God isn't up there, you know! Sitting in judgment, as it were, on a cloud with a long white beard, inventing awful rules so people feel guilty all the time, and so on and so on. That's somebody else, entirely. God is within. It's man who is without; Cosmic Man. Now if you don't understand that, don't worry, you're in good company, besides, you'll get the point eventually; I mean by the time your dead, when your spirit will become so agile that you'll find that you can leap from star to star in a single stride.
Oh there are of course people who would dispute that: mathematicians, philosophers, engineers, like Archwright, scientists, like Newton. Isaac, bloody, Newton. He's a most perfect symbol of that oppressive and ruthless spirit, which is the governing force in our society, and an embodiment of that cosmic spirit, who holds our world in duress subjugation, and who with terrible laws oppresses us all, and sticks us down, and makes us know our bloody place.
Many people worship this horrible abomination and call it God; a good god and just one. They're wrong of course, for if this good god were in fact just, as they suppose, the world he created would be just too. The world isn't just. Society isn't just. Far from it!
I'm not usually so emotional, so volatile. I mean people usually get the impression I'm a steady sort of fellow with a mystical turn of mind and an actually discernable hallow. I'm often rather sorry to disappoint them. Of course what such people don't take into account is that our identities are never constant; we're changing all the time from the cradle to the grave.
When people are young they want to overthrow what's gone before, but when they're old they want to confine everything with laws, to bind and snare and trap. Their inner conservatism creates an political conservatism, which in turn creates the iron authoritarism of our present society and the stifling, choking unfairness of it all.
I've personified this force and given it a human form, his name is Urizon. He's the old man with the long white beard I was telling you about before. Who then can destroy him? Is there anyone? Anyone at all? The question's not rhetorical, for I have also conceived another figure in everlasting opposition to the former, youthful, fiery, sparks flying from his flaming red hair. Ork, the demon of ungovernablness. The spirit of revolution.
I see it as an everlasting struggle between two contradicting spirits; a struggle between the state and those who would destroy the state, which neither side can ever really win.
Alright! look at it this way; imagine a desert, a red sun in a slate grey sky. Two figures locked in combat, their feet kicking up clouds of dust. One of the figures is old, he has a long white beard, and tearing at his throat is a boy, sparks flying from his flaming hair. Sometimes the man has the upper-hand, sometimes the boy, but neither can ever triumph over the other.
Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason upsurps its place & governs the unwilling. And being restrained, it by degrees becomes passive, till it is only the shadow of desire. The history of this is written in Paradise Lost, and the governor or reason is called Messiah.
The original Achangel, or possessor of the command of the heavenly host, is called the Devil or Satan, and his children are called Sin & Death. It, indeed, apeared to reason as if desire were cast out; but the Devil's account is, that the Messiah fell, and formed a heaven of what he stole from the Abyss.
I alone, even I, the winds merciless bound:
but condensing, in torrents they fall and fall;
strong I repelled the vast waves, and arose on the waters
a wide world of solid obstruction.
Forgetfulness, dumbness, necessity!
In the chains of the mind locked up,
Like fetters of ice shrinking together disorganized,
Rent from Eternity.. the immortal endured his chains,
Though bound in a deadly sleep.
All the myriads of Eternity.
All the wisdom and joy of life,
Roll like a sea around him.
Except what his little orbs
Of sight by degrees unfold.
And now his eternal life
Like a dream was obliterated.
Children of the future age
Reading this indignant page,
know that at a former time
Love! Sweet love! Was thought a crime.
Prisons are built with stones of law,
Brothels with bricks of religion.
As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, So the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.
One law for the oxe and the lion is oppression.
Extracts from the writings of William Blake