Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Monday, May 30, 2011


An image that Blake uses for the Fall of Man (the division into duality or multiplicity), is presented in the limitation of man's sensory acuity. The senses of Eternity are flexible, expanding and contracting at will: their perceptions are infinite.

The Book of Urizen dramatizes the process of the infinite senses becoming the senses five that we recognize and enjoy today. It is not a happy sight to see the powers of Eternity being defined and limited into the narrow range of sight, sound, smell, and taste and touch to which we have access.

Book of Urizen, Plate 12, (E 76) ................Plate 13

"8. In harrowing fear rolling round;
His nervous brain shot branches
Round the branches of his heart.
On high into two little orbs
And fixed in two little eaves
Hiding carefully from the wind,
His Eyes beheld the deep,
And a third Age passed over:
And a state of dismal woe.

9. The pangs of hope began,
In heavy pain striving, struggling.
Two Ears in close volutions.
From beneath his orbs of vision
Shot spiring out and petrified
As they grew. And a fourth Age passed
And a state of dismal woe.

10. In ghastly torment sick;
Hanging upon the wind;

Two Nostrils bent down to the deep.
And a fifth Age passed over;
And a state of dismal woe.

11. In ghastly torment sick;
Within his ribs bloated round,
A craving Hungry Cavern;
Thence arose his channeld Throat,
And like a red flame a Tongue
Of thirst & of hunger appeard.
And a sixth Age passed over:
And a state of dismal woe.

PLATE 22, (E 82)
The Senses inward rush'd shrinking,
Beneath the dark net of infection.

2. Till the shrunken eyes clouded over
Discernd not the woven hipocrisy
But the streaky slime in their heavens
Brought together by narrowing perceptions
Appeard transparent air; for their eyes
Grew small like the eyes of a man
And in reptile forms shrinking together"

The inability to perceive reality shows itself in man's forgetting Eternity from which he originated. This limits his ability to discern the possibility of living as he is meant to live. His limited perceptions further cloud his mind to the distorted conditions which he becomes satisfied with living under in the world he has made for himself.

Letter to Truxler, (E 702)
"As a man is So he Sees.
As the Eye is formed such are its Powers"

We are limited in what we see by who we are; likewise we are limited in who we are by what we see. In our present circumstances the distortions of our perceptions cause us to accept war, imprisonment, impoverishment, exploitation, and destruction of the environment. Likewise we are diminished in our self-perception by what we see is happening around us. Cleansing the windows of perception is a way to alter the direction in which we are heading. Blake has the journey to regeneration begin by Los recognizing himself in his enemy Urizen. Our return journey can begin with a recognition that we are creating the self-destructing world in our own image. Healing ourselves can heal our world.

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