Proverbs from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell – 15

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AG: Plate 14 – oh, one great line here – and, talking about the apocalypse and the expansion into the universe – “The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true…(the ancient tradition that said this is true) “ I have heard from hell”- (the Imagination, or inspiration, or poetic notion or poetic expansion) – “For the cherub with the flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at the tree of life, and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed:.. (uh-oh!) -, “and appear infinite and holy, whereas it now appears finite and corrupt.” – (So it’s a very sort of reverse-twist there where, alchemically, he has taken the worst, (i.e. nuclear apocalypse), and transformed it into the best, (total enlightenment), or taken ultimate pain and death and transformed it into enlightenment. And he says, “This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.” (which is a funny line, funny, actually, it’s sort of like a 1960’s Flower Power“, you know, as the answer to the nuclear doom – “This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.” And then he discusses his method of printing “But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul is to be expunged – this I shall do, by printing in the infernal method of corrosives..” (acid – sic..- that’s funny, that’s funny, that’s a sort of a logo-comical footnote!) – logocomocy? logcomical – log-om-ocy – just making a word, word nonsense, logomocy, making up words, (so the adjective would be logo magic? logomagic footnote} “..which in hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid” .printing in the infernal method of corrosives, which in hell.. (which is to say, satire here) – which in hell are salutary and medicinal” – (poisons taking poison and transforming it, taking acid and transforming it, taking poisons and transforming it into nectar) – “which in hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid” – (Well, that would be the etching process he was talking about) Then, the great line that everybody noticed from 1945 on, when quoted by Aldous Huxley as title of his book on altering the modalities of consciousness by altering the senses themselves by chemicals, The Doors of Perception – “If the doors of perception were cleansed…” – (the five doors sight, sound smell, taste touch). There’s the perception that the “doors” would be the organs of perception .”If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through the narrow chinks of his cavern” ( and that, as I said last time, goes back to Plato’s cave, that cavern, or the beginning of “Europe”, you remember – five senses light the cavern’d Man”. (“Five windows light the cavern’d Man’) – Man is… The human form is a cavern. The human form without the Imagination is being a cavern.

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AG: Then Plate 16, let’s see. Hitherto we may have been dealing with the Fall, “choosing forms of worship from poetic tales”, the myth of the Fall – beginning with “A Memorable Fancy” and the printing-house, you’re,maybe talking about the origins of the Gods again – “The Giants who formed this world into its sensual existence.” – ( The Giantsare our senses, some people say. This is parallel to a famous Rousseau line, which was later echoed by Marx – “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains” – “The Giants who formed this world into its sensual existence.andnow seem to live it in chains” – (So he thought calling our sensual existence, our organs, “chains”.) “All our truths are the sources of life and the sources of its activity but the chains are the cunning of the tamed minds..” (tamed by Reason) which have power to resist energy according to the Proverb – “The weak encourage the strong and cunning”. Thus one portion of being with the prolific…” (which would be energetic? fire? infinite, unbounded?, theother. the devouring, that would be the boundary. or the outline, of the prolific. You could have that as the slave and the capitalist slave-holder. You could have that interpreted as the producers and the consumers, the laborer and the consumer of his industrial…value, the value created (if you want to talk of it in Marxian terms). There’s one portion of the being in the prolific, the other in the devouring -“The two classes of men are always upon earthand they should be enemies, whoever tries to reconcile them seeks to destroy existence (that is to say, you could interpret that as being Lafayette, (remember” Fayette, Fayette, thou art bought and sold/And sold is thy happy morrow/ Thou gavest the tears of pity away/ In exchange for the tears of sorrow” – So the actual class war, the actual conflict that was necessary to defeat…. the excess of fury and blood and murder which was necessary to define the revolution in the state, the going overboard. Even Blake said, still he was young enough to think that you’ve got to do that, you have to have that. “Enough! or Too much!”, or “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” so therefore to reconcile the……

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately eighty-eight-and-three-quarterminutes in and concluding at the end of the tape

more Ginsberg on Blake to follow

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