Monday, September 06, 2010


In Blake's system the root cause of the woes of the world is the division and dispute among the Zoas. Speaking psychologically, when the four aspects of the psyche - sensation, emotion, reason and intuition - are not in balance the individual has no internal or external harmony. When the functions compete for control instead of cooperating to express the identity, the dissension creates inhibition, dissatisfaction, projection, destructiveness and war. Blake saw his own psychological imbalance as a dispute between Urizen and Luvah with Los as a kind of referee. Without free expression of his emotions his work of imagination would be stifled. To manage his life in the world reason had to control a large part of his psyche. So he expressed this battle in his poetry.

Blake's struggle to be free of constraints that prevented his imaginative expression became externalized in his relationship with his patron Haley who sought to control Blake's freely following the inspiration to paint and write as his vision led. In working through his relationship with Haley, Blake faced his own Selfhood. He became aware that the cause of the dispute arose with himself.

Without explicitly stating the circumstances of his feud with Hayley or the resolution of it, Blake includes these phrases in a letter to Hayley indicating that he had worked through a dilemma which had vexed him for years.

Letter to Hayley
( E 757)
23 October 1804
"I thank God with entire confidence that
it shall be so no longer--he is become my servant who domineered
over me, he is even as a brother who was my enemy."

Relating an event such as he experienced in forgiving Hayley, Blake writes the following passage. Remember that the Selfhood is selfishness or self-centeredness and the Spectre is the rationalizing state.

Four Zoas, Night 7, Page 95, (E 367)
"Los embracd the Spectre first as a brother
Then as another Self; astonishd humanizing & in tears
In Self abasement Giving up his Domineering lust

Thou never canst embrace sweet Enitharmon terrible Demon. Till
Thou art united with thy Spectre Consummating by pains &
That mortal body & by Self annihilation back returning
To Life Eternal be assurd I am thy real Self
Tho thus divided from thee & the Slave of Every passion
Of thy fierce Soul Unbar the Gates of Memory look upon me
Not as another but as thy real Self I am thy Spectre
Thou didst subdue me in old times by thy Immortal Strength
When I was a ravning hungring & thirsting cruel lust & murder
Tho horrible & Ghastly to thine Eyes tho buried beneath
The ruins of the Universe. hear what inspird I speak & be silent

If we unite in one[,] another better world will be
Opend within your heart & loins & wondrous brain
Threefold as it was in Eternity & this the fourth Universe
Will be Renewd by the three & consummated in Mental fires
But if thou dost refuse Another body will be prepared"

By embracing the Spectre, Los recognizes him as brother and an aspect of himself. In unifying with the Spectre he annihilated him as dark and destructive and accepted him into his real Self. The earlier attempt to subdue the Spectre by his strength had forced him further into the unconscious where he created more rivalries and dissension.

The act of embracing the Spectre, if undertaken, will reunite the Zoas and open the path to Eternity.

No comments: