The Gypsy Scholar'smental blue-collarLabours("tied to this table / right here, in the Tower of Song") in the "Arts & Sciences" of radio have paid off, and so he is now presenting his performance art ("Mental Studies & Performances")--the musical essay on Labor Day.
William Blake, 19th-century working-class poet, painter, and printer, helps the Gypsy Scholar celebrate Labor Day.
William Blake's poetic concept of Labor: the "Labours of Art & Science," which are the Labours of the archetypal creator-poet, Los.
To labours mighty, with vast strength, with his mighty chains, In pulsations of time, & extensions of space, like Urns of Beulah With great labour upon his anvils, & in his ladles the Ore He lifted, pouring it into the clay ground prepar'd with art; Striving with Systems to deliver Individuals from those Systems. (Jerusalem, pl. 11)
[Los] Then arose / And chaunted his song, labouring with the tongs and hammer … (Jerusalem, pl. 6)
Here’s artist and printer William Blake’s rather proto-Marxist (or Karl Marx's post-Blakean) view of the artist-as-laborer:
The Labours of the Artist, the Poet, the Musician, have been proverbially attended by poverty and obscurity; this was never the fault of the Public, but was owing to a neglect of means to propagate such works as have wholly absorbed the Man of Genius. Even Milton and Shakespeare could not publish their own works. (Prospectus: To The Public)
I know of no other Christianity and of no other Gospel than the liberty both of body and mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination -- Imagination, the real and Eternal World of which this Vegetable Universe is but a faint shadow, and in which we shall live in our Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies are no more. The Apostles knew of no other Gospel. What were all their spiritual gifts? What is the Divine Spirit? Is the Holy Ghost any other than an Intellectual Fountain? What is the harvest of the Gospel and its labours? What is that talent which it is a curse to hide? What are the treasures of Heaven which we are to lay up for ourselves? Are they any other than mental studies and performances? What are all the gifts of the Gospel? Are they not all mental gifts? Is God a Spirit who must be worshipped in spirit and in truth? And are not the gifts of the Spirit everything to Man? O ye Religious, discountenance every one among you who shall pretend to despise Art and Science! I call upon you in the name of Jesus! What is the life of Man but Art and Science? Is it meat and drink? Is not the Body more than raiment? What is Mortality but the things relating to the Body, which dies? What is Immortality but the things relating to the Spirit, which lives eternally? What is the Joy of Heaven but improvement in the things of the Spirit? What are the Pains of Hell but Ignorance, Bodily Lust, Idleness, and devastation of the things of the Spirit? Answer this to yourselves, and expel from among you those who pretend to despise the labours of Art and Science, which alone are the labours of the Gospel. Is not this plain and manifest to the thought? Can you think at all, and not pronounce heartily: that to labour in knowledge is to build up Jerusalem; and to despise knowledge is to despise Jerusalem and her Builders. (To The Christians)
In a letter of 1800, Blake writes about Jesus’ “labours of Art and Science in this world.”
In Blake’s poetic epic of Jerusalem, his eternal poet, Los, “has poured his prophetic energies into inspired labour in the furnaces of his forge and time and space ….” And his great energies in building the city of Jerusalem are called “the sublime Labours.” His prophetic vision inspires his “labouring at the roarings of his Forge”.
The three images below are of Los, labouring at his forge with hammer and anvil to create "Golgonooza" ("Cathedron," city of "Art & Manufacture," or "City of Art") and, finally, the New Jerusalem (city of "Liberty;" "a City, yet a Woman").
Blake also wrote two poems about the plight of the child chimney sweepers of London
"The Chimney Sweeper" (from Songs of Innocence)
When my mother died I was very young, And my father sold me while yet my tongue Could scarcely cry " 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!' " So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep. There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved: so I said, "Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head's bare You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair." And so he was quiet, & that very night, As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight! That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned & Jack, Were all of them locked up in coffins of black. And by came an Angel who had a bright key, And he opened the coffins & set them all free; Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they run, And wash in a river and shine in the Sun. Then naked & white, all their bags left behind, They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind. And the Angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy, He'd have God for his father & never want joy. And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark, And got with our bags & our brushes to work. Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm; So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.
"The Chimney Sweeper" (from Songs of Experience)
A little black thing among the snow, Crying " 'weep! 'weep!" in notes of woe! "Where are thy father and mother? say?"— "They are both gone up to the church to pray. "Because I was happy upon the heath, And smiled among the winter's snow, They clothed me in the clothes of death, And taught me to sing the notes of woe. "And because I am happy and dance and sing, They think they have done me no injury, And are gone to praise God and his Priest and King, Who make up a heaven of our misery."
Conventional economic models fail to value and support the most essential human work: caring and caregiving. So basic human needs are increasingly neglected, despair and ecological destruction escalate, and the resulting social tensions fuel many of the conflicts we face today. Raine Eisler offers a bold reformation: a caring economics that transcends traditional categories like capitalist and socialist and offers enormous economic and social benefits.
"Riane Eisler shows us how to value economically what is valuable humanly— and what could be more revolutionary than that? To imagine money not as the root of all evil, but the measure of all good, read The Real Wealth of Nations."
"No man can call himself liberal, or radical, or even a conservative advocate of fair play, if his work depends in any way on the unpaid or underpaid labor of women at home, or in the office." - Gloria Steinem
"Labor Day and the Election of 2012: It’s Inequality, Stupid" --by Robert Reich