Thursday, December 26, 2013


Rerun of post from February 4, 2010

Blake's first level of vision, single vision, is fairly easily transcended. We learn to see beyond the level of material into the level of thought, ideas, reason. And this becomes our mindset, we develop rules, structures and a point of view - an engineer thinks like an engineer and a lawyer thinks like a lawyer. Blake isn't satisfied to let us stay there; he sees it as a prison as much as single vision was. So of each level of vision.
In the Epilogue to Gates of Paradise Blake is trying to force us to another level of thought altogether:

For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 19, (E 269)
"To The Accuser Who is
The God of This World

Truly My Satan thou art but a Dunce
And dost not know the Garment from the Man
Every Harlot was a Virgin once
Nor canst thou ever change Kate into Nan

Tho thou art Worshipd by the Names Divine
Of Jesus & Jehovah thou art still
The Son of Morn in weary Nights decline
The lost Travellers Dream under the Hill"

He addresses this to 'the accuser' who is in charge of seeing that the law is obeyed; who ferrets out the lawbreakers and begins the process of meting out punishment. The world has made this accuser its God. But this accuser can't even be trusted to distinguish between the underlying humanity and the facade which he presents. He is not aware of the Identity of man which is Eternal and moves through the states without losing his essential nature. The accuser doesn't know that he hasn't the power to touch that which is real or Eternal within man.

Although the accuser takes on the Divine names he is without the substance. His time of strength and power is closing, the unreal illusion which he has sustained in his wanderings will be buried.

Whatever image he has created is only an image, a new image must arise and replace it.
British Museum
Gates of Paradise
Erdman in the Illuminated Blake states: "A sleeping traveller, naked, his hand on his staff though a spider has spun his web on the top, lies under a hill beyond which dawn is breaking on all sides. The deity which has resided in his sleeping breast, a black nightmare vision of Satan pretending to power over sun, moon, stars, must vanish like a raven of dawn since shown up as a mere Dunce - yet a Lucifer (feckless but better than no dreams at all) for temporarily lost travellers."

Using some of the same images, these verses in Isaiah resemble Blake's verses quoted above, and the Satan Blake described in other passages. The fall and death of the King of Babylon parallels the fall and death of Satan who has lost his place in the bosom of the Lost Traveler.

Isaiah 14
3 On the day the LORD gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage, 
4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!
11 All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you. 
12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!  
13 You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.
15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.  
16 Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: "Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, 
17 the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?" 
18 All the kings of the nations lie in state, each in his own tomb.  
19 But you are cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch; you are covered with the slain, with those pierced by the sword, those who descend to the stones of the pit. Like a corpse trampled underfoot,

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