

For Blake everything was a man (Look at Letter 16; verse 26-32); Things are material objects, but in Heaven, where Blake generally lived when he created, matter is absent; "everything is a man".

In his ordinary experience as well as his heavenly ones Blake customarily referred to objects as people, much like Jesus referred to the demons in Matthew...

Look at Letter 23 verse 24ff:
"With my inward Eye 'tis an old Man grey
With my outward a Thistle across my way";
Blake proceeds to have a conversation with the thistle, or if you prefer, the 'old Man grey'.

Recall that in the Book of Thel Thel converses with the clod of clay, the lilly, the worm, the cloud; these were all men in Blake's imaginative world.

Some apparent men we immediately see are not:
Satan is a state; the Spectre is a state; however at times they are treated as men:
"Truly My Satan thou art but a Dunce."

Are the four zoas men or states? In Eternity Albion is a Unity; fallen into the Sea of Time and Space he is divided into four elements, treated like people in Blake's myth. But we can call them states:

So we might speak of a man dominated by Urizen, or Luvah, or Los. Tharmas presents more of a problem. Carrying this idea a bit further we might say that a man may have much of Urizen and a little of Luvah, etc.

In this way Blake's four zoas (and Jung's four functions) may provide a valuable instrument for understanding ourselves as well as our friends and other associates.

Blake went through life talking to non-human entities and describing them in human terms; he had a great disinterest in things as such; he always personalized; in that way he included everything in Eternity. "Not one Milton 22; line 19-26.
In this of course he was not alone. Jesus said something about the stones crying out and talked with devils (Matt 8:31-32) and was himself described as the cornerstone.

You, too may pick up this habit.

No comments: