Ginsberg on Blake continues – 48

Johannes Kepler’s illustration to explain his discovery of the elliptical orbit of Mars, 1609. – from Astronomia Motibus Stellae Martis

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake, specifically The Four Zoas,  continues from here

“For when Luvah sunk down himself put on the robes of blood/Lest the state calld Luvah should cease. & the Divine Vision/Walked in robes of blood till he who slept should awake”

Student:  … the faced being that we all can….

AG:  Uh-huh.  Well, this is the first time that we have that terminology I think, isn’t it?  The “state called Luvah” – “Lest the state calld Luvah should cease.”  That’ll develop later on in Milton and in  Jerusalem   and I think he has a long, long passionate cadenza about states.  That hell is not a place but a state.  Heaven is not a place but a state.  And so all of these states have a simultaneous existence.

Student:  There’s another point to it, too.  It’s the mechanism for separating the individual identity from the state that the individual’s in.  It’s very important for his idea that we forgive each other.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  Because you forgive someone because they’re in that state.
AG:  Right.
Student:  Their individuality is separate from it.  And he begs you to distinctly learn to know the difference between the individual and the state that individual is in.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  And to remember the individual from the state.
AG:  Okay, so therefore you could say this person is in “a state of homosexuality”.
Student:  Right.
AG:  Rather than this person is homosexual.
Student:  Right.
AG:  Or this is in “a state of anger”, rather than the nature of this person is permanent, solid, eternal anger.  Or you’re in “a state of love”.  It’s like love is a state.  (It’s very similar, actually, to recognition that love is a state, rather than some ultimate thing that’s permanently part of your ultimate nature, actually).

Student:   (It’s like) the objective and the subjective and indicative tenses in Spanish.  It just reminds me that, like, the subjective is a temporary condition, whereas in the indicative it’s, like, a permanent condition.  Nature, as opposed to a temporary state.

AG:  So this would be the state.  So Ulro would be a state, Ahania would be a state, Enion would be a state.  Any of the Zoas, when out of whack – out of balance –  any condition or any world that they created would be a state ,rather than a permanent, fixed boundary to our spirit.

Student:  The simplest place where you could see this working in a simple poetics is the epilogue to the “Gates of Paradise” –  that little emblems there he did.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  He talks about knowing the difference between the garment and the man. ( “He meets his Saviour in the grave/ Some find a female garment there,/ And some a male, woven with care...”)
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  The garment, then, represents “the state”.  And it’s interesting that, when he brings up this idea of state, he associates it with this idea that Jesus takes on the garment of…. Luvah‘s robes and Luvah’s blood, of a man, of the state of man, of being human.  You know, for a purpose. But his nature, his being, is separate from that.

AG:  So “the Divine Vision walked in robes of blood” –  (Albion, presumably, or the Whole Man?)
Student:  Jesus, here.
AG:  Jesus.
Student:  Or, yeah..
AG:  But he still hasn’t worked out what’s the relation between Jesus and Albion.
Student:  Not yet.

AG:  That’s still to come.  So the Edenic Vision, or the Divine Vision, of necessity took on the state of Luvah, subjected to Enion‘s betrayal, and Urizen‘s mundane formulation of blood, till Albion awake.  And that’s the state of Luvah.  The state called Luvah at the moment.

Student:  It seems like here he’s saying … he’s equating Jesus and Divine Vision.
AG:  Yeah.
Student: an aspect or a condition of Albion, himself.  Differentiating them, though…
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  ..because Albion is asleep, but even in his sleep he has this thing, this wholeness, which takes the form here of Jesus. Jesus does things like this and does all this stuff.   So that Albion will get a chance to get back together and awake in his knowledge of himself.

AG:  So, subordinate to reason, we have, as in “plowing the channels” before – “the molten metal ran in channels/Cut by the plow of ages” – the next passage – “Travelling in silent majesty along their orderd ways/In right lined paths outmeasured by proportions of number weight/ And measure. mathematic motion wondrous. along the deep/In fiery pyramid. or Cube. or unornamented pillar/ Of fire far shining. travelling along even to its destind end..” – (That’s sort of like the particular channels of Urizen that this energy has now flown — into which this energy has flown)

We begin to get a totally rationalistic creation, on top of page three-sixteen – ” Acute Scalene, in simple paths. but others move/In intricate ways biquadrate. Trapeziums Rhombs Rhomboids/ Paralallograms. triple & quadruple, polygonic/In their amazing hard subdued course in the vast deep…” – (That’s pretty funny.  It’s really just his conception of geometrical solid geometry I suppose that would be).

Student:  (I seem to see) this famous picture, I don’t know if  (Johannes) Kepler did it or it was done from his work, where they thought that the distances of the planets from the sun were going to be in proportion or somehow determined by the… by the regular …
Student (2):  Polygons – right.
Student:  … polygons.  So you had the square and the cube and the tetrahedron and dodecahedron and so on and all concentric around the sun.  I’m sure that that’s the….
AG:  Um-hmm.
Student (2):  He’s making fun of that, yeah.

AG:  Well, the thing I was digging was I was realizing how funny his view of all these geometries were, because they’re sort of little television Muppets figures, or little artificial puppets, or little mental formations in the vast deep.  All these little things that are Trapeziums and Rhombs and Rhomboids.  It’s sort of a little bit like the characters in the earlier play “An Island in the Moon”  – sort of little stereotypes, little funny stereotypes, signifying themselves and themselves only.  Little stereotypes signifying their own hard-edged comical self-hoods and the idea of the universe –  the vast deep –  being reduced to these little self-magnetical hoods.  And his rhetoric is actually kind of sweet and playful.

Student:  Yeah.  It’s wonderful.  He begins – “Travelling in silent majesty along their orderd ways…”…
AG:  Yes.
Student:  … and then pretty soon you get tangled up in all these rhomboids and (trapeziums and…)
AG:  Yes.  That’s a funny passage.

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here , beginning at approximately eighty-seven-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately ninety-five-and-a-quarter minutes in  

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