Thursday, May 15, 2014

Urizen Survey

There's a great deal to be read about Blake's 'Urizen'.
Here are a few places:
This was found in Blake's Primer:
   The word strongly suggests reason, the primary quality of Urizen. Blake felt that the hegemony of rational thinking since The Enlightment had had a stultifying and destructive influence on the British culture. He chose Bacon, Newton and Locke to epitomize that destructive influence. He chose Urizen to exemplify it in his myth.
   At the final consummation Blake rehabilitated Bacon, Newton and Locke. They appeared counterbalancing Blake's three great poets.
The Druid Spectre was Annihilate loud thundring rejoicing terrific vanishing J98.7; E257| Fourfold Annihilation & at the clangor of the Arrows of Intellect J98.8; E257| The innumerable Chariots of the Almighty appeard in Heaven J98.9; E257| And Bacon & Newton & Locke, & Milton & Shakspear & Chaucer        (Jerusalem 98: 6-9 [257])
   In Night II of The Four Zoas Urizen lost his faith and in vision saw the world collapsing into darkness:
  • Urizen rose from the bright Feast like a star thro' the evening sky.
  • First he beheld the body of Man pale, cold; the horrors of death
  • Beneath his feet shot thro' him as he stood in the Human Brain,
  • Pale he beheld futurity; pale he beheld the Abyss
  • ......[he said:]
  • Build we a Bower for heavens darling in the grizzly deep,
  • Build we the Mundane Shell around the Rock of Albion.
      FZ2: 23:9-24.8; (314)

This is found in this blog.

In Globes of Fire II we read:
"Los, the Imagination, carries his globe of fire to provide light and energy to the intuitive mind which discerns the spiritual dimension. Urizen is likewise endowed with a globe of fire so that the mind might reason and understand through the intellect. No light is brighter than that of the Eternal Urizen before the fall. The role of reason is preeminent until Urizen, the Prince of Light, refuses to accept the role of guide to the newly created man.

Urizen continues to carry his globe of fire after his fall into the dark abyss. His fate is to explore with a dim light which leads him into erroneous pathways. He substitutes his books of descriptions and laws for his faith in the ever expanding light.

It was Blake's belief that if man's ability to reason led him to depend on his own powers to give structure and meaning to the world, he was sorely deceived. Reason is capable of discerning and manipulating the finite and material; Intuition or Imagination sees the Infinite and Eternal.
From Blake's Book of Urizen:
Book of  Urizen, Plate 20, (E 81)
"1. Urizen explor'd his dens
Mountain, moor, & wilderness,
With a globe of fire lighting his journey
A fearful journey, annoy'd
By cruel enormities: forms                                       
Plate 23


ellie said...

What Einstein had to say:
"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.

We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

Vincent said...

Your description of Urizen, and Blake’s attitude to Newton & Locke reminds me of the man who first taught me about it. He ascribed his own ideas about “man’s four-fold nature”, and this primacy of intuition over reason, to William Blake.

His name was Theodore Faithfull and I’ve been meaning for some time to mention him to you. As a young man I had a few sessions of psychotherapy with him. He had written several books mainly on psychology. In the Thirties he had run one of the first “free schools”, free in the sense that the pupils could skip any class if they wished and had their own parliament to run the place. Rumours of scandals were never properly dispelled. He also called himself a sexologist. He was in his eighties when I met him (I was 22) and you could not imagine a less orthodox psychoanalyst. He talked more than he listened, performed a physical intervention to “free up energy” which he would not get away with these days, and talked endlessly about Blake. He was the grandfather of Marianne Faithfull, the singer & one-time girlfriend of Mick Jagger.

His medical qualification was in veterinary medicine, by virtue of which he could give out prescriptions for amphetamines and presumably any other drug he wished. So he gave me some of them to deal with my nervousness at having to address a hall of prospective clients at work. They made me bizarrely over-confident, puzzling the attendees and leaving opinion divided among my colleagues as to whether my presentation was a triumph or a disaster. It wasn’t as bizarre as Gussie Fink-Nottle’s prize-giving speech to the scholars of Snodsbury Grammar school, after he has overdosed on whisky beforehand, but it was going in that direction. (An incident from What Ho, Jeeves! by P G Wodehouse.)

I think of all his ideas only the Blakean ones had a lasting influence upon me. I recall once spending a day at the City Library in Birmingham poring over facsimile copies of the Prophetic Books, trying to absorb what Blake was trying to convey, and getting little from them, except his energy. And I suppose I mixed up William & Theodore in my unconscious mind, as if they were interchangeable.

Larry said...

wow, Vincent; that's great info: about yourself and about this man, whom I intend to look up and read about.

Thanks for your interest in our blog.