|Yale Center for British Art
Copy M, Plate 10
In Jill Bolte Taylor's book My Stroke of Insight she describes the different ways in which our right and left brains are configured to handle the information we receive. Although the two halves are designed to complement one another there is a tendency for the left mind, with its reasoning capability, to overshadow the right mind, which assimilates information diffusely. Blake associates Urizen with left brained reasoning; Los with right brained imagination. The previous post looked at Los and the right brain; now we look at Urizen.
My Stroke of Insight, Page 31:
"In contrast, our left hemisphere is completely different in the way it processes information. It takes each of those rich and complex moments created by the right hemisphere and strings them together in timely succession. It then sequentially compares the details making up this moment with the details making up the last moment. By organizing details in linear and methodical fashion, out left brain manifests the concept of time whereby our moments are divided into the past, present and future. Within the structure of this predictable cadence, we can appreciate that must occur before that can happen...It builds an understanding of everything using deductive reasoning, such as if A is greater than B, and B is greater than C, then A must be greater than C.
Just opposite to how our right hemisphere thinks in pictures and perceives the big picture of the present moment, our left mind thrives on details, details, and more details about those details.
Because our left brain is filled with these ingrained programs of pattern recognition, it is superb at predicting what we will think, how we will act, or what we will feel in the future - based on our past experience.
Among other things, our left hemisphere categorizes information into hierarchies including things that attract us (our likes) or repel us (our dislikes). It places the judgment of good on those thing we like and bad on those things we dislike."
Jerusalem, Plate 74, (E 229) "The Four Zoa's clouded rage; Urizen stood by Albion With Rintrah and Palamabron and Theotormon and Bromion These Four are Verulam & London & York & Edinburgh And the Four Zoa's are Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona In opposition deadly, and their Wheels in poisonous And deadly stupor turn'd against each other loud & fierce Entering into the Reasoning Power, forsaking Imagination They became Spectres; & their Human Bodies were reposed In Beulah, by the Daughters of Beulah with tears & lamentations The Spectre is the Reasoning Power in Man; & when separated From Imagination, and closing itself as in steel, in a Ratio Of the Things of Memory. It thence frames Laws & Moralities To destroy Imagination! the Divine Body, by Martyrdoms & Wars" Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 79, (E 355) "Urizen answerd Read my books explore my Constellations Enquire of my Sons & they shall teach thee how to War Enquire of my Daughters who accursd in the dark depths Knead bread of Sorrow by my stern command for I am God Of all this dreadful ruin Rise O daughters at my Stern command"
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 11. (E 306) "Tho in the Brain of Man we live, & in his circling Nerves. Tho' this bright world of all our joy is in the Human Brain. Where Urizen & all his Hosts hang their immortal lamps Thou neer shalt leave this cold expanse where watry Tharmas mourns So spoke Los." [to Enitharmon]
Four Zoas, Night II, Page 28, (E 318) "For measurd out in orderd spaces the Sons of Urizen With compasses divide the deep; they the strong scales erect PAGE 29 That Luvah rent from the faint Heart of the Fallen Man And weigh the massy Cubes, then fix them in their awful stations" Four Zoas, Night IV, Page 52, (E 335) "Terrified Los beheld the ruins of Urizen beneath A horrible Chaos to his eyes. a formless unmeasurable Death Whirling up broken rocks on high into the dismal air And fluctuating all beneath in Eddies of molten fluid Then Los with terrible hands siezd on the Ruind Furnaces Of Urizen. Enormous work: he builded them anew Labour of Ages in the Darkness & the war of Tharmas And Los formd Anvils of Iron petrific. for his blows Petrify with incessant beating many a rock. many a planet But Urizen slept in a stoned stupor in the nether Abyss A dreamful horrible State in tossings on his icy bed Freezing to solid all beneath, his grey oblivious form Stretchd over the immense heaves in strong shudders. silent his voice In brooding contemplation stretching out from North to South In mighty power. Round him Los rolld furious His thunderous wheels from furnace to furnace. tending diligent The contemplative terror. frightend in his scornful sphere Frightend with cold infectious madness. in his hand the thundering Hammer of Urthona. forming under his heavy hand the hours PAGE 53 The days & years. in chains of iron round the limbs of Urizen Linkd hour to hour & day to night & night to day & year to year In periods of pulsative furor. mills he formd & works Of many wheels resistless in the power of dark Urthona"
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"
Taylor gained the ability to trust and exploit her right mind during the time that her left mind had lost its functioning. During her recovery from her stroke she, like Blake, choose to depend to a large extent on her right mind rather than her left because it gave her access to the unified world which we associate with spiritual consciousness.
My Stroke of Insight, Page 139:
"My right mind is all about the richness of this present moment. It is filled with gratitude for my life and everyone and everything in it. It is content, compassionate, nurturing, and eternally optimistic. To my right mind character, there is no judgment of good/bad or right/wrong, everything exists on a continuum of relativity...To my right mind we are all equal members of the human family."