Bono and Blake

I read Andrea’s review on Andrew Denton’s interview on Bono.
Andrew Denton is an incredible interviewer – the best I’ve ever seen that’s for sure.  He has an amazing way of revealing and dwelling on the truths in peoples lives.  I really want to see his doco on “God on My Side”.

 

About Bono. He’s one of my hero’s.  Not because he is famous, but because of how he has chosen to use this tool.  I want to quote again a passage of what he said to Denton.

BONO: “You know that it is acceptable that 65,000 Africans can die of AIDS - it’s not.” “If we believe that these people’s lives were equal in value to ours, we would not be letting them die like that.”  “You know, equality is always moving.” 

 

My heart always bleeds when I hear of the tragedies in our world.  I can feel a sense of hopelessness creeping in and a small voice questioning my own place in this world.  How can I help?  Can I really do much to make a difference?

More and more I am becoming firm in my opinion that most of the difference I can make are in my own attitudes.  Becoming more open, honest but wise in what is right and acceptable.

 

Bono is 100% right, we all know this, but how can we show it?  Giving money is great it is needed and it is right.  But what we really need to do is to change our mindsets. 

 

 

How can I relate this to Blake and White.  Well that is easy.  Both writers, care so much about the issue of equality that they dedicated much of their writing to it.  Fantastic ideas and developments can be drawn especially from Blake’s Daughters of Albion.  And White uses Riders in the Chariot to magnify the seemly small bias and lack of equality that happens in our own lives.

 

May our world grow better together more and more.

Rose and Anne Older

Week Eight - Bigger People


In this life
It is not what the world
Does to us
That matters
It is what we do
To the world

- Nan Witcomb




This is HUGE!
And if you don’t think so – read it again. If you like this kind of stuff, you should read the bible. This poem / thought plays directly into White’s and Blake’s hands I think. The world pushed both these creative minds aside, told them they didn’t fit and weren’t good enough. These lives never got the recognition they deserved and perhaps there is a lesson here (can we really wait to get the recognition we deserve from others), yet this did not stop them. White and Blake did not wait for the world to understand and appreciate them – they continued to make a difference anyway.

On my Grampa’s grave is a quote although I don’t know from who.



Our echo’s role from soul to soul,
And grow forever and forever.


This quote has immense significance for me. I have said this before – so forgive my repetition. But in my own personal life, I am not interested in building myself up to leave triumphant shout of ‘something’ (money, possessions, whatever) before I die. What I am desperately interested in is however leaving an echo that will continue on after me, so that the passionate beliefs I hold dear and my strengths and virtues will be carried on and built upon. That my weaknesses and failures will die off with me, but that our future society will be better off because of how I have lived.
Does this seem conceited? I have had one lecturer chide me before today that “One person cannot save the world Rose” – and yet I would beg to differ that there have been many ‘One’ people who have saved the world in the own individual and unique ways. White explores this theme with his characters Godbold – who shines light through her tangible love for others. Hare – who embraces nature and shares it’s warmth with those around her. Dubbo – who captures the moments in life and sees eternity in a grain of sand. And Himmelfarb – who allows himself to become so humble and strengthened in the purity of his faith that he is able to sacrifice himself for the betterment of others.



Sometimes I feel that there are to many lessons to be learnt. I get afraid that I won’t learn them all, won’t become the bigger person that people like White and Blake could see. Perhaps my passionate personality bites off more than it can chew, but I think I am right in assuming that both Blake and White would exhort us to keep trying and pursuing that echo of being another ‘one person’.
Rose and Anne Older

Riders and Nanushka - Week Seven



I thought that in the next half of my live journal, I might focus mainly on Patrick White’s “Riders in the Chariot.” My main reason for this is that it is a novel filled with poignant issues and ideas, indeed I think this novel would take an entire unit in itself to really get through.

This week I would like to look at White’s characters in relation to an amazing poet I have just discovered ‘The Thoughts of Nanushka” by Nan Witcomb. (Michael you would love her). None of her works are titled, a fact which I particularly like as it gives the reader more freedom to explore the meaning. I love her poetry because it isn’t really poetry as we know it, but pure, simple and profound thoughts. I’m going to use her in teaching for sure!

Sometimes I wonder
if society
locks away its mad
to stop them
from carrying out
the fantasies
of the sane.




Wow, you really do need to read it again. Now look at this thought in relation to the 4 riders, Himmelfarb, Dubbo, Hare and Godbold. One could argue that they were not ‘locked’ away, but really they were. They were locked away through society’s perception and judgement of them. They were outcasts, and yet they were real. It amazes me to think (and bear with me here), that the evil of Mrs Flack and Mrs Jolley could actually have arisen towards the 4 riders because they were threatened by the unshameful fulfilment of their own fantasies.
Now I really must say here that there is evil – period, in some people and often there is nothing anyone can do to stop it from erupting either on to themselves or someone else. This is NOT what I am talking about.
This thought is hard to really establish. I think that from reading ‘Riders’ the four main characters portrayed characteristics that others around them desperately wanted, however through societies expectations or from their own wounded pasts they could not become these free people themselves. An example of this would be Mrs Jolley and Ms Hare. Mrs Jolley wants to not have the concern of money, to be able to see her children without having the burden of living with them. Ms Hare does not hold money as a concern in her life, she is as happy with no shoes as with shoes, and does what makes her happy. Mrs Jolley resents this freedom because it is what she secretly craves. There are loads of other examples, Mr Rosetree & Mr Himmelfarb, Dubbo and the man who steals his art, Mrs Godbold and her husband.



What we now have to ask ourselves is what side of the poem are we from? Will we extend ourselves to live out our passions our beliefs / ideals / goals / dreams? A big part of this I personally believe is in who you partner yourself with. I don’t mean marriage – although that is one partnership, but rather the people you hold close to yourself. Do they ‘lock’ you away? Or do you both sharpen each other to grow?
The 4 riders chose their influences closely, they did not choose Blue or Mrs Flack to be their confinants – they chose the like minded – the free. We have to do the same.
Great Ocean Rd

The Chains of Oothoon - Week Six

Poor Oothoon, for she is a paradox.  She is both free, yet remains chained.  Why is this so?  How can Oothoon have found such wonderful freedom, indeed raising herself above the level of those that have not even suffered as she has, and still remaining chained to her abuser? 

I think that this question could be to hard to answer in the terms defined by Blake in “Visions of the daughters of Albion”.  I think that we need to possibly step outside this vision in order to get another view point.  Lets look at this problem relating it to society both today and in Blake’s lifetime.  Could a woman be chained, yet be free?

I think the answer to that is yes.  It is most probable that women such as Wolf and Mansfield were free women, intellectually bright and independent.  Yet for all their wisdom and freedom they were still considered women, they were still chained to their birth which decided if they were to be considered dominant or subservient. 

Do we still do that today in our modern, civilized, ultra sensitive to everyone around us environment?  I think that question does not even need to be answered.  We know it does.
We know that we still hold racist, discriminatory and religious ideals.  We preach that we are accepting, loving and compassionate – but that is until something or someone really tries to penetrate our shield. 

I watched world compass the other night with coverage on ex-gay councilors and rehab centers set up in America.  Unfortunately all of these places mentioned were under the banner of a church, and were set up designed to make those struggling with gay issues to be shamed and conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs into becoming straight.
Now I am not promoting gay rights, although I have a few friends who are gay.  But what disgusted, saddened and impassioned me was that I saw great hypocrisy at work.  Now I am aware that it was a news tainted report, designed to report the sensational. 

However this program got me thinking.  As Christians we preach acceptance and love for all.  We house people in our churches who have issues with greed, pornography and abuses of just about anything.  However do we really house the gay?  We don’t.  And that is flat out hypocrisy.


Like Oothoon we are still creating chains to hold people and even ourselves down.  One could even be forgiven in suggesting that society doesn’t really even want true freedom, because it would come at a greater cost than what we are ready for.  Its like we would rather play God like Theotormon in others worlds, rather than our own.

Richard got a little upset with my passionate speech to him over this issue with gay rights.  He thought I meant that we need to run large protests, create a club or go and find someone gay to adopt.  That wasn’t what I was saying.  What I am saying is that change will occur on the outside when it occurs on the inside.  We have to just have the courage to look at ourselves, our prejudices (and we ALL have them) and change them for the better. 

 

That’s what I got out of “Visions” this week anyhow…  stay tuned for more….

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Response Week 6 - Young

This week Young put up a simple, yet increadibly complex quote from Blake.

"If the doors of perception were to be cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite." -William Blake

Young then proceeded to place up the following quote:

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education." -Albert Einstein

 So what I am going to attempt to do is to wrap my little brain around these two huge concepts and see if I can't unwrap something.

The only time when I can think of our 'doors of perception' being clensed, is when we are children and still unable to fathom that we are not invincible and that the world does not revolve around us. (some of us may still struggle with this concept for other reasons...)  Its not so much that they are clensed, just not tained yet with the rules of the world.   I don't know that I would describe everything as infinate,  I would describe it as continued....  When I think of another land across the sea, I think of it quite often as almost mythical, infinate in possibility for sure, but a continuation of what I enjoy and live now. 
Yet I know that this is not the case, my sister has been to Namibia as well as Aborigional settlements in Outback Australia and my brother wants to now go to Serbia.  In all of these places and so so many more, infinate holds no hope, no change for people who desperatly need to be treated with the same respect as us.  They are still humanity.
I guess I struggle with Blakes idea that the 'rose tinted glasses of perception' can ever come off.  'Show me the man who has not sinned'- Jesus.   Likewise, show me the man who is free of perception, Blake sure wasn't.  Was he more enlightened?  Or was he just more outspoken?

As for Einstein, well he is right isn't he.  From the day we are born we are dying, or we are unlearning the infinate.  But I do think we can learn it again, it just takes alot of courage and a constant battle against the storm that drives us in the opposite direction....



Rose and Anne Older

The heroic daughter of Albion. Week 5

This week my mind has been captivated by the idea behind 'who is the real hero of Albion'?
Whilst reading Blake's "Visions of the Daughters of Albion" I have been struck at the increadible strength yet femininity of Oothoon.

From reading the 'Daughters of Albion' we come to understand that Oothoon has been raped, and has now fallen pregnant because of this violation.  It is amazing to me that Blake has painted Oothoon as not only a victim but also ultimatly as a hero.  It shows just what Blake must have thought of women.  He did not want them to be masculine in order to display their strength, instead it would appear that Blake thought a women's might was found within her femininity.

Looking at Plate 2, line 15-16 it becomes clear that although society and indeed her lover Theotormon have condemned Oothoon for a crime committed upon her, she does not bow to their will.  Oothoon instead takes the corageous step and becomes the woman she knows she is.  Oothoon bravely reminds Theotormon that she was the victim, it was she who was defiled, not him.  And therefore it is she who must become clean.  
Blake here is making an overtly aimed statement on the current mental stance on women who have been abused in any fashion.  Society in Blakes day - and even today, still hold an undercurrent of scorn for women who have been victimised.  For some reason those women are seen to some how be at fault for their misfortune.  There innocence is seen as lost, forever disappeared, never to return.  It is this very idea that Blake is fighting so hard against in Plate 2.

Oothoon makes it clear to Theotormon that she is hurt, she is suffering, but she is also healing.  
A "pure transparent breast" gives the reader the connotation of snow, of a clensing that makes Oothoon's innocence or virginity white, pure and restored again.  Blake doubley creates this image when he describes Oothoon, "As the clear spring mudded with feet of beasts grows pure and smiles." (19)  And Blake confirms this idea for all those sceptics out there a 3rd time in lines 28-31, where Oothoon calls Theotormon attention to the bitter lies people told her about her condition.  I picture Oothoon here screaming out her freedom and how she has broken through the web of lies that were built around her life to cage her in.  Now Oothoon uses her femininity powerfully to show Theotormon that "I am pure. Because the night is gone."

 

Below are two images that I thought  really  suited what qualities I have seen Blake paint in Oothoon.  The first is the return of  Peresphone, who's story alines closely to that of Oothoon's.  Peresphone is tricked by Hades into picking a beautiful flower, it is then that Hades makes his move and rapes her.  I love this painting because it shows the return of Peresphone, which is what we are talking about here.  The story does not end with the rape but rather with renewed hope, life and purpose.

 

This second image is a beautiful painting by Sophie Anderson 'Take the Fair Face of Woman'. I love this painting because it captures the beauty of femininity and innocence.  A state to which I believe all women like Oothoon can be restored to should they seek it.


Now travelling back to the question of Oothoons beckoning towards Theotormon.  To me this is an invitation from Oothoon to Theotormon, she is inviting him to be her hero, he has failed her so far, but she is calling for him to still be her rescuer.
Looking back even further it is interesting to me that their appears to be forwarning in the text of what is about to befall Oothoon.  Nature appears to prophisying to Oothoon of the violation about to be done to her in the lines "Pluck thou my flower, Oothoon the mild.  Another flower shall spring, because the soul of sweet delight can never pass away." (Plate 1, 7-10) 

Is this just a mere reference to natures ability to rejenerate?  I don't think so.  I think that Blake is making a statement even early on that events and circumstances don't need to dictate Oothoon's or our lives.  That nothing ever done to us can touch our souls, and it is that very soul that keeps us truely alive.


Ok thats all my thoughts for today spilled out for you.
Rose.

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Response Week 5 - Claire

Claire wrote a great Blog on Mandela and Blake,  I also read what Young had to say on the matter and I must confess that I feel a little torn.  It is true what Young said about Blake not really making the statement of Poetic Genius obvious, he wasn't shouting it from the rooftops.  Although it is in all of his works, it is more subtle, hidden even. 
I personally think that this is for the best though. 
I mean if you are really seeking, really looking for the 'Glory of God' that is within us, you will find it.  The same I think can be said with Blakes Poetic Genius.  Like Mandela he did believe in everyones potential, however he also believed that you had to go on your own personal journey to find it and that no speech would deliver it as such to you.


Now I love Mandela, how could you not.  The man is a hero.  I adore these first few lines.


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

Nelson Mandela, Inaugural speech 1994

Wow it is so true.  I know this is true.  I am confident, I like my light and am happy for it to shine.  But this has come at a great cost to me, and I have spent years of my life trying to find my light, if indeed there was any even there.  Live journal is not a place for my story.  But this is true.  And what is truer is that when you find your light, everyone seems to want to put it out again.  You have to learn how to manage your light, to keep it aflame, yet not let it burn others.  Then you have to stop the urge to go back to the darkness.  For as hard as darkness was, the light is harder, it is brighter and you see your flaws all the more clearer for it.
However it is important to keep going, to not give in to the compulsion to revert to the darkeness, to not cause the waves, to deny yourself of truth.  To keep going, keep speaking and keep learning, and then perhaps, if I am very very blessed the light may just get brighter.



Theotormon's Tears - Response Week Four

This weeks response is to Jen's Blog on Theotormon's secret tears.  Jen makes an interesting point about how culturally it has been considered shameful for men to cry.  Real men don't cry, I think is the slogan.
Jen thinks that perhaps the Theotormon's secret tears may not be literal, that perhaps he is only feeling the emotion. 
I don't know, perhaps it doesn't matter if they are literal or not.  Is Theotormon a real man, because he shuts himself away, hiding from the truth and the light of the renewed Oothoon?  There is something definatly heartbreaking about seeing a man cry.  I think because it is rare, we know that it isn't a show or a manipulative means of getting ones own way.  I think when men cry, we really see their soul bared open for all to see. 
That is why Theotormon is not much I'm afraid of a man, his tears are secret, kept under a vale of oppression like slaves or bought children.  Theotormon's tears are ones that he is ashamed to cry.  He appears to believe that they will do no good, like slaves that will never be free or waves on a desert shore, his tears will not draw notice.  In a way its quite self absorbed, introspective way of viewing sorrow. 

Jen draws a great paraelle between Theotormon and Oothoon, who cannot weep but only howl.  Jen draws attention to the great femininity of weeping.  Which is true.  So why can Oothoon only howl.  I think that this is because she has had her femininity stripped away with the rape.  The symbolism of her only being able to howl shows us that she has not yet found freedom.   That she is is locked up between what society believes a woman consists of, and that these are the chains of her oppression.


Rose on Farm

The Smile - Week Four

I thought for this week I might look and research something else of Blakes that we have not yet done.  
For this task I chose "The Smile".  Its an interesting poem, at first glance it seems romantic, but now I'm not sure that this is the aim.

There are alot of smiles in the world, this is true.  This is what Blake's first stanza talks about.  However Blake appears to want to explain the contrary moment of the smile in the frown in the next stanza.  Not content with just keeping the frowns as simple as smiling, Blake makes the point that a frown is difficult to forget.  
This is very true and there is a saying I remember growing up which is:  For every negative you need 10 positives inorder to balance it out.  
In stanza three Blake describes the wounds that a frown can give you, right into your "deep hearts core."  But there is a light, and that light is the smile that is genuine, that can reach in and pull you out of your 'miery clay' of woe.

I know that this poem is not in my particular usual vein, its very simple and clear.  But this is exactly why I like it. Because to many things in life are not simple, and are certainly not clear.  
Its like Blake has tried to refocus our perspective on the truth.  Which is life is beautiful, especially when it is simple and shared with people you love.  



I am actually about to go on a weekend away with my mother and sister to Daylesford in Vic.  They are great knitters, so we are just going to drink tea, cook gormet delights, knit and look at the stunning country scenery.  Simple, Beautiful, Loved.  Can't wait,... can't knit,... but can't wait.


Ahh, Thanks Blake, I'll be a Nana before you know it.
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Rose with Teddy

Are all religions one? Week Three

Are all religions one as Blake claims them to be?  Do people really hold the same values, strive to attain the same goals and seek to achieve the same outcomes in their life?
In the idealistic world, we would all seek peace, freedom, care for our environment and nurture our communities.  But do we?  No.
We kill our sea creatures for research, we wage wars to 'cleanse the earth' or to populate new ground, we treat our neighbours with contempt and load our greedy materialistic lives up with more stuff than we can possibly need, want or desire.
Yet still we are not satisfied?  If all religions were the same would this still occur? Our world lacks unity more than ever before, so how could Blake be right?

Now I really should have almost started with a disclaimer.  I am not suggesting that there is even the minutest possibility of me grasping what ideas Blake had inside his mind, however I have a certain amount of knowledge that even Blake for all his wisdom did not have.
I am living and experiencing a completely different time from him, and I am a woman.  These two experiences may not seem like much, but they do give me an edge to look at Blakes work that possibly even the great C.S.Lewis did not have.

It occurs to me that the more I read Blake, the deeper set an idea appears to embed itself within me.  It almost would appear that  Blake was perhaps for all his mastery, not able to get across his answer to the divine question aptly for his time and indeed for ours.  So this idea of mine is to look at the answers Blake presents us with, from a backwards angle. 

When Blake discusses the notion of throwing out all organised religion and being left with the 'poetic genius' which is the divine incarnate - is he really talking about the destruction of churches and movements.  I don't think he is.
I think it may be just possible that whilst everyone has been hankering on about this apparent 'blaspheme' of Blake's, his actual intentions could go unnoticed.  Isn't it just possible that Blake whilst disgusted with religion in his day, was trying to exhort others to take more than a self obsessive look at themselves?



To me, Blake is not putting the highlight on religion, but rather on ourselves.  Not to become self absorbed people, but a people who are individually retrospective whilst continually moving forward on this journey of life.  To me, Blake is asking us to build on the divine already within us.  This does not mean to simply throw out religion.  But rather to participate from a different perspective.  To no longer 'take' orders from religion, but to give out of our own journey.

Perhaps this sounds to garbled, try this.
Lewis in "Mere Christianity" said that Christianity should be able to see that "a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again." 
Is this not what Blake is also saying? There is no natural religion, because man is naturally designed to follow his 'poetic genius', therefore needing no religion to show him the path.  However through our world that clearly has gone amiss, religion has been for many a path back to finding our 'poetic genius'.  I think what tends to go amiss and why there are so many wars over religion is that people stop searching.  They stop looking because they think they have found it, in a book and person - whatever.  They mistake the path for the journey and never actually find themselves.
How can we help put our world right when we are looking towards dictators in any area to tell us what to do, think or feel.  Is it the preachers fault?  Or the dictators? Or the presidents? 
I think that the answer to this question abiet painful but true is no.  No, the fault is ours.  We alone stand accountable for finding our journey.



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