AG: Where we left off was on Blake’s twelfth page, (on) page three-oh-two of Erdman’s The Poetry and Prose of William Blake . And he’d introduced eternity – “Eternity groand & was troubled at the Image of Eternal Death” – So there was a problem – What is eternity here? And, actually, what, in the long run, in the whole epic here, (as well as (in) Blake’s philosophy), what’s the saving grace, or what’s the final god, or what’s the reference point, or what’s the absolute, or what’s the eternal, or who’s going to resolve all the conflict of the four Zoas fighting among each other? the temperaments in man fighting among each other, humours fighting, or basic intelligence fighting, against emotion, fighting against imagination, fighting against the body. Each one seizing power.
So how’s it all going to get together, and who’s going to have the awareness, or the intelligence, or the power, to put it together?, which is pretty much the same problem that anybody has in their own personal consciousness – What element of our own awareness is trustworthy and what element has that saving grace? What do you turn to, finally, when you..? Do you get angry, or do you get excessively insistent on keeping things in order, or get too drunk-sloppy, or overcome with obsessional desire, or freaked-out into apocalyptic imaginations? Where do you turn, finally?
Well, he’s got one concept so far here – “Eternity groand.” So, according to Damon, and as according to common sense, eternity in this context would be some sort of truth or final awareness. The vision is that, according to Damon, that error is created and Blake says truth is eternal. Error or creation will be burned up and then, and not till then, truth or eternity will appear.
Damon’s essay on it says (in part), “Eternity lies behind Nature also. Nature is a projection of Man, all its Forms are human. The rising constellations, the dancing flies, the mountain trees, the thunderstorms these are “the Sons of Los” – These (are) the Visions of Eternity, but we see only as it were the hem of their garments when with our vegetable eyes we view these wondrous Visions.””
And then there was the other angle that what we see outside is dependent on the eyeballs – “The Visions of Eternity, be reason of narrowed perceptions, are become weak Visions of Time & Space.”
So it’s really actually kind of undefined, except for as with the notion of the eye. The eye has been narrowed to the eyeball, or seeing has been narrowed to the eyeball, whereas there is the possibility that vision or seeing might be taking place all over the Albionic body. And if that’s a difficult concept, Damon points out that you feel all over the body, so why not have vision all over the body? And the way into understanding that would be checking out imagination, or the mind’s eye sees everywhere, or the mind’s eye penetrates everywhere, or takes place everywhere. Whereas the physical eye takes place in the space in front of you. Or maybe creates the space in front of you. So the space in front of us may be false, narrowed down. He says, by reason of narrow perceptions, weak visions of time and space.
The other relevant things to eternity relate to what we were talking about, the masculine and feminine – the Emanations. Where do the Emanations come from and where would they go back to if we were in a state of Eden, or eternal state?
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at the beginning of the tape and concluding at approximately four-and-three-quarter minutes in