Sunday, August 12, 2012

Faith IX

The Neo-platonic interpreters have theorized that Blake couldn't forgive the creator for
condemning us to this prison house of mortal life. I think a more universal explanation
fits the facts. Everyone has difficulty forgiving his father and/or creator for the
 dimensions of horror in life which threaten in one way or another to overwhelm the
psyche. Few or none of us have done a really adequate job of this. Most often we've
repressed the sensitive idealist; we've closed off from consciousness those unpleasant
ultimate realities which seem to have no answer.

"Did he who made the Lamb make thee?" Has anyone really asked that question since
 1794? Neitszche asked it and went crazy. In our generation Jung has come closest, and
 that's what makes him great. Most of us, even the best of Christians, have partitioned
 off and closed out that ultimate question, the ultimate doubt expressed by the dying
 Saviour on the cross. This William Blake could not do; like Jesus he was condemned
 to face consciously the penalty of our finitude.

Frye has spoken of the 'abyss of consciousness'. Enion, the primeval mother in 4Z is
 condemned to it by her love of her children. at the end of Night ii she calls our
 attention to this blindness which we have chosen and its opposite, the abyss of
 consciousness which she (and Blake in her) is condemned to face; here is her complaint.

Something is terribly wrong in this created universe, and in the face of this underlying
wrongness the idea of a loving Father as Creator simply doesn't fit all the facts. This
 consciousness, which Blake shared with Dostoevski in the person of Ivan Karamazov
, interrupted Blake's childlike innocence and precipitated the torturous journey "through
 the Aerial Void and all the Churches".

Probably a majority of people will always refuse such an invitation; they will cling to
 the refuge of their Church, or Bible, or President, or fraternity, or whatever form of
 authority they have made their obeisance to, whatever they have found to block out the
 abyss of consciousness. A few will have at least a sympathetic or vicarious interest in
 the problem posed by Blake and Dostoevski. A handful will perceive that to realize
 their full humanity and the God Within they must proceed beyond innocence. They,
 too, must take that long journey and plumb life to its wholeness. The art of Blake
 offers a good map for the trip.

To read all the Faith posts together click on the label: Faith at the end of any of them.

An earlier version of Faith I-IX may be seen as a composite in Chapter Four of the Primer.

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