Willie B. spills it

Got no time for a real post today/tonight/whenever-I-am. So, instead I thought I’d just do one of those lazy things blog people do where they post quotes from other people who are better writers. But I’m doing it with someone really obscure: William Blake! I bet you don’t know who he is!

You’ll be able to impress all the ladies (or gentlemen too, I guess, but most guys are animals with strong desires, weak wills, and no ability to gauge character so it doesn’t matter what you say to them at social gatherings, ahaha!) with these quotes!

From The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Quote #1: Voice of the Devil (Plate 4)

All Bibles or sacred codes, have been the causes of the following Errors.

1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
2. That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following Contraries to these are True.

1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
3. Energy is Eternal Delight.

Quote #2: A Memorable Fancy (6 & 7) — this way this one opens is just too good! Too good I say!

As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity, I collected some of their Proverbs; thinking that as the sayings used in a nation, mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell, shew the nature in Infernal wisdom better than any description of buildings or garments,

When I came home: on the abyss of the five senses, where a flat sided steep frowns over the present world, I saw a mighty Devil folded in black clouds, hovering on the sides of the rock, with corroding fires he wrote the following sentence now percieved by the minds of men, & read by them on earth.

How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?

Quote #3: A Memorable Fancy (12 & 13)

The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert, that God spoke to them; and whether they did not think at the time, that they would be misunderstood, & so be the cause of imposition.

Isaiah answer’d, I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discover’d the infinite in every thing, and as I was then perswaded, & remain confirm’d; that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for consequences but wrote.

Then I asked: does a firm perswasion that a thing is so, make it so?

He replied, All poets know that it does, & in ages of imagination this firm perswasion removed mountains; but many are not capable of a firm perswasion of any thing.

That’s enough for now. Go get a copy or find it online, kids. Incidentally, you should look up Swedenborg before/after reading this. He was a Swedish theologian mystic (like Blake but minus the crazy wisdom) who was the subject of much of Blake’s criticisms during this work.

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9 Responses to “Willie B. spills it”

  1. Blake is on my internal list of people I must fully explore but haven’t gotten around to yet (the list is long). This may have upped his place in the queue.

  2. parallelsidewalk Says:

    I’m a huge Blake fan. Did you see Dead Man, by any chance?

  3. No, I didn’t. I’m guessing the use of his name as a character is supposed to indicate the messages about America (a country Blake was not a fan of) in the film?

  4. I’m in the same boat as Ben. I think I’ve got some WB kicking around somewhere…But a few questions:

    “…most guys are animals with strong desires, weak wills, and no ability to gauge character so it doesn’t matter what you say to them at social gatherings…”

    Granted. But are most women really any better? Meh.

    Also, re: Swedenborg–wasn’t he more like Blake but minus the crazy wisdom?

  5. But are most women really any better?

    I don’t think women are purely driven by desire the way men are. Man’s desire grows and builds in a way that a woman’s (typically) does not. Most men are weak of will, but almost all men have strong desire. That is, almost all men will be attracted to women because desire, being a fundamental tenet of samsaric existence, will propel them. However, it requires willpower to defeat that desire or learn to control it.

    Man (male) is the pure manifestation of energy and desire and woman is the pure reason for desire. That’s why men are naturally brutish and ugly and rugged — desire is blind and ugly. Not that it’s bad or anything. It’s what drives us.

    I’ve talked about this before and I thought dropping it casually like that made the post even crazier — in theme for the William Blake quotes, hee hee.

    I don’t know what your other question is, however. I meant to say that Swedenborg was like Blake but from a more dogmatic and possibly academic or “scientific” angle. But he did have the same kind of experiences, walking through heaven and hell and conversing with the angels, all of which influenced his writing. Or are you saying that you think Swedenborg was a poseur without insight?

  6. cirellio Says:

    hah~ I wouldn’t have remembered who William Blake was if it wasn’t for watching Dead Man a couple months ago.
    You should definitely check it out – lots of direct quotes and references to his writings in the film.

  7. Nah, “poseur” is too much. I was just saying that I think I prefer Blake to Swedenborg. Apologies to any Swedenborgeans out there…

  8. Apologies accepted/

  9. Well, there actually are still a few Swedenborgean churches around, but I sorta doubt you’re a member of one, Ben :)

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