Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 01:33 am
William Blake is the real deal.
William Blake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The complete poetry and prose of ... - Google Books

His annotations and descriptive catalogs are him at his most direct. Also his letters. I feel his prophecies are sub-Miltonic distractions.

He combines Christianity, Platonism, and Satanism into a potent brew.

For him, the Poetic Genius was God. Which is to say that the human imagination is God, as it is the source of all false or derivative gods. I find Nietzsche and Hegel in Blake, but Blake sticks to the essence.

What is the essence? Ecstasy. "Energy is Eternal Delight."

Blake wants to get you off.
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Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 02:13 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;115815 wrote:


Blake wants to get you off.


I don't think "get you off" works here. Or maybe the off getting just needs to be qualified. Something like: Blake wants to teach you Swedenborgian Tantric Yoga...and get you off. "Get you off" sounds too much like something a beat poet would say and Blake was not a beat poet. Sure he went around in some bohemian circles, analogies could be drawn but how valuable would they be really? I guess I'm just trying to guard against a homogenization of poetic styles and cultures. I'm trying to keep my green bean casserole out of my mashed potatoes.
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Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 05:43 pm
@Reconstructo,
I understand your concern, but according to my reading of Blake, he does indeed want to "get us off." His Christ is rock-n-roll.

Perhaps we interpret him differently. Have you read his annotations? his letters? The man was filled with joy. He said that an artist without joy should find something else to do (paraphrase).

He lived in happy poverty. He might have starved if not for a patron. He was largely ignored but found no reason to cut his ear off.

To quote Ezra: make it new!

I think connecting dots is a good thing. I'll connect AC/DC's Highway to Hell with Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

For me, philosophy-art-religion are all about pleasure and power. If they can't deliver that to me in this idiosyncratic finite life of mine, I'll leave them to scholars.

I agree with Bacon that knowledge is power, but then I insist that there are two sorts of power. The first is Bacon's: power over nature, or applied science. The second is emotional. I call religion/art/ philosophy the "technology of morale." For me the point is to get high. Life is justified by "feeling," "ecstasy," "satisfaction." I put there words in quotes because they are just signs for experiences better expressed in music / dance/ facial expression.

I suppose at the moment, I have to rate Blake as someone nearer to the heart of the matter than most. He is somewhat obscured by his stylistic choices, I admit. Also, sometimes we find writers that just agree with us, and we assume they are good in the same way for others.

In any case, happy new year!
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 07:08 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;115969 wrote:
I understand your concern, but according to my reading of Blake, he does indeed want to "get us off." His Christ is rock-n-roll.

Perhaps we interpret him differently. Have you read his annotations? his letters? The man was filled with joy. He said that an artist without joy should find something else to do (paraphrase)....

In any case, happy new year!


I think you've read more Blake than I but I know him fairly well and I'm still going to reject the comparison to rock-n-roll, mostly to guard against that homogenization I've already mentioned. Would a 21st century Blake be a rock star? Maybe so but then he wouldn't be the same Blake as the one that was born in 1757. The nature may be the same but the Blake was also molded by his environment and so the nurture should not be dismissed as irrelevant. Blake was born in England 1757.

Also Jesus was not a rock-n-roll suicide no matter how brilliant Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical was. It's a mash-up and sometimes with mash-ups I prefer the original. I'm usually very friendly to metaphors but this one sticks in my craw. I guess I'm disappointed with rock-n-roll whereas I'm not as disappointed with Blake or Jesus for that matter. I want to reclaim some things that the rock-n-rollers have co-opted over the years and clean off rock-n-rolls jizz, piss, ****, and vomit off of those things.

I'm pulling a half-read book off the shelf "William Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision." Zinzendorf and the Moravians, the Kabbalah, lots of stuff cool semi-secret historical stuff going on behind the scenes. I haven't finished it. Maybe I'll check back with this thread when I do.

Happy New Years to you!
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Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2009 08:06 pm
@Reconstructo,
In Blake's "Job" (one of his last works), Job and his family are at first playing musical instruments together. They are full of joy. In the next scene they are gathered solemnly around the big book that Job is reading. Blake's Job brings disaster on himself for trading the spirit for the letter. Blake quotes this phrase in work "the letter killeth. the spirit giveth life."

Job traded a joyous noise for a solemn reading. Job traded ecstasy for righteousness. Blake loved Jesus as a rebel against the pharisees. Blake was also a bit idiosyncratically erotic. He told someone (I paraphrase) that he had a bisexual consciousness. He also left us this: "all is not sin that men call so: the loves and graces of eternity..."

I get the feeling that he was polymorphously perverse, in a friendly way like Norman O. Brown.

Now, it is time to party! Happy New Year!
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Jan, 2010 06:23 am
@Reconstructo,
I came across an interesting quote from G.K. Chesterton about Blake:
Quote:

"Blake's mistake was not so much that he aimed at sin as that he aimed at an impossible and inhuman sinlessness."
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