William Blake’s Urizen: craftsman, but no creator.
Totalising Devil Worship
Indescribing a Urizen, William Blake was, of course, not describing a thing, he was describing the state of mind in which his contemporaries lived.
They worshipped a graven image, they made of God a graven idol. They set an idol up before which to kneel. An image sculptured by the mind is no less an idol than one of stone.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image Exodus 20:4
But going beyond this, such a mindset makes of everything an idol. It sets everything up as something over there, to be understood as something apart, which is arguably the position of our own contemporaries. From religious idolatry to materialism is a short step.
Such an attitude makes it easy to move on the the next step, which is to countenance the existence of a world, or cosmos, without the mind of man, whereas before the mind of man there existed only one amorphous mass the ancient Greeks called Chaos; in my Mythology it is the realm of Ananke, the One, the forever, the undisturbed, the inevitable.
The cosmos cannot be without man. In an infinite Cosmos without man, there would be no ‘that is’, there would be no ‘be’ing. Where there is no being, there is void, no-thing; there is 0. Without man, 1=0.
What Blake is grappling with here is an irony, i.e. that worshippers have themselves sculptured in the mind an object of worship, which they go onto believe is an entity wholly apart from them, i.e. an all-knowing God which controls the affairs of man from across a divide. Such a distanced entity Blake described rather as Urizen, the demiurge, a 'self-deluded and anxious' shaper of pre-existent matter, i.e. not the Creator of something from nothing.
By implication, this made of the Bible's Jehovah a Satan, the puppeteer pulling the strings of mankind, an over-bearing father, a failed architect, and the ‘Accuser of the World' who unfairly condemned Adam and Eve when he was the one at fault.
Christian religionism for Blake had carried over the worshipping of the demiurge from the followers of Jehovah, which made it, essentially, Devil Worship. Again, by further implication, this makes of materialism the totalising Devil Worship of our times.
© John Dunn.