MILTON AND OLOLON
The matter regarding the six females
is a good way to hook the interest of today's readers. To begin with, one must understand that the unfolding of the Fourfold
system of describing the structure of human endeavor results in the realization that Blake has updated the Fourfold system
of Aquinas and Dante (see Letter to Con Grande) for the period of the global war engulfing the Great Powers of the time. To
contextualize, the Poem was largely composed at Felpham, where the fear of invasion was very much heightened, at a time when
the civilizational structure of Europe was being hastily reorganized because of the transformation of war by the French. Blake
is suggesting a quite transformative updating of the traditional schema for interpreting reality, as well as updating the
schema for fourfold exegesis of scriptural texts. Like Milton and Dante, Blake clearly believed that he was writing Scripture
and structured his language to reflect and embody his religious and political insights. One of those insights is figured through
the character of Milton; another complex of insights involves the six-fold female, Ololon. It is simplistic to reduce the
profundities of Book the Second to being “about” the wives and daughters of the actual, factual John Milton, but
we must enter the POEM somewhere, so here is an explication of the Blakean fourfold structure as found in the metaphor drawn
from John Milton’s personal life, the sixfold female.
1) Literal level= Ulro;
the difficulties of intimate and family relationships in which the sense of being compelled to recover or rescue lost affections
can cause one to "take off the Robe of the Promise" and enter into the hell-world of suffering, confusion, victimization
and all the rest that goes along with being immersed in the Great Horrible Soup of Perdition. I understand the need to gather
up and somehow make right and to make understandable the loose ends of loves and memories; one must enter into the Ulro, go
into the arena of Eternal Death, venture onto the stage of History. There is a something fundamentally wrong in the fate of
Ololon (the women whom one was close to, but more to the point, sexual Christianity) which is extremely troubling to Milton,
a man of Vision and Imagination, and this compels him to his unexampled heroism.
level= Generation. This level of interpreting Ololon uses her as if she were a character in a drama, both a microcosmic drama
and a macrocosmic world-historical drama. She would in this sense be an allegorical figure such as are found in Spenser or
Bunyan and would be considered as one personification with six allegorical manifestations. The concept of typological allegory
is very important here because it is the way Milton and Blake experienced life and interpreted (and constructed) Scriptures.
In this sense, Ololon is scattered in the deep, is splintered, dispersed. The typological language images Ololon as overwhelmed
by the Sea of Time and Space, yet Milton chooses to descend into the Soup-Sea in order to recover and re-integrate "Her."
This is his quest, his heroic obligation. Obviously we are looking at the fundamental Gnostic scenario of the Distress of
In another approach to the allegory,
Milton (the expounder of the Creation and the Fall and the origins of fallen sexuality and the divisions between man, woman
and the Divine) must CORRECT his own mythic structure of Adam, Eve, and all that-- Ololon-Sophia partakes in a macrocosmic
drama in which the Creation of the material universe IS the Cosmic Fall, a fundamentally Gnostic theodicy central to Blake's
correction of Milton’s theodicy. Blake holds that this Fall has little to do with sexuality and moreover that existence
of evil in the world is not Mankind’s fault.
3) Tropological level = Beulah. Ololon here is
Sexual Christianity, or Monotheistic transcendence as manifested in three forms in the ancient world, and three forms in the
modern world. These would be the wive- and daughter- religions troped out from the life of Jesus and his attempt to restore
First Temple practice. If I were to characterize these universalisms, I would characterize the "wifes" as the Roman,
Eastern, and Gnostic forms of Catholicism. The three daughter-religions may have been branches of Protestantism or Blake may
have meant a more distinct troping in his view of religious history.
= Eden. On this level of the Poem, Ololon is a single woman, a real person just as Wisdom was a real woman to the authors
of the Wisdom literature. Just as the Poetic Genius “himself” is the real subject of poetry, so encountering Wisdom--
whatever she may actually be-- is the purpose of the poet/prophet on the level of Milton or Blake, for how can one aspire
to canonicity if one has not met Wisdom? Yet Wisdom, in my existentially-based view, is rather like the Poetic Genius: they
move through the inspired, but remain themselves, re-enacting in the lives of those rare few whom they choose a dance, a play,
a musical work-- the meaning and significance of which is known only to them, and is incomprehensible to us though we may
be momentarily used as vehicles through which they romance. Their fleeting use of individuals to greet each other should not
be confused with sexual transport itself, as what is often thought to be the personal experience of the Divine through sexual
transport is at root merely a marvelous biological phenomenon. Though wondrous and valuable, such religious experience is
but the hem of the garment, an intimation of immortality-- but only an intimation. There is no room for sacrifice, for passion,
for death in awareness of what have been called the Bride and the Bridegroom: whatever the Two are, and whatever they are
doing here, is beyond life, beyond spirit, yet is knowable. The Marriage of the Bride and the Bridegroom is only an image,
a story that points toward them and what they are doing.
Though set in a particular historical context, Milton- like
Dante, like Blake, like others- devised and labored over ways to tell of the spiritual growth necessary to perceive the anagogy,
the perilous passage one must traverse as one builds a structure to communicate what may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This is the fundamental artistic problem, as relevant to Emerson as to Monet. The test of the Canonical is whether a work—in
art, in literature, in music, in scripture- contributes to our knowledge of the Two as they manifest in past, present, and
Manhood and Womanhood as a single mass and as manifested in individuals are but a medium for the Two. Even
the Blessed experience Them AS PERSONALITIES-- with distinct and discernable character, motives, and histories-- perhaps once
or twice in an entire lifespan.
All we know from our edifice of clues is that we, fit but few, are transient tools
in the hands of She and He, using us to leave very complicated clues.
And yet, to come down from the rarefications of the admittedly strange, how can Blake’s fourfold
structure be put to pragmatic and efficacious use in our world? How can we update the Dante-Aquinas systematization of the
levels of language to be practicable in the present, here in America?
First, I would suggest that our legal system
is, at root, based on an odd assemblage of Cartesian dualism, Freudianism, and current ideas regarding social maturity. To
be essentially reductive, a person is processed according to whether they are an “innie” or an “outie.”
The basic questions used to determine whether one receives first-floor law or second-floor law comes down to a tripartite
question: Do you believe in God? Are you real? And are you a professional? In a few words: Do you get what’s going on
in the world of socially capable adults? If so, then a different level of legalities applies, legalities formalized using
a different, more elevated, level of language and of discourse. This is the level of life and language termed ‘Generation’
by Blake, as distinguished from ‘Ulro’ which is the semi-hell of the Great Horrible Soup of Perdition.
I would suggest
that Blake posits a fourfold social structure in which four levels of social differentiation have each their own characteristic
use of language. To apply this in the realm of the law, it is easiest to point out that the societal world and legal language
of the third level is troped from the Constitution and its first derivative, the United States Code. This is the level of
life and language termed ‘Beulah’ by Blake.
It is therefore also extremely important that there be an
anagogical level of society, centered upon the motives for using language which deals with spiritual and philosophical verities
in the context of History. Anagogical discourse involves mental struggle predicated on competence in a world of personal and
social involvement where we are actively determining the course of history. Blake stresses that this is not a level that involves
“corporeal war.” This is the level of life and language termed ‘Eden’ by Blake.
America has not developed this level with proper seriousness. The Congress, lamentably, has abandoned its role in furthering
and controlling the ongoing American Revolution. As a result, advancing the visionary context of the Founders is not a structural
part of our society, our Government or our legalities. It would seem more respectful to that visionary context of the Founders
if the current American leadership— in political, military, scientific, religious, business, media, educational and
academic sectors-- provided the guiding philosophy of governance and of our national purpose within the context of spiritual
history as it manifests itself in the material world.
the framework of this discussion, we Americans must have a protected strata of our social and governmental structure which
embraces anagogical awareness and which systematizes anagogical insights so as to publicly manifest the intricate profundities
of anagogical living.
At various places and at various points in time there have been cultures which have risen to this
awareness and organized their societies accordingly. Such cultures characteristically have a threshold- whether imaged as
a barrier, a hedge, a veil, a wall- and a method of initiation, a handshake. For example, in early Christianity the psychikoi
were a distinct group from the pneumatikoi, the breath-ones, spirit-ones.
It is an interesting anthropological question whether the God-image of any given anagogical culture arises
from its world-view or vice-versa. The American Founders’ worldview centered on a transcendental entity known to them
as ‘Providence’ and known by them in their experience to “signally intervene” in world affairs.
needs to be aware in detail of the various formulations of worldviews which have emanated from anagogical cultures past and
present. Then we can begin the process of working with others in the world community to craft a world structure worthy of
Mankind’s best aspirations; the integral of Beulah can be reified if it can be envisioned by those- fit though few-
who are anagogically fluent.
The horizon to which we should strive is provided for us by the structured clues which have been
deposited by the fit though few who have had experiential awareness of the He and She. Ultimately, we might perhaps aspire
to the Shakespearean.
“Go forth to the Great Harvest and Vintage of the Nations.”
March 24, 2011
A NEW KIND OF
The creation of a new kind of man: World history is permeated by this effort, though for most of us involved in history
it is a new kind of men that is meant. I myself, working through my Independent Culture Production House, am seemingly no
Historically, specific individuals-- from Moses to Mohammed to Mao-- seek a transformed State: a place,
territory, in which good numbers of men are to be, through control of parameters of life and thought, variables and actions
and perspectives, molded by that State into a new kind of men. This seems to be the thrust of today's dominant national, international
and supernational efforts, where technological alteration of body and mind-- human evolutionism-- is adding a new consideration
to history's dynamics.
We can, though, think of the matter from another angle. States are manifestations of culture,
and cultures exist through material reifications, through mental and spiritual reifications as well. To create a new kind
of men, a transforming culture must be formed before forming a transforming State.
Many approach this as diagnosticians.
Many approach this as evangelists or advocates or organisers or activists, in service of a defined worldview and its master
plan. Many try to personally create culture products -- artworks, books, television programs, musical or poetic works -- that
are reifications of their insights into the direction to go. Many approach this as thinkers, sometimes through communal thinkings
such as scientific or military or religious endeavors. Many devote their efforts to controlling others' thoughts -- whether
through goons, visible and invisible, and surveillance networks; or through cold-blooded force and intimidation; or through
mass-media deceptions; or through blunt processes of political power.
Most, in this New Order of the Ages inaugurated
in 1776, work within the context of a social movement. The most impactful examples of such movements are the French Revolution,
the Russian Revolution, the Nazi effort, and the Maoist Revolutions. All these have resulted in vast carnage, turmoil, and
disaster. More benignly, we have "the Sixties" and human evolutionism and conceptual art and sexual mysticisms and
so forth, and yet these are also merely movements. Probably, the social movement known as science has been the most impactful
In our day, we have re-centered on an insight common to traditionalism, revolutionism, counter-culturism and scientific
endeavor: If you want to create a new kind of men, you must first exemplify that new kind of man personally; you must, as
yourself, be that man. This returns us to look at the "Great Men of History" traditions, and there are a few hundred
men who have attempted to live as such a Man on the stage of history. From the Ancients to Napoleon, Washington and Lincoln,
and onward to Freud and the "weird moderns", there are those who indeed do make this effort. And yet, the hill has
not been crested and we are still what we are.
And so we may turn to the Culturists again, particularly to those who are themselves
of the "new kind". Here also there are a good number of exemplars and a good number of attempts have been made to
communicate knowledge of the topic, often figured in terms of how to become a creator of transformative structures or mechanisms
or idea-complexes or perspectives.
Note: If we center on visionary motive rather than revolutionary or reforming motive,
we get farther. Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Smith and William Blake and Paul McCartney have embodied the world of that New
Kind of Man by being that new kind of Man.
And yet... deepest tradition insists that all attempts are conditional, provisional,
wonders of our transitory life.
When we look pragmatically at who has, in modern history, generated in reality a healthy
number of flexibly-structured, adaptive and resilient worldview-envelopes within which other men become this New Kind of Man,
we have only two successes-- both individuals of a musically poetic cast:
So: for better or for worse, all is not lost.
Backer, South Bend