All Deities Reside in the Human Breast
“Isaiah answered. I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discovered the infinite in every thing, and I was then persuaded, and remain confirmed; that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for consequences but wrote.”
Luckily for the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, they got to sit down to a nice dinner with William Blake where he discovered that all parties involved were actually quite similar to each other. When I say similar, I mean that prophethood, to Blake, really means a life of divine poetry. That God is not an actual figure who appears on the mountain to speak to a chosen few, but an energy that fills the poet with all the proof he needs to know that they themselves are a part of this God and poetry in effect, thus becomes a form of religion (the best one I would say).
“Then I asked: does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so? He replied. All poets believe that it does… we of Israel taught that the Poetic Genius (as you now call it) was the first principle and all the others merely derivative.”
The Poetic Genius is a way of thinking that transcends reason. Similarly to how faith operates in the religious world, the Poetic Genius is a catalyst for the expression of holy art. The Poetic Genius holds within himself a truth that does not operate in the way scientific truth does. Although Blake says that he has seen angels, I think these experiences probably occurred in a time when Blake was manic with the love of God which in reality is the happiness one feels when they successfully see themselves in the great timeline of life and when they begin to understand that although we may be small parts of a big machine, the big machine is sublime, and the organical perception is what tells us so. The persuasion for poets is a genuine understanding that what we create is what we are, and thus everything that becomes verse is simply a metaphor for not only God but also a metaphor for how we ourselves are an extension of God and not apart from.
It really does get tricky when writing about God, because God is different for everyone. When I say that Blake is a sort of modern day prophet-poet I mean that he wrote with the firm persuasion that what he was writing was moving him closer and closer to a divine image that would reflect within himself and then move out to the page where it could reflect within it’s readers. God resides in the human breast and the eye sees more than the heart knows because while the heart may know that we are a part of the infinite the eye sees the infinite unfiltered. And while the heart must still act based on reason since the body knows not of the soul, the eye captures the infinite and filters the divine spectrum.
I’m sure I haven’t been completely clear so it would be awesome to hear what you guys think. Do you really buy into the idea that the bible is basically a huge collection of poetry inspired by what Blake seems to name simply as energy? And if so, what does Jesus become? Why do we need a Messiah figure? How does metaphor and personification fit into Blake’s critique of religion? And finally, was Blake insane or tapping into a truth that shatters all semblance of reason?