The Four Zoas – Ginsberg on Blake continues – 2

Allen Ginsberg lecturing on William Blake (The Four Zoas) continues from here

AG:  So we’re in the middle of things on page nine.  Having copulated with the Spectre of the body, Enion now gives birth to the Spectre of Creative Imagination, called Los in this book, and the Spectre of the Spiritual Beauty.  That would be the mate of Creative Imagination, Enitharmon.  So that’s why it says here, on page eight, Enion had given birth to the boy and girl, “they sulk(ed) upon her breast”, then, on page nine, “they wander’d far away she sought for them in vain.”  Those are the lines we were analyzing.

“(Ingrate) they wander’d scorning her, drawing her Spectrous Life/Repelling her away & away by a dread repulsive power’ – Then we get … yeah?

Student:  Excuse me, please.  I didn’t know Los and Enitharmon were Spectres.  I thought they had Spectres of their own.  Do Spectres have Spectres?

AG:  They have become Spectres.  Yeah.  They have become, in this form, when the Spectre of Tharmas…  When Tharmas was separated from his Emanation he becomes a Spectre.  Then, he fucked his Emanation – Enion.  In that condition she gave birth to Los and Enitharmon.  And (in) this aspect, they are Spectral.  Under these circumstances they are Spectral.  Because, remember, he’s just working out his system, he hasn’t got a whole (system), he hasn’t got it all put together.  So actually it’s sort of ambiguous, so the meaning of this particular passage is that.  Then Los and Enitharmon will go through a lot of adventures and finally get together and be reunited as one, later on.

Student:  That helps a lot.  Just one more thing.  What’s the natural position of an Emanation?  Is it that it’s joined to one life?

AG:  Yes.  It’s joined in one body to the original.  Let me see. We could check that out with “Emanation” if you want.  Check out “Emanation” (in A Blake Dictionary)

Student:  Isn’t Los described here as Urthona?

AG:  Well, in this passage, yes.  It’s not quite a Spectre of Urthona.  It’s a manifestation of Urthona.  (It’s) physical, the manifestation of Urthona in this book.

Student:  In time and space.

AG:  Urthona … yeah.  Urthona is sort of the imagination pristine in Eden, so he doesn’t have, really, a material form, but since there has been a Fall – Tharmas has had a fall and we’re in a vegetating world, a material vegetating world, according to Blake’s system.  Let’s see.  What was the question?  Yeah, therefore Urthona, the Spiritual Imagination, which is perfect and complete, has to manifest in some gross form.  It manifests in the form of “loss”  –  you lost it.  So, creative Poetic Imagination there is called Los – “L-O-S”.  And he’s got to make up, by imagining his way back to Eden… he’s got to create the forms – the Satanic and materialistic forms – he’s got to create them so you can see them and handle them and see their errors.  He’s got to define them, he’s got to give Urizen a form, (like in The Book of Los  he put the sun on Urizen’s spine).  He’s got to define everything, he’s got to clarify everything, he’s got to imagine a world, so to speak.  He’s got to imagine-up the whole world.  Give it a definite, fixed form, so you can look at it and see what problems it has and see where the error lies and how it don’t work, before reuniting it.  He’s got to create wars, even, in order for the conflicts to resolve themselves and the gross dross aspects to be knocked off,  to knock each other off. In a sense he’s got to create karma so that you can work through the whole scene of the circle of destiny.

So he’s Los.  So in a sense he’s a Spectre, but basically he’s just sort of the material working active principle that manifests from the imagination in a human form with some kind of worldly attributes like the hammer and the blacksmith’s forge and the anvil and the chains.  So he’s like a concrete way of looking at the imagination as creating things.

Now in this case he’s born when Tharmas is separated from Enion when there’s a Fall.  After the Fall he’s born of the copulation of the material body and its desire.  So the material body, the physical human body, has its desire, which it’s separated from.  So there’s two things.  There’s polarization already –  incompletion and polarization already.  So, in order to complete it, in order to reunite it (and) put it back in Eden, there has to be some active agent to bring the whole thing together, to figure out what was wrong.  So.. therefore, Tharmas, the body, fucks his desire, and gives birth to Los, the Poetic Imagination, the Creative Imagination, which has now got to work out the whole problem.  And the Creative Imagination is also separated from his Emanation, Enitharmon – Spiritual Beauty  (because once they have (taken) material form then they all got separated out anyway, I guess).

So at the beginning, where we are now, in an amazing way, Los and Enitharmon are rejecting their momma, Enion – drawing out her Spectrous (Life) –  growing up on the Spectrous Milk, let us say.

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-seven minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-three minutes in

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