It was within the pages of an old book by today’s standards entitled, “Where the Wasteland Ends: Politics and Transcendence in Postindustrial Society,” by Theodore Roszak, that I read about William Blake’s ‘Urizen.’ Urizen is a Zoa or a creative power. Urizen is from the Greek word horizein which means “to limit, bound, restrict; also Your Reason.” Urizen is single vision: functional logicality, that which divides up, limits, draws lines-the dominant Zoa of scientized culture, the Zoa that rules modern society. His sign is in “the Starry Wheels’: law, logic, inexorable order: the world-machine.”
Roszak writes that, ” Urizen embodies Blake’s full horror of the scientific cosmos, which is a “soul-shudd’ring vacuum” fashioned conceptually by a demon intelligence.” Thus to Blake Urizen is a god of creation, but he is a fallen god, “in isolation and stern dominion (“petrifying all the Human Imagination into rock & sand”).” Under the despotism of Urizen,…life…decays. We fall to the empirical lie.”
Listen carefully, ever so carefully to the rhetoric of contemporary political discourse and you will perceive the presence of the militant and self-isolated Zoa Urizen. His words are filled with the mischief of behavorial manipulation. “In Blakes’s most famous drawing, “Urizen is the bearded demigod, the ancient of days, creator of the fallen world, reaching down to measure off space with giant calipers.”
Urizen’s power is hypnotic and compelling because he first seduces people to believe in a very truncated view of consciousness. “Our infinite senses” shrink and grow opaque.” “(Urizen,…,is also the “tyger, tyger burning bright”: the god of brute, unfeeling power, antithesis of the lamb of God.)” Diminished consciousness is Urizen’s most potent ally and our most fiendish foe.
During this election cycle we cannot focus upon clever phrases, and empty platitudes “full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” We must do our best to recognize seductive speech that will promise to do when there is the stubborn intention to continue toward our collective undoing.
For Blake, Urizen is the creator of MAYA, “who deludes by claiming to be the totality.” “Lo, I am God,” says Urizen. “The Spectre is the Man. The rest is only delusion & fancy.” Urizen is…”force without vision, “the idiot Reasoner.” “No breaking Urizen’s tyranny, then but by cleansing “the doors of perception…And yet Urizen dares to teach, can only teach that the Spectre (“the Reasoning Power”) is the whole person.”
I am suggesting that when the race for the White House, and therefore the control of our collective lives, comes to a fever pitch we pause, we ruminate, we calculate, we consider, we deliberate, we focus on God first, and then the feeble words of politicos. God is the only one who can cleanse the doors of perception and deliver us from Urizen and his dark designs.