Wednesday, 20 May 2009

linear, non-linear and multi-linear narrative in Blake

Linear and non-linear narrative in William Blake? new media...and multi-dimensional possibilities... MOO spaces and controls of information speed and multi-systemic constructions in art, literature and of course music... There was a conference 2009 at Goldsmith's College, june, financially supported by the Harold Pinter bequest...the aesthetics of transformational drama tends to be the experimental cutting edge of all the arts in my judgment... 'Beyond the linear narrative' the conference is proudly entitled, giving a date and linear timetable ... so I thought, how can we really talk meaningfully about a non-linear narrative simply because a text 'folds back on itself'... without linearity there can be no folding back of events into apparent discontinuity... or into dissolution and morphic re-manifestation.

........... and, folded linearity is simply time-folded continuities, unperceived till perceived in revelatory sentience... character epiphany....the within and without experienced in the imagination of the Human Form Divine, as Blake symbolised four-fold vision... which is trans-temporal and trans-spatial in the sense of serial time....

Serial time, created by Los and Enitharmon in the sun and moon symbolism is the longditudinal of the matter geometry of height, width and depth of the forms we perceive... Albion compacts and stonifies into frozen inertia...the compression is symbolised by Urizen's Temple of generation/nature worship.

Thus Albion collapses inward...and concommitent with turning inward from God is his absolute contraction within two-fold finite perceptual being until one-fold eternal stasis becomes the end point of Albion's eternal sleep...

Blake's art and poetry invite us to envision in three-fold sublime the energies of Albion enter two-fold finite sensory revelation. Blake's prophetic revelation details the shattering mutual predation of self-authorised fragmented component energy as Albion splinters, duration-bound, into Zoa, Emanation and Spectre, Son and Daughter, inert, unmalleable material forms, generative cyclicity, sexual and economic enslavement and murderous sacrifice for 'spiritual food and nourishment'. He falls from infinite, regenerative translucence in the infinite contraction of time and space in unity with God....or Blake's dynamic of infinite creative fulfilment in Divine energy....into Ulro and Generation...

Theologically, this collapse can be thought of as a Blake's myth of the fall into separation, blindness, division and contraction into primordial, elemental, non-being. Here is where Blake's origins of finite nature begin... precisely because Albion is contingent, once self-severed from Divine energy he is self-severed from the source of all being, for Blake the living energies of God, and has only his own energies to feed off and so Albion's components self-predate. The collapse is limited by God's intervention. Albion can't save himself else he would not need God; his hubris is to think otherwise, to think he rules life, death, work and fertility, and thought.

Such is the world we live in and for Blake the education and cleansing of human perception through sublime prophetic art is to reveal the infinite in the finite through Jesus, or the Divine principle....

The limits set are called Satan and Adam...Blake's Spectre symbolises our world's ideas of life and death in Ulro and Generation. The two limits are respectively perceptual and material and are ordered by the Temple. Satan is symbolic of a moral absolute based on finitude and is organised into a negation of the Divine within and without by Urizen's Temple of negative perception. Adam is the reduced human life symbolised by Rueben, whose life energies are both limited to life and death within the five senses and are controlled by the imperative of reproduction and power over others through war, human sacrifice and enslavement.

...and Golgonooza is the rendering into linear three-fold sublime of the precise perception that serial time has rolled back into itself and past, present and future enwrap into the entry of Divinity. Jesus enters finite at the centre, and thus is infinitely within Albion's morally insane attempt to escape Divinity without, by turning away inside. Albion finds God within and God without. Thus each Chapter of Jerusalem concludes its compression and expansion narrative from circumference of Albion's 'body' inwards in dissolution to the centre, then, after Divine intervention, back through time and space to the circumference of the thereby transformed finite. Albion 'begins' as the Angel of the Presence, where all things are perceptually possible and turns from God. Each Chapter travels a different narrative continuum and each concludes with Albion in the arms of Jesus. Chapter 1, 2 and 3 conclude with Albion collapsed into eternal death/sleep, denying the Jesus in whose arms he lies. In Chapter 4, after another co-parallel multi-linear narrative of apocalyptic or visionary cleansing, Albion awakens in unity with Jesus. The End, claims Blake and rightly so. His multi-levelled narrative lives imaginatively in aesthetic unity as a narrative whole. Once properly understood in these terms and in this coherent causal logic, it is no longer critically reasonable to claim Blake is a non-linear 'exemplar' of post modern technological possibilities. His work is multi-linear and the difference is enormous.

Blake's Canaan is his symbolic birth passage that is just such a infolded and unfolded linear narrative continuum that becomes a historical present....Canaan is an formed order of events in finitude that infolds to become the womb and birth passage of the feminine energies from Jerusalem to Mary and to the incarnation of Divine principle unfolding as creative mercy as Jesus is crucified and then returns in Ulro. The birth, death and resurrection means the revelation of infinite life within finite life, and so rolls back all finitude from the centre/east in all directions simultaneously to the circumference.

This narrative is symbolised by the Harvest and Vintage in all three major prophecies. Once infinite energy is perceived by Los and Enitharmon in Night VIII the apocalypse MUST follow as infinite energy and perception must consume the lesser energies of serial generation... necessarily also, the three-fold sublimity of Golgonooza's architecture genius is consumed in Night IX, or in the four-fold unity with God we experience in Jerusalem Plates 94-100.

Can we have a non-linear dream? No we analogy neither can we have a non-linear literary work is philosophically impossible...we cannot have a dream that does not live in a theoretically totalisable seriality... philosophically, depth pyschology itself is meaningless if the dreaming or imaginative intelligence is merely random even in existential psychology (such as outlined in Binswanger's classic study)... Randomness is a misleading metaphor for Blake....ultimately nothing is random because every 'minute particular', as Blake symbolised finite and infinite materialities, is in emanative communion with all others, in different coalescent entities of a particular composite of space and a duration in time...thus Enitharmon weaves nature's forms from spiders to lambs...or Rahad, Tirzah and Vala's iron spindles, thread, molten rivers and self-predatory weaving in negation. It merely seems that randomness is intrinsic to Blake's symbolisation of time and space and so of human life times and life spans. Blake's narrative is multi-linear.

For Blake, we do live in metaphors that are sensory in origin and absolutely in union with the perceptual modes we name or experience or point toward as forms of energy and their morphology in entropy...or their changing composition as time is experienced, as a cell becomes foetus becomes child, adult ages and dies and is reduced to cells again... When Blake's prophetic art and poetry is totalised into its four levels of narrative linearity, apparent discontinuity is found to be simply a discourse engaged in one of the levels. In literary terms, there is always a multi-level linear narrative in four-fold connectedness... defined in Blake's work as the figure of Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, and, the symmetrical, infinitely dynamic unity with God in four-fold perceptual experience of four-fold space and four-fold time, as in the multi-linear last plates of Jerusalem, Plates 94-100.

Blake shows us that even as Albion 'dies' in the fixed limits of Ulro, Urizen is beaten and forged into the restricted forms of the five senses in the furnace of Los and Golgonooza is founded. Thus, Albion's interior energies are seen by Blake as energy/matter morphologies.... interactive and dynamic.... and Los is mutually transformed with Urizen though is never Urizen or any other zoa energy...Urthona, Los, the Spectre or Urthona/Los and Enitharmon are the elemental energy forms of prophetic truth and expression... and, likewise, all other component energies of the other three zoas and the three emanations are dynamically transformed on the four levels of narrative linearity in ways beyond the individual comprehension of each form.

Thus, in The Four Zoas, Orc does not comprehend Luvah and Luvah's Spectre, nor Tharmas understand the Spectre of Tharmas. In Blake's narrative linearity, the greater embraces the lesser but the lesser cannot envision the greater. Four-fold sees all within and without, three-fold envisions two-fold but not four-fold...twofold sees no three or four-fold vision but perceives one-fold is Newton's sleep and sees no other life or awakening.

We, the audience, are in a two-fold world...Blake's prophetic multi-linear narrative levels of vision sees, in three-fold vision, the contraction into two-fold desolation and ruin of the four zones of east/centre, west/circumference, north/nadir and south/zenith that is Albion's interior ruin. For example, it is a two-fold ruin that Urizen, his senses forged into two-fold perceptual reduction by Los, after God sets the two Limits. That is why Urizen blindly sees and experiences only two-fold vision in Night the Sixth.

Blake's narratives are multi- linear...the non-linear methodologies of current theories do not organise the events into four planes....for example the two Nights VII of The Four Zoas, in my reading, are in linear stereo-textual unity. This is NOT non-linear. It is multi-linear. Likewise the narrative in shown, in each of the four Chapters contracts to the centre, where Divine intervention turns the vortex inwards and outwards back to the circumference in linear transformational narrative. There are thus four such linear narratives, and the four are drawn into quadrophonic-textual multi-linear unity in the last Plates 94-100.

In summary for this days blog entry, the electronic extensions such as in Broglio's exciting pedagogy of MOO space, fail to transform perception simply because the electronic mediums of experimental forms of creative discourse loosely lump event change into a balloon called non-linearity. By contrast, The Four Zoas and Jerusalem are shown beyond reasonable doubt to be linear narratives...there are three books on this web site that demonstrate that literary fact. Simply because critics following Ault claim these epics are impenetrable, plotless, non-linear and subversive of linearity, textual stability and therefore offer no character stability, does not mean these conclusions are correct...or that incommensurable 'non-linearity' is therefore methodologically correct. It is not correct. It is where we start. We finish elsewhere. We finish in multi-linear inter-connected, consciously crafted mythic coherence. We find Blake's major prophecies to be quite different multi-linear masterpieces of story telling and dramatic spiritual adventure.

What is meant by the term non-linear? What is meant by the term 'beyond the linear narrative' when linearity is philosophically hypothesised, and, then, negated like some straw dummy to be replaced by disassociated continuums.

In critical fact, we have a multi-linear presentation of character variants, fragmentations or fractals, presented to us deficiently as non-linear. Blake's multi-linear narratives are vortical in their symbolic functions. Blake's narrative intends connectedness. It seems proven beyond reasonable critical doubt that Blake should be believed. Thus, speech by speech, and action (or event) following action or event, as they do in both his art and his poetry, are connected by conscious psychic association and by the creation and entering of possibilities of artictic perception by multi-linear symbolic discourses ...or simply put, how he communicates his multi-dimensional myth.

What is new about this non-linear claim? In Shakespeare's Heir the prescient enfolding of past, possible presents and encapsulated futures are always shattered into revelatory fragments of the events that do occur...hence the chaos of fragmentation of King Lear...all of which fractured and destabilised narratives become woven into a multi-linear narrative not a non-linear narrative. It would seem to me to be the methodology of multi-linear narrative and discourse analysis, like Lear's deconstructed sanity, allows for Blake's brilliant perceptual innovation.

Well...of course the problem lies in perception of the whole...of the body as a whole and of the emanative components of non-linear response therein that, warring in disunity and embryonic consciousness, separates materialisation of events and actions from a concept of the self as an entity... e.g. Urizen's dragon form is a materialisation of his two-fold incapacity of conceptualise an infinity outside serial time and the matter geometry of height, depth and width: thus Urizen claims to be 'God from eternity to eternity' or, for the duration of Ulro, and the 8500 years of circle of destiny drawn by feminine energy (Erin in Jerusalem)

In an owned identity of awareness....i.e. as a conscious creative entity he believes is in unity in Divine inspiration, Blake symbolises the whole of time and space as body...the body of Albion and his emanation Jerusalem...

For Blake, perceptions are continuums of energy and form, or continuums of time and space, that are woven by 'looms' and 'spindles' into living forms in nature such as birds, fish, animals or even as dragon forms and trees .... After Albion's collapse within, into 'death' or 'eternal sleep', his inner elements are gathered by the net of Vala...and finite generation is temporarily energised by her sacrifice of Luvah's mundane energies. Jesus descends into the vegetable form of the deficient exhausted and tortured body of Luvah, the crufuxion cuts Luvah's dead 'clothing' of body and Jesus' return from death is revealed in 'glory'.

It is essential we know that in Blake, Vala always gives the bodies while Jerusalem always gives the souls. To Blake then, the infinite energies of all living things are passed from Jerusalem into the finite, to Vala, who gives finite form (while wrongly believing she gives life as the Goddess of Nature). The cleansing of Vala and Luvah is symbolised by the vintage; and the 'wine' of finite error fills the cup of Rahab. Blake completes this symbol in the taking and disolution of the wine of distilled sorrow by Jerusalem. Urizen's error is consumed in the bread of ages.

In Blake's narrative everything is energy and form... either finite or infinite...and as energy is perceived so the perceiver is self-perceived ....for as perception is, so the energy relations within and without become material woven form in a vortex of interaction...for example, Blake symbolises the universe as a 'universal tent' that can be raised or lowered in the perceptional will of emanative energy as a theatre curtain. Thus, after the cleansing 'doors of perception' as so self-perception, Jesus allows Albion to enter infinite life in love in the unity of God. Divine revelation awakens Albion, cleansed by the vortex of apocalypse of the Limit Of Satan and the Limit of Adam, or, in other terms, cleansed of the eternal sleep of self-annhilation, mere sentience and finite-hood.

the narrative in Blake traces the linear process of these self-predating component energies in Albion's 'body'. The morphology of these component materialities gyrate in vortices of interacting dimensions of multi-linear form and energy folding in, out, and between four planes of discourse and four levels or quanta of information: namely, one-fold, two-fold, three-fold and four-fold.

I will be back to this...a critical system claimed to be non-linear in Blake's major prophecies fails entirely to reveals connectedness. It fails to establish the synchronic and diachronic folds that embraces the unity of the whole body of the work as, actually, multi-linear narration simply moves from one level of perception to another through the poetry of transition between these four levels of vision.

The one-fold, two-fold, three-fold and four-fold narrative linearities are quantum fields of information in Blake's conscious linear crafting.

I'll return to this...but read the three books on The Four Zoas, Jerusalem, and on Blake's dramatic narrative.