The biblical English poet William Blake didn’t believe in either God or Man as separate entities but in Divine Humanity as a union of creative effort. The divine being takes the initiative. At the point of communication the two become an identity. Man must let go of his ego to be resurrected. The self-surpassing of human limitations is infinite. Paradise can be made here.
Blake saw the American (and later French) revolutions as victories for humanity against established authority and the message of Jesus as one of social liberation. In his 1790 poem The Marriage of Heaven & Hell (where the exuberance proverb appears) left-wing and right-wing political forces are wedded when the right is converted. The ‘left’ are the Devils and the ‘right’ are the Angels. Blake was on the left, supporting Voltaire and Thomas Paine.
Blake is a complex poet and no one really understood him until Northrop Frye came along. In this blog I am relying on “Blake’s Bible” which is published in Robert Denham’s Myth & Metaphor: Selected Essays by Northrop Frye 1974-88
Blake’s rules are radical but as our civilization crumbles they make more and more sense for us writers and concerned citizens:
- Throw away judgmental, conforming morality. It is the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ which God warned Man against in Eden
- Don’t be prudish about sex or nudity; this attitude came from having eaten the fruit of the forbidden tree
- Pursue your abilities to love and to create. Make them your highest goals. They are the center of potentially divine powers.
- Destroy your own grasping and clutching ego. That also will make you more human.
- Realize that the old, metaphorical cosmology of the Bible is not historical or scientific. Paradise and the Apocalypse are scenarios to be enacted on earth by human creators with a spiritual partner. Hell is what we have now.
Thanks for dropping by.The roses are blooming at my home as I write. I’ve helped them a little by fertilizing them and discarding the leaves ruined by black spot and pests. Please leave a comment below, as exuberant as you wish.
Margaret Kell Virany lover of lang and lit, note-taker of Norrie Frye, journalist, editor, author, almost octogenarian