"For Blake's ideal is not single and ascetic but is part of his lively dialectic. The crux of that dialectic is, that all societies fall short of man's good; but that man cannot be good, because they cannot be themselves, outside society. What is done always distorts what has been imagined. But what has been imagined must be given a shape by doing, and it is not fully imagined until it is done. This is the progression of innocence and experience, murdering one another. It is the progression between society and the way of living it seeks to fix. And it is the progression between the poem and the imagination. To take one side or other of these contraries: to hold that the social man is prompted by social forces alone; or that he who knows that the poem always speaks the thought awry must needs be dumb: this is to miss the movement of Blake's contraries to progression. Innocence returns to itself, greater, by way of experience. Blake's ideal is the imaginative soul. But the Divine Vision must work in the world: God cannot reveal himself without Urizen, the physical creator. 'God only Acts & Is, in existing beings or Men.' And though the ideal errs in the hypocrite world, 'to be an Error & to be Cast out is a part of God's design'.
Against the proliferation of error which the vegetable world renews, Blake saw a single soul in the imagination. It is to him the likeness of God in the body of man...
|Museum of Fine Arts Boston |
Large Color Printed Drawings
ALL RELIGIONS are ONE, (E 2)
"The Voice of one crying in the Wilderness
The Argument As the true method of knowledge is experiment the true faculty of knowing must be the faculty which experiences. This faculty I treat of. PRINCIPLE 1st That the Poetic Genius is the true Man. and that the body or outward form of Man is derived from the Poetic Genius. Likewise that the forms of all things are derived from their Genius. which by the Ancients was call'd an Angel & Spirit & Demon. PRINCIPLE 2d As all men are alike in outward form, So (and with the same infinite variety) all are alike in the Poetic Genius"
Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 3, (E 34) "Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil. Good is the passive that obeys Reason[.] Evil is the active springing from Energy. Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell. PLATE 4 The voice of the Devil All Bibles or sacred codes. have been the causes of the following Errors. 1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul. 2. That Energy. calld Evil. is alone from the Body. & that Reason. calld Good. is alone from the Soul. 3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies. But the following Contraries to these are True 1 Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld Body is a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses. the chief inlets of Soul in this age 2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. 3 Energy is Eternal Delight"