Sunday, January 11, 2015

LOS VS SPECTRE 2

Wikimedia Commons
Illustrations to Poems of Thomas Gray
Reuniting the broken psyche is not a clean-cut, simple process. Urthona had been torn into pieces who could not agree on who could control the real man. Los and the Spectre had reached a point at which they could call each other brother but they were still more aware of the other's faults than his virtues. In part of this statement in the Four Zoas, it is not clear which brother is claiming to be the real self and which is accused of being the embodiment of the negating, destroying characteristics they each would choose to reject. Apparently Los, although unable to accept the Spectre's claims intellectually, began to experience an opening to reconciliation with his Spectre through seeing his own defenses reflected in those of his Spectre. The avenue to healing the psyche involved seeing the errors in oneself as well as the virtues in the enemy. 

 
John Middleton Murry in his biographical commentary William Blake, gives this explanation on Page 164:
 
"But the psychological meaning is, that by being reconciled to the Spectre within himself, by recognizing and receiving Urizen as a part of his own self, Los-Blake attains a new understanding, a new synthesis (as we might call it today). Not of course an intellectual synthesis; but a real and decisive act of new spiritual understanding, involving a revolution of the whole man, - an act of Self-annihilation which is  Imagination. Blake understands that Urizen is not a separate, demonic power, from whose dominion Blake alone is free; he is Blake himself, a necessary element of Blake's being. Hence Los's task 'to destroy the body he created'. He was to destroy the figure of Urizen as he had formerly created him; he has, by the same compulsion to destroy the figure of Los as he had formerly created him. For the Los of the past is essentially the enemy and opposite of the former Urizen. He belongs to the same order of spiritual blindness; as Blake puts it simply, in looking on Urizen with the eyes of separateness and hatred and contempt, Los 'became what he beheld.' Thus, while the Spectre describes himself as having been 'a ravening, hungering & thirsting cruel lust & murder' in 'old times' when Los subdued him (which is story told in The First Book of Urizen) Los reciprocates by discovering in his former self fury and cruelty and 'the soul of dark revenge'."

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 95, (E 367) 
"Los embracd the Spectre first as a brother
Then as another Self; astonishd humanizing & in tears    
In Self abasement Giving up his Domineering lust 
Thou never canst embrace sweet Enitharmon terrible Demon. Till
Thou art united with thy Spectre Consummating by pains & labours
That mortal body & by Self annihilation back returning 
To Life Eternal be assurd I am thy real Self  
Tho thus divided from thee & the Slave of Every passion
Of thy fierce Soul Unbar the Gates of Memory look upon me 
Not as another but as thy real Self I am thy Spectre
Thou didst subdue me in old times by thy Immortal Strength 
When I was a ravning hungring & thirsting cruel lust & murder   
Tho horrible & Ghastly to thine Eyes tho buried beneath
The ruins of the Universe. hear what inspird I speak & be silent

If we unite in one[,] another better world will be    
Opend within your heart & loins & wondrous brain
Threefold as it was in Eternity & this the fourth Universe 
Will be Renewd by the three & consummated in Mental fires
But if thou dost refuse Another body will be prepared
PAGE 86 
For me & thou annihilate evaporate & be no more
For thou art but a form & organ of life & of thyself
Art nothing being Created Continually by Mercy & Love divine

Los furious answerd. Spectre horrible thy words astound my Ear
With irresistible conviction I feel I am not one of those 
Who when convincd can still persist. tho furious.controllable
By Reasons power. Even I already feel a World within
Opening its gates & in it all the real substances
Of which these in the outward World are shadows which pass away
Come then into my Bosom & in thy shadowy arms bring with thee   
My lovely Enitharmon. I will quell my fury & teach
Peace to the Soul of dark revenge & repentance to Cruelty

So spoke Los & Embracing Enitharmon & the Spectre
Clouds would have folded round in Extacy & Love uniting"

2 comments:

Susan J. said...

This is so beautiful, Ellie - and just exactly what I needed to read this morning.

"The avenue to healing the psyche involved seeing the errors in oneself as well as the virtues in the enemy."

Indeed -- thank you so much!

Susan

ellie said...

As I wrote about Los and his Spectre I couldn't help thinking about Muslins and the western culture. We demonize each other instead of trying to see the good in our brothers.