Ginsberg on Blake continues – 5

Allen Ginsberg’s notes on William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” continue from here

AG: “The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, & breeds reptiles of the mind.”  So, it breeds reptiles in the mind, standing water – A man who never alters his mind.  And there is an interesting commentary – “Blake stands his ground….” says Erdman. “(H)e does not allow himself to be imposed upon by the Angel’s “metaphysics,” he finds that he ends up, not in the belly of a monster, but sitting peacefully “on a pleasant bank by a river by moonlight hearing a harper who sung to his harp….”

Then Blake climbs up and seeks for the mill, “& there I found my Angel, who surprised asked me, how I escaped?” – ( How did you get out of that monster? ) – “I answer’d. All that we saw was owing to your metaphysics: for when you ran away, I found myself on a bank by moonlight hearing a harper, But now we have seen my eternal lot, shall I shew you yours? he laugh’d at my proposal; but I by force suddenly caught him in my arms, & flew westerly thro’ the night, till we were elevated above the earths shadow: then I flung myself with him directly into the body of the sun, here I clothed myself in white, & taking in my hand Swedenborgs volumes…” – (Somewhat as a”spiritual Baedeker, according to Foster Damon. For his further exploration he needed Swedenborg’s volumes as guidebooks) –  “…sunk from the glorious clime, and passed all the planets till we came to saturn, …” – (which, for Copernicus, incidentally, was the outermost planet) – “… here I staid to rest & then leap’d into the void, between saturn & the fixed stars. Here said I! is your lot, in this space, if space it may be call’d, Soon we saw the stable and the church, & I took him to the altar and open’d the Bible, and lo! it was a deep pit, into which I descended driving the Angel before me..” – (So this is Hell as a solidified permanent war.  Well, the solidification of his Hell is here, in the Bible.

And, “… soon we saw seven houses of brick.” –  (Those would be the seven churches of the established religions, or the seven established religions, or the seven churches of the Christians) – “…one we enter’d, in it were a number of monkeys, baboons, & all of that species chaind by the middle, grinning and snatching at one another, but witheld by the shortness of their chains: however I saw that they sometimes grew numerous, and then the weak were caught by the strong and with a grinning aspect, first coupled with & then devour’d…” – (“coupled with and then devoured”,  we’ll see next in the Visions of the Daughters of Albion , when Bromion, the sort of slave-holding, macho, domineering ape, rapes old what’s-her-name?

Students: Oothoon.

AG: Oothoon, whatever her name is.   So this is the solidified Hell – Hell which is a solidified permanent war between the devourers and the producers, if you want to interpret the kissing and then devouring them.  First coupled with, and then devoured.      So that’s like you buy a slave and you fuck her and then you eat her up, send her out to the cotton fields.

“… by plucking off first one limb and then another till the body was left a helpless trunk. this after grinning & kissing it with seeming fondness they devour’d too; and here & there I saw on savourily picking the flesh off of his own tail, as the stench terribly annoy’d us both we went back into the…” – (rational mind., into the) mill, & I in my hand brought…” – (back from this netherworld) – “… the skeleton of a body, which…” – (when I looked at it, back in my rational mind, turned out to be..) “…Aristotles Analytics” – (i.e. a thing is either “A” or “not-A”;. a thing is either “heaven” or “hell”, it’s either “God” or “not-God”.)  The Aristotelian analytic reasoning, the…

Student: Categorical.

AG:  … categorical reasoning, where you only have two choices – that a thing would either have to be … Chogyam Trungpa has to be either a total monster Buddhist fascist, or else he has to be a total divine guru. And then you got to worry about whether it’s that pole or that pole.  And then you get into an anxiety state and then you see a Leviathan with a purple forehead.  So that’s the analytic.  In other words, see, the “skeleton” was a phantom, to begin with.  The whole skeleton, all of them, were phantoms.  They are just thoughts, (in this case, Aristotle’s Analytics), which is to say, according to (Geoffrey) Keynes, the skeleton he brought back, or the body he brought back which turned out to be a skeleton, was just, simply, materialist logic.

“So the angel said: thy phantasy has imposed upon me & thou oughtest to be ashamed. I answerd – we impose on one another, & it is but lost time to converse with you whose works are only Analytics”

Then he ends – “Opposition is true Friendship” – (Well, that’s pretty good, I thought).

“The Angel is quite surprised to find that Blake has ‘escaped’ alive.  But it is only to the stagnant mind,” according to Erdman, “that the energy of revolution appears reptilian and sympathy with rebellion a career leading to a “hot burning dungeon … to all eternity.”

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-three-and-three-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty-and-a-quarter minutes in.  

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