Ginsberg on Blake continues – 91

William Blake – “The Day of Judgment” (1805) for Robert Blair’s The Grave (a precursor to Blake’s lost work, “A Vision of The Last Judgment” (1808)

Allen Ginsberg in 1979 at Naropa on William Blake’s The Four Zoas  continues from here

AG:   Okay, so the result was that ” … Limit/ Was put to Eternal Death” – (Form is given that it may be recognized and cast out.  That formulation is (S) Foster Damon‘s.  Limit is given so that error finds form, form is necessary so that error can be seen, recognized, made palpable, and then cast out.  Same thing as if you want to know Satan, find out his system).

Student:  You can find Blake making that statement in those words if you read …
AG:  Over and over.
Student:  … his thing on the Last Judgment.
AG:  Uh-huh.  Can you get that?
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  Is that easy to find?  If it takes a lot of time….
Student:  Go ahead.  I’ll….

AG:  Well, I think, I’m quoting, I guess Damon took it from that “Last Judgment”.
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  Form given that error may be recognized and cast out.  So “Limit/Was put to Eternal Death.”

And this is a major insight in Blake and it’s a major statement and I’ve always found it one of the most usable insights I’ve ever gotten out of Blake, because I’ve applied it in a lot of different ways, like whenever I get into a paranoiac situation, say with (Chogyam) Trungpa, or the Buddhist Buddhadharma scene, or the guru scene, or with love relationships, or with friendship relationships, or with my parents – whenever there’s that paranoia it is generally (because) of some opaque misunderstanding and mis-comprehension of mutual communication, and so if I expose my paranoia, lay it out, it dissolves and evaporates.  In other words, if I give a form to my paranoia by vocalizing it and saying, “Are you trying to kill me?”  Then the guy will say, “No, didn’t you see … Look closer.  This is a toy pistol filled with candy.”  In other words, if you have a suspicion and lay out that paranoic suspicion then you can test it out and find out if it’s real or not real.  But if you harbor it in your breast or your mind and don’t express it but act on it, it further complicates the situation, because you’re acting as if the guy’s going to kill you, but he doesn’t know you think he’s going to kill you.  And he may not be intending that at all, he may be intending to give you a ride down the road, or something.

Student:  Like “A Poison Tree”.

AG:  Exactly, yeah.  “I told my wrath, my wrath did end.” – “I was angry with my friend;/I told my wrath, my wrath did end/I was angry with my foe:/I told it not, my wrath did grow”

Student:  Is that the same?
AG:  Pardon me?
Student:  Is that the same, basically?

AG:  Well, it’s a psychological application of the same principle, that if you give a form to error, or paranoia. or imagination, or Urizen, if you actually make it visible, make it palpable, then you can recognize whether it’s a phantom or has some reality to it, actually.  If you give it a form.  As, say, with the (W.S.) Merwin incident here in school:  To the extent that it’s undiscussed and invisible but in the subconscious it becomes more and more paranoic (and) menacing,  whereas when it’s discussed and brought out in the open it seems to dissolve like the classic image in Hinduism of the snake and the rope  (Rajjusarpa Nyaya).  You look into a barrel and you see a snake and you run screaming away, and then your friend comes along and looks in and says, “Oh, it’s only a rope”.  You actually saw a snake though, (or) misunderstood it and thought it was a snake and acted on it. Maybe set fire to the barrel or something, and all your neighbors wondered, “Why are you burning that empty barrel?” “There’s a snake it in it”, you insist.  And they carry you off to the bughouse after a while if you do that enough times.

Student:  This seems to explain a line that we passed over before that (in The Book of Urizen) truth has limits, error none.  I can’t find it.
AG:  The truth has limits, error none?
Student:   “Truth has bounds, error none”
AG:  Yeah, that’s putting it inside out in a way, because here he’s saying, Error has limits, truth none; or we were concluding …
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  … but either way.  (You) can take it either way.  It’s usable either way.

So, the psychological lesson I get out of it is, Always test out your sense of reality.  Like in the most simple form, if you want to make out with somebody, ask them, instead of letting it dwell unspoken (because) if you really want to make out, that way you can find out.  You can set limits to your error.  Like being rejected by somebody that you want to make it with, you can set limits to your error by being rejected.  Then you don’t have to worry about it any more, it’s all over, (and) you go on to the next occasion.  But if you never speak, if you never seek to tell your love thinking that it’s love that never told can be, then you might wind up dwelling and clinging to it for years and years till you’re an old wrinkled crone and it’ll be too late.

So    ” … he found the Limit of Opacity & namd it Satan/ In Albions bosom for in every human bosom these limits stand” – (which is terrific.  It’s like good news, glad news –  “in every human bosom these limits stand”.  In other words, (if) you get too self-destructive, you kill yourself and that’s the limit, that’s the end.  There’s no more.  There’s a limit to the self-destructiveness).

“And next he found the Limit of Contraction & namd it Adam.” – (So..but.. the suggestion here is that we are the limit of contraction, in the sense of all the infinite spirit of the universe, or the infinite intelligence, or the infinite open space awareness, to the extent that there is some error and contraction and mystery and ignorance, (then) we are the limit.  With an explosion of our eyeballs and senses, space would be unlimited).   Yes?

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirteen-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately nineteen-and-a-half minutes in.

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