Friday, May 03, 2013


British Museum 
A Small Book of Designs
from Book of Urizen
Copy A, plate 1
Urizen's impulse to control became expressed in his books of laws which he wrote incessantly. One of the versions of the fall involves an agreement made between Urizen and Luvah to alter their functions. Luvah became suspicious of Urizen and backed out of the deal. The mistrust Urizen developed may explain his preoccupation with writing laws to control the behavior of others especially those who wanted the freedom to express emotions.
Urizen can only allay his feelings of insecurity if he can enforce uniform behavior, conformity to his rules, and homogeneity in society.  Unfortunately he is not above using techniques of cruelty, deception and domination to maintain his legal code. The irony of creating codes of morality is the absence of acceptable ways of enforcing them.

The internal Urizen goes by the name of the superego. Blake shows that unless we constantly reexamine our own superegos in the light of the highest vision of truth which we can access, we will find ourselves dominated by rigid restrictive rules, and seeking to control the behaviors of others in irrational and oppressive ways.

Book of Urizen, Plate 4, (E 72)     
"6. Here alone I in books formd of metals
Have written the secrets of wisdom                            
The secrets of dark contemplation
By fightings and conflicts dire,
With terrible monsters Sin-bred:
Which the bosoms of all inhabit;
Seven deadly Sins of the soul.  

7. Lo! I unfold my darkness: and on
This rock, place with strong hand the Book
Of eternal brass, written in my solitude.

8. Laws of peace, of love, of unity:
Of pity, compassion, forgiveness.                                
Let each chuse one habitation:
His ancient infinite mansion:
One command, one joy, one desire,
One curse, one weight, one measure
One King, one God, one Law."                            

Four Zoas, Night VII, PAGE 80, (E 355)
"And Urizen Read in his book of brass in sounding tones  

Listen O Daughters to my voice Listen to the Words of Wisdom
So shall [ye] govern over all let Moral Duty tune your tongue
But be your hearts harder than the nether millstone
To bring the shadow of Enitharmon beneath our wondrous tree   
That Los may Evaporate like smoke & be no more
Draw down Enitharmon to the Spectre of Urthona
And let him have dominion over Los the terrible shade

Compell the poor to live upon a Crust of bread by soft mild arts
Smile when they frown frown when they smile & when a man looks pale
With labour & abstinence say he looks healthy & happy
And when his children Sicken let them die there are enough
Born even too many & our Earth will be overrun
Without these arts If you would make the poor live with temper
With pomp give every crust of bread you give with gracious cunning 
Magnify small gifts reduce the man to want a gift & then give with pomp
Say he smiles if you hear him sigh If pale say he is ruddy
Preach temperance   say he is overgorgd & drowns his wit
In strong drink tho you know that bread & water are all
He can afford   Flatter his wife pity his children till we can   

Reduce all to our will as spaniels are taught with art"

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