Such a Pity: The Human Abstract

Pity, Mercy and Peace are the 3 Virtues represented in this poem by William Blake.

The poem says that without US making someone poor, there would be no need for pity. WE are the ones who made someone poor, now we look down upon them. They had no strength to fight against us. I am using the We in this stanza, as civilised, organised capitalistic society. While we pity those who are homeless, or poor, some of us see and say, like Malcolm Turnbull, “There but for the grace of God be I”.

We can distribute mercy, in the form of benefits from the government, if the poor jump through the hoops. We, the people, donate to charities, or some of us do, to assist those less fortunate. But how about this… Next time you see a homeless person, don’t judge, just buy him a meal.

I am upset by those who like to do “social experiments” by giving homeless people

something, and putting it on YouTube to show what good people they are for doing this. When you donate, do it anonymously: without thought of what you might get out of it.

When you donate, you should give freely, not out of compulsion. You should not place conditions on your giving, but give to a person to do with it whatever they see fit. Once a dollar leaves your hand, it is no longer yours to govern. You have no right to protest, if your donated dollar is not used the way you think it should be.

 

 

Peace, when is the last time we had worldwide peace? I think that at no time has the whole world been in total peace with one another. Selfish greed is the cause of most wars. We who have want more. Those who have not, get what little they do have taken away. All we are saying, is give peace a chance.

 

Peace in the poem is said to be bought about by mutual fear. That sounds like the peace of The Cold War to me. Both sides knew that each had nuclear bombs but neither were going to use them, for fear that the other would as well. It would be nice if peace came about by mutual respect and care for one another, not fear.

The poem also talks about Selfish Love. This is the type of love that says “What’s in it for me?” It is not a love that is truly self-sacrificing, but one that has ulterior motives. It gets rooted deep but when the right time come, it spreads depression and despair. This type of love also produces emotional blackmail. “If you don’t do this, then I won’t love you”, or “If you do that, I will love you more. It also has its roots in fear. we are afraid what will happen if that love is removed.

The Bible says that perfect love drives out all fear. True love is a sacrificial love. It says, “I will do anything for you”. This type of love is not exclusive to man and woman couples, but can be same sex, it can be a love between a parent and child, even a child and a pet.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Cor:13. 4-8.

The love mentioned in the Blake poem is not true love, but a selfish one. I think Blake is imploring us to take a look at the love we give and the motives behind our giving. True love comes from God. Let’s love with the love that comes from God above.

Dave

 

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2 Comments

Filed under literature, Visionary Imagination

2 responses to “Such a Pity: The Human Abstract

  1. Love this entry David- what a rich context do you provide for understanding Blake’s poem. I like very much your foregrounding of those experiments in pity manifested by the likes our leader(s). It is great to see you so thoroughly engaged in everything we are doing.
    Outstanding work!
    MG

  2. Pingback: Highlights from the first trawl through William Blake and the Visionary Imagination. – Literature & Life Spring 2016

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