Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BLAKE & NATURAL RELIGION

Without a perception of the infinite Deism became associated with Natural Religion through which the workings of nature replace the workings of God. Man became dependent on nature to provide an object of worship and a system of ethics. Newtonian science became the primary tool to understand reality. The outer material world absorbed his attention and commanded loyalty. In as much as man finds all of his enjoyment in material pleasures and his ethics are directed by the desire for accumulating material goods, he is an adherent of Natural Religion.

These activities which dominate our contemporary culture may be manifestations of our devotion to Natural Religion:
preoccupation with appearance of one's body,
acquisitiveness,
desire to exploit the resources of nature,
egocentricity,  
fear of dying,
willingness to exploit the weak for the benefit of the strong.

Yale Center for British Art  
Jerusalem
Copy E, Plate 24
 

On Plate 24 of Jerusalem we see Albion, the Universal Man, being tortured by Rahab, Vala and Tirzah, three aspects of Natural Religion. All three are manifestations in the fallen world of Eternal realities which have been debased. Rahab as Moral Virture imputes sin or righteousness to individuals rather than to the states through they pass. Vala spreads her veil to prevent man from perceiving the Eternal through the world in which he lives. Tirzah provides man with a physical body to lure him from consciousness of his spiritual body.

Blake saw the danger of replacing revealed religion with the worship of the material world, and spoke out with great force against Natural Religion.

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 115, (E 386)
"The Synagogue of Satan therefore uniting against Mystery
Satan divided against Satan resolvd in open Sanhedrim
To burn Mystery with fire & form another from her ashes 
For God put it into their heart to fulfill all his will

The Ashes of Mystery began to animate they calld it Deism
And Natural Religion as of old so now anew began
Babylon again in Infancy Calld Natural Religion"

Jerusalem, Plate 90, (E 250)
"So Los spoke. And the Giants of Albion terrified & ashamed  
With Los's thunderous Words, began to build trembling rocking Stones
For his Words roll in thunders & lightnings among the Temples   
Terrified rocking to & fro upon the earth, & sometimes
Resting in a Circle in Maiden or in Strathness or Dura.
Plotting to devour Albion & Los the friend of Albion
Denying in private: mocking God & Eternal Life: & in Public
Collusion, calling themselves Deists, Worshipping the Maternal  
Humanity; calling it Nature, and Natural Religion 
But still the thunder of Los peals loud & thus the thunder's cry 

These beautiful Witchcrafts of Albion, are gratifyd by Cruelty" 

Milton, Plate 40 [46], (E 141)
"Before Ololon Milton stood & percievd the Eternal Form
Of that mild Vision; wondrous were their acts by me unknown
Except remotely; and I heard Ololon say to Milton

I see thee strive upon the Brooks of Arnon. there a dread
And awful Man I see, oercoverd with the mantle of years.   
I behold Los & Urizen. I behold Orc & Tharmas;
The Four Zoa's of Albion & thy Spirit with them striving
In Self annihilation giving thy life to thy enemies
Are those who contemn Religion & seek to annihilate it
Become in their Femin[in]e portions the causes & promoters       
Of these Religions, how is this thing? this Newtonian Phantasm
This Voltaire & Rousseau: this Hume & Gibbon & Bolingbroke
This Natural Religion! this impossible absurdity
Is Ololon the cause of this? O where shall I hide my face
These tears fall for the little-ones: the Children of Jerusalem  
Lest they be annihilated in thy annihilation.

No sooner she had spoke but Rahab Babylon appeard
Eastward upon the Paved work across Europe & Asia
Glorious as the midday Sun in Satans bosom glowing:
A Female hidden in a Male, Religion hidden in War  

Namd Moral Virtue; cruel two-fold Monster shining bright
A Dragon red & hidden Harlot which John in Patmos saw
...
But turning toward Ololon in terrible majesty Milton
Replied. Obey thou the Words of the Inspired Man
All that can be annihilated must be annihilated   

That the Children of Jerusalem may be saved from slavery"

If we are inclined to think that it is science that upholds the notion that the world is matter only, we should note what Max Planck had to say:
"As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter."
Max Planck, Das Wesen der Materie, 1944

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