This blog looks at Blake's use of spinning and weaving the strings of finitude
Urizen/Temple, Vala and the iron spindles. That is the brief focus here.
opening reasonably......what 'type' or ideology of knowledge is signified here?
Blake’s two-fold compass points: north/ south/ east/ west…It is also true, given the significance of Ahania in The Four Zoas, that Blake enters a fresh dimension of zoa/emanative myth in Jerusalem for Ahania, Tharmas and Enion and Orc are far less evident. Tracing the plots of these epics in Jerusalem Explained and The Four Zoas Explained show why.
There is no ONE plot and often there is no ONE text. the Dirridean monotone of no beginning and no end to any text turns mono-textuality into a straw dummy. Tzara in the Dadist Manifesto Cafe Voltaire is where Derrida sits. Two generations earlier. Leotard? The same.
There is a logical self-contradiction here...think of a university...i live in cambridge so the university here will do...there is no such THING as the University of Cambridge....there is this college or that college or the library or the grad-pad but no single thing that is a distinct object that can be shown as THE University of Cambridge. The University is a mental abstract too...it exists as a coherence differently in the mind of every person who thinks of it and may not exist in other minds at all. It has a reality that is entirely linguistic too. It is also legal entity ... and so forth.
Likewise a text. ..the alledged meaning depends on the idealogy of the poet as seen, heard, spoken of, shown or written about by critic... and its value lies in its coherence, even if like Ault et al, the only coherence is its incoherence... which is paradoxically the coherent argument made about an apparently constructed incoherence. each post modernist has THE plan his/her limited response of the moment. because, there must be one even if.... as Derrida echoed... it is improvisation. Else Freud has no merit at all. The unity of each intelligence is infinitely existent.
i do not conform to the recent 'post' modern school of, for examples, ault, pierce, dortort rothenberg, lincoln, otto and others. while all are studies full of insights, i show to my mind, that none understand the coherence of Blake's levels of vision language and visualisation outside of two-fold life....indeed they claim Blake is without coherent narrative structure, is fractal, self-subversive, weirdly self-destructive and randomly unsystematic.
SO let us look........................................
Los/Golgonooza, Enitharmon, furnace and looms and labours of love are of Blake’s three-fold centre/ circumference/ zenith/ nadir vortices…
four-fold love is the infinite within and the infinite without…. 94-96...the 'New' Jerusalem' descends in Chapter 4, or Beulah, in three-fold unity of head, heart and loins...the restoration of Jerusalem's infinite physicality prepares Albion's interiority for Christ's second coming.
For Blake,| Swedenborg is two fold vision and symbolism. Blake's use of Swedenborg should be interpreted as 'cleansing two-fold vision. otto gives a fine study of The Four Zoas and swedenborg. but his reading is self-confined to a seeing of Blake's two-fold seeing as 'all seeing'.
One essential difference between one two three and fourfold seeing in Blake, is Blake's 'theology of atonement'...
based on the dogmatic fact of unconditional forgiveness as expression of Christ as the law, and the fulfillment of all law…for Blake, Christ is 'the why' of the commandment to love…love god and love the other... in fourfold unity
For Blake, suffering is real.... it must be... and death too is real; else there is no real love or real faith or real (i.e. infite) life.
As Tim Heath (Blake Society) put it, through Blake's art we are in the 'company of Blake'...and in his 'company' of language and art we are always self-transcending in the otherness within and without....to my mind Blake wrote for years to give a visual discourse the purpose of which is a finger pointing outside of itself in compassion for the other, and his art and epic myth an adumbration of the second coming of Christ....striving with systems to dissolve systems.…
the systems are signified by Blake’s geometry for it manifests vision and form
… it’s a not simply an abstraction or a metaphor. He symbolizes architectures of feeling and physicality...he signifies a two fold Ulro and Generation, and, a three fold Eden and Beulah….we see two fold rocks and temples, and, threefold, we see Golgonooza…(onefold is death and fourfold is unity with God.…
and, we have a spectre to measure the first, and, we have a threefold prophetic forge of spirituality of Los for three fold life...the furnaces re-forge the twofold into threefold life energy, that is then given sublime forms in the emanative looms of Enitharmon and their daughters in Cathedron, which is a portion of Golgonooza …in Cathedron, nature or life is woven into an emanative unity in ‘fibres’ of beauty and love beneath the thresholds of human perception…
the sublime world thus formed is that into which we see the descent of the New Jerusalem, and she is the cleansed finite for the second coming. three-fold Jerusalem...and two-fold Vala; always the one gives souls, the other bodies that are born live and die.
Thus, in the two worlds that Blake makes female, the first, Chapter 3, is finite and Blake gives us Generation in which world Blake gives us the incarnation. In the second female world, Chapter 4, Beulah, we have the cleansed generative female energies, that allows the descent of the New Jerusalem that, in turn, immediately prepares and cleanses Beulah for the second coming and, in turn, Albion's re-awakening in Beulah in Plates 94-100.
There is a beautiful structural balance between the female worlds...as there is a beautiful structural balance between the male worlds. This structure is not possible to the two fold limits of the post-modern Blake school of Ault et al.
SO TO MOVE TO THREE FOLD AND FOUR FOLD
Blake and possibility. the quantuum fields of information in Blake.
An example in modern philosophy of science follows. I can’t and do not need to follow the maths/geometry of it, but the geography is essential…I was thinking about reason and science. Freedom from systems.
I was reading Wheeler, the 96 year old physicist who died last week. Writes of four Levels and the physics of sentience. In 1998 he had a brief paper/correspondence in his book Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam. (Norton 1998) He and his colleagues write of the philosophy of science of it….in their language, it means sentience is a Level 3 and property of non-material ‘reality’ or quantum information field… and in Level 3 everything is information…love, commitment, creativity and imagination, intentionality, sense of humour, self-transcendence and appreciation of beauty of creation are ‘physical guiding fields of quantum information outside of Level 1’. Material quantum field of Level 1 ties in here with Newton and Urizen. Wheeler quotes Libet …‘the mind chooses backward in time while, simultaneously experiencing its conscious choice forward in time’
THEN ……he moves into Merkebah mysticisism, Ezekiel’s chariot and quotes Blake extensively. This takes us straight into the work of Rowland, kabbalah of Spector and Van Kleeck and the related exploration of beauty by Sklar, and her view beauty is salvic...that takes courage and love.
to read Blake in a post quantum world, we need appreciation of the non-material quantum of Level 3 ...and Level 3 is sentient indefinable and experiential and implies Blake's perceptions of both art and the human form divine as he named it.
Not unlike Polkinghorne and the god's eye view of the 'block universe'. This modern post-quantuum philosophy is two-hundred +++ years after Blake…it's essential for Blake's levels of inspiration and mythic credibility. Blake is not limited to Ptolemaic or Newtonian or Einsteinian paradgyms...
it makes sense to read and see Blake as a quantum mythologist: myth before maths.
Wheeler finds 4 levels of the real. Not unlike Blake’s four-fold genius in a modern metaphoric parallel. (Wikapedia a helpful source here …Hypercube and hypersphere). Illuminating Blake’s real though indefinable and eternal renewal in four-fold splendour.
The hypercube/sphere allows an image like Golgonooza, Blake has such a grasp of perception, in fr coffey’s words, ‘universal though concrete passing beyond the level of psychological description’
I look at it very early on for a few like paragraphs only in Jerusalem Explained. I’d like to read more studies, but it’s not a major focus. By and large Ault is limited to Newton. He sees two-fold and its limits. Then, detailing bit and pieces, asserts his accumulated notes and seems to assert his notes as the literary and visual boundaries of Blake's craftsmanship. .... these limits are his limits.
i think it shown in Jerusalem Explained and The Four Zoas Explained that Blake is a far better poet than Ault's methodology allows.
Jerusalem Explained and The Four Zoas Explained help today's readers and scholars working in Blake's narrative levels and plot. For a concluding example for this note: I suggest an entirely fresh/new reading in which there is envisioned a three-fold Golgonooza...and, a two-fold Canaan and Urizen's Temple that is a two-fold prophetic history/myth.
the history/myth both symbolises and narratively allows the virgin birth and the crucifixion and second coming ...
Structurally supporting this reading,
1. Golgonooza is the major city/building in Chapter 1 (male and finite;
2. and the major building in Chapter 2 is the Christ built Tomb of Albion (male and infinite);
3. Urizen's Temple and stone of sacrifice is the great structure of Chapter 3 (female and finite)
and 4. in Chapter 4 it is the New Jerusalem (female and infinite).
The importance of these four architectures/buildings are structurally vital and unexplored critically out side of Jerusalem Explained. I'm writing an article now however,it seems critically true to claim Blake crafts a coherent and thematically inter-connected and integrated dialogue of non material and material being in the four-fold 'web' of his story.
For Blake the sexual dynamics of male and female compose the physicality of both infinite and finite being.
in post-modern terms, Blake's vertical and horizontal structures (synchronic and diachronic) integrate his epic.
The book moves to the 2nd edition and I’m glad it’s available.