“Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence.”
“Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.”
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, ca. 1790
Both of them are heavy.
In the first one: Nobody’s got it all figured out. You can’t favor too much one element of a dichotomy. Attractionals wouldn’t have anything to grumble about if it weren’t for those pesky Missionals (or, no… they’d find something) (ok, that was low :P ). Blake’s real Good is not an abandonment of all restraints; it’s is a union (Marriage) of the great Contraries. What confuses me though, is that later on he says, these two classes “should be enemies,” and “whoever tries to reconcile them seeks to destroy existence.” Doesn’t reconcile mean to make right, to make them get along? So is reconciling the Contraries different than letting the tension between them just exist? I mean, if you accept that they both need to exist, aren’t you in some way reconciling their individual existences? Maybe letting the the Contraries “Agree to Disagree” is somehow different than Reconciling the Contraries.
In the second one: Hahaha, wow. Maybe Blake encountered a wee bit o’ legalism in his day? Relevant makes a cool shirt addressing this subject. Christ-followers must never allow law to outrank love, or we’ll induce the guilt that pushes people to give up. “I’ll never live up to these damn rules, so I might as well have fun doing it.” Us showing Love that models Christ’s Grace helps people understand what Paul is talking about when he asks “Should I wallow in my sin so that Christ’s grace may increase? No!”
Well, I have to work now. I get to go to a Sr. High retreat this weekend! WHEEE! :)
Below is what William Blake’s work actually looked like. In his own lifetime, Blake was actually better known for his illustrations. His preferred printing method was copper plates etched with acid. Here is the plate that contains the Contraries quote: