A Question Answered?

William Blake’s poem asks the question: what do men want from women? What do they get from women?

His answer:

The lineaments  “a distinctive feature or characteristic, especially of the face”

of Gratified ‘to give (someone) pleasure or satisfaction,’ or to indulge or satisfy, or to be thankful for…

Desire “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen,” or to want (somone/something) sexually.

 The distinctive feature of  pleasure satisfied or the look on someone’s face when you have given them the pleasure they have longed for 

Does this answer satisfy you?

Initially, I thought it was a rather carnal hypothesis: men and women only require sex from one another (this also applies to men with men and women with women, we know sexuality is on a spectrum, not a binary).

But there is an implied giving and taking in gratified desire that cannot be ignored.

Gratified is capitalized as is Desire, which in Blake means,  they are entities unto themselves.  Blake’s writing is always a tension of threes. The oppositions and their paradox, the binary and it’s third –the space between.

Gratified is in itself an opposition: both giving and taking in that you can be thankful for both indulging or satisfying yourself or another.

Desire is Gratified’s third in that it is the wanting, wishing, receiving, or taking.

A man attaches himself to woman — not to enjoy her, but to enjoy himself.

-Simone de Beauvoir

de Beauvoir’s quote suggests that men are Desire, does that make women Gratified? but in the poem, men and women require both. Moving beyond gender…

Is Blake is saying we require from the other are the eyes to see beyond ourselves? We require transcendence from the other, an act of creation. Or that the enjoyment of the self is found in the other? 

He is other because he is not me, but he wants to be me, and the fundamental human desire is to be other-than-oneself, and this is how me is the requirement of he.

Existentialism proposes that in the very act of encountering the other, they give us back to ourselves, and in doing so, they create the self. Without encountering the other we have no self because there is nothing to oppose.

 One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation, and compassion.

Simone de Beauvoir

de Beauvoir frames the value of life in terms of the other, a reciprocity of attributes. Love, Friendship, Indignation, and Compassion are fundamental to our own value.

What we love and who loves us gives our life its meaning.

Indignation, or the assessment of the worthiness of ourselves and others; compassion, or the concern for the suffering of others, these attributes determine the relationships we have and we can only have the love, friendship, sympathy, and worth from others if we express it ourselves.




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