The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom

A close friend of mine went into rehab recently, for a second time in 10 years and reminded me of this quote. It comes from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” by the English poet and artist William Blake between 1790 and 1793.

The book describes the poet’s visit to Hell, but Blake’s conception of Hell is not a place of punishment, but as a source of unrepressed, somewhat Dionysian energy, opposed to the authoritarian and regulated perception of Heaven.

But that chaos and wild energy of Hell ultimately destroys us. For those of us drawn into that world, the “outside world” does seem boring and repressed. We fool ourselves we are different, better, wilder, more independent. Not “part of the machine”.

But it destroys us and it robs us of our perceptions. We become deluded into thinking our view of the world is the correct one.

To recover, we must learn to appreciate the energy that was invested in that “Hell” could be of so much more positive value in “Heaven”. The “Heaven” is not one ruled over and regulated. It needs to be an informed awakening to a new way of life.

So in these hard days for my friend, I will be thinking of him. For him, the physical detox is done and the hardest part starts. To reframe that wild destructive life we lived as a “Hell”, and to see a new life as full of opportunities we cannot imagine yet.

“Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion”

…for JC