Ginsberg on Blake continues – 42 (Plato’s Cave)

Allen Ginsberg Naropa lecture  on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here

AG: (reading Blake) (…the Sons of Urizen With compasses) divide the deep, they the strong scales erect/’That Luvah rent from the faint Heart of the Fallen Man/And weigh the massy Cubes, then fix them in their awful stations/And all the time in Caverns shut, the golden Looms erected/First spun..” – (Mind – Caverns would be minds’ skulls, mind, skulls, (Plato’s cave, if you know that myth).  And I think the “Looms” are looms of generation, or meat-mortal generation, and I think there is some tradition of the loom in the cavern, the loom in the cave relating to Plato’s myth.  Does anybody know that?

Student(1):  I don’t know that.
AG:  Someone mentioned it.
Student (1):  (It’s a real well-known one,  isn’t it?_
AG:  Isn’t it?
Student (2): .. Images in the back..
AG:  Pardon me?
Student (2):  …images that are reflected on the wall…
AG:  Yes.
Student (2):  … back and forth.  And the people are chained, watching images, and eventually they form of language.  They develop a whole of science of interpreting them.

AG:  Yes, which is happening here, obviously. But I wanted the loom.  Is there an image of the loom in the Platonic myth?

Student (3):  In the Neo-Platonic myth, the Cave of the Nymphs, which Blake was affected by … but now I’ve forgotten…the importance of this, but it is like a death-and-rebirth system, and he did an illustration where, supposedly, it was his commentary on that whole thing…

AG:  Uh-huh.

Student (3):  … the  Circle of Life, the Circle of Destiny.  The loom is very important there.  It’s the spinner back into … (the) existence of dead souls or … and vice versa, sort of like a little….

AG:  I think later on we’ll get the Three Fates, who weave also. Later on in Blake here we’ll get the Three Fates – [Allen continues reading] – “… the golden Looms erected/ First spun, then wove the Atmospheres…” – (So, literally, begins weaving the air – creating air)- “… there the Spider & Worm/Plied the wingd shuttle piping shrill thro’ all the list’ning threads” – (That’s a great line!  I like that – “list’ning threads.”) – “…the Spider & Worm/Plied the wingd shuttle piping shrill thro’ all the list’ning threads”..

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-two-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty-four-and-a-half minutes in

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