Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell [Part 1: The Argument]

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Chymical Con-fusion

0.) The Necessity of Evil

With the recent discovery of the Gospel of Judas, the world is waking up to a new vision of its dialog with evil, namely, that without evil, good has no other, and to be without an other, like God, is to be unreal.

The argument is this: the betrayal of Christ was necessary to God's plan and so evil itself is part of God's plan. This is tough argument for most Christians to accept, but this world is a dialectic of God's war with the Devil; in fact this world is the breeding ground for that war being itself fought on the battle grounds of your soul.

You needn't believe in Gods or Devils to understand this dialectic of good and evil, in fact, the concretization (or realization) of God has suited the Devil's aims so well that many rational people have rejected the concept of God entirely even though it seems (to my mind) impossible to explain my own presence without such a beast.

Now, in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Blake is not advocating evil. Blake is pointing out that the Priest Class is in fact adorning the creative impulse in the properties of evil in order to rob men of their godhood, which is to say their capacity to become themselves creators. Blake understands that there is a God, and in fact, this God reveals Itself to each nation in a unique way which is passed down by their spiritual leaders, poets and prophets. So, to prophesy is to speak on behalf of God, and all nations have prophets whose prophesies are man's reception of his divine will. To freeze this process is to get stuck with one image which it is considered blasphemy to try to advance. In modern terms, this becomes an evolutionary dead end.

1.) We never lost the Language of Eden

In our fallen state, we cannot bring things into being like God himself, we can name, like Adam the things we see. This signifying process was robbed from humanity by the Priest Class which attempted to control the interpretive power of the human intellectual faculties not by literalizing the Bible itself, but by literalizing their own interpretation of the Bible. This is key because more often than not my work can be seen as a new form of fundamentalism, which is fine, but I take the words themselves literally, not my interpretation of the words, and so to draw this distinction is paramount, because Blakean literalism is a sort of fundamentalism which frees us from getting trapped inside one interpretation.

The new fundamentalism therefore will be an ontology of fundamentals (or principles, or propositions), which we must assume to be the literal truth in order to destroy the “abstracting” (or concretizing) power of the myth itself.

Blake wants us to partake in our own godhood by showing us that any symbol set is fine by God. Again, fundamentalists literalize the interpretation in order to prevent creative thinking.

2.)Didn't You Know, Clarice...

...That typoid and swans were created by the same God? (Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs)

Blake is going to shove this principle down our throat, firstly with The Tyger, and then again in the opening passage of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden'd air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep
Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow.
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.

Out of all of Blake's illuminated texts The Marriage is the easiest to get a feel for because it is not so "name based" as the other illuminated texts. I like to imagine Rintrah as a great beast forged in fire shaking off sparks like a wet dog. Again, to get caught in the name is a real problem to Blake which is why he writes the way he writes, and the reason why he's collected so many degenerate acolytes through time. But again the Judas-principle is echoed by "Roses are planted where thorns grow."

The rest of "The Argument" deals with the "voice who cries in the desert", the Serpent's argument against god, and the leaving behind of a comfortable path in order rage against the Rationalist Priests who are attempting rob men of their creative gifts.

It is important that we try to take Blake's words literally in order to understand what's wrong with taking word's literally, (and also what's right about).


  1. Rollie, I'd love to know what you mean by "why he's collected so many degenerate acolytes through time."
    Do you know many (any) acolytes?

  2. Myself, Ginsburg, RD Laing anyone who is anti-authoritarian

  3. Northrop Frye as well. Blake changes people's lives.