Contradictions and Paradoxes in the Human Soul in “the Human Abstract”, by William Blake
Before being good or bad, human beings are just humans who have to live with their own nature, which they sometimes cannot control. Man can do good or evil but he always makes it with a unique purpose, his personal satisfaction, because it is simply in his nature. Thus, human beings aware of good and evil are confronted with conflicting choices but they never act against their will. The poem, “The Human Abstract”, written by William Blake reflects on these characteristics of human beings and demonstrates how they are unconsciously corrupted by their own nature in a selfish way. The poem “The Human Abstract” contains several contradictions which expresses the contrary states of the human soul. Pity and Mercy are supposed to be good virtues that express a feeling of empathy and compassion but in fact these kinds of sentiments presuppose that some people live in bad condition. Indeed, if everybody was happy, Pity and Mercy could not exist: “And Mercy no more could be / If all were as happy as we”. So the poor and the sick give birth to Pity and Mercy, which are good virtues that wealthy people and rich people have to feel like a kind of contribution. Compassion simply exists so that people are in agreement with their consciousness apropos of the misery of other: “Pity would be no more / If we did not make somebody poor”. The verb “make” in the second line of the poem expresses the guilt of human beings because of his acts. If people force other persons into poverty, maybe these individuals deserve to receive the pity.
The poet, William Blake, also makes a link between “fear” and “Peace”, “selfish” and “love”, and finally between “Deceit” and “Ruddy and sweet”. The second stanza present two contradictions: “And mutual fear brings Peace / Till the selfish loves increase”. The Human being confronted with his fellow man transforms love into selfishness and peace in fear.