There's a ton of injustice going on in "Auguries of Innocence": animal abuse, child abuse, unlawful empire building… the works. And what does Blake think about injustice? Well, he's against it, obviously. No surprise there. But Blake takes a unique tack against it—he refuses to accept poverty as an inevitable thing. He imagines a beggar's rags tearing the heavens into rags: it has dire consequences for the entire world. In Blake's eyes, no one can afford to ignore an injustice, no matter how small.
Blake was on it—human cruelty is the main source of injustice.
Actually, it's human indifference to cruelty that's the main source of injustice.
Blake likes to get cosmic, and "Auguries of Innocence" is no exception. We see tears turning into babies and God metamorphosing from beams of light into a human. But aside from the trippy special effects, Blake is really concerned with what makes us truly human. He's concerned with the way we see things. If we see them with a lot of imagination, energy, and love (and "see a world in a grain of sand"), we're becoming more divine, more fully human. But if we don't, and instead dull our perceptions, that's a recipe for insensitivity and cruelty. Life, for Blake, is a matter of heightening our consciousness of reality in order to become more compassionate. He's into "raising awareness"—but in a literal way.
The meaning of life is to raise the consciousness of humanity. And there you have it.
Actually, the meaning of life is to try to have compassion for people. (Psst—these aren't contradictory statements.)
Blake's obviously spiritual—"Auguries of Innocence" references life after death, Eternity, and God at different points. But his spirituality isn't very familiar: he has a unique interpretation of the Bible and of Jesus. Blake also tends to put a lot of emphasis on the role of imagination in spirituality. For him, art and literature can put people in direct contact with eternal realities. They're ways of looking "through" the eye and not "with" it (i.e., using the spirit to look at reality).
The human imagination—when it's inspired—can provide insight into higher realities. It can even understand things that reason can't—far out.
Sorry to harsh your buzz, gang, but the human imagination isn't a better source of knowledge, and reason is the only sure way of gaining knowledge.
This theme is closely related to the first theme, "Injustice," since making people suffer is a pretty common form of injustice. For Blake, suffering didn't come into existence until humanity fell from Eden—which was a higher spiritual state of being (as opposed to, you know a literal garden). After that, humans had to live in the natural world and deal with old age, sickness, and death. But Blake's goal in "Auguries of Innocence" is to show people another way of being that exists above that. He's interested in escaping from the consequences of time—like death and aging and suffering—and re-entering an eternal reality (the same Eden from which humanity fell).
Turn that pained grimace upside-down. Suffering is helpful because it spurs us into thinking and considering our condition.
Nah, no silver linings here—keep moving. Suffering is useless and we'd be better off without it.
In "Auguries of Innocence," Blake really wants wisdom—and he wants to give it out to other people, too (free of charge, even). For him, wisdom has to do with understanding what you can and can't know, and what the limitations of human beings are. He thinks that humans can get insight into the spiritual world, but they're held back by their entrapment in a physical body and in the natural world. More importantly, they're held back by their sense of self-doubt and the fact that they don't trust their imaginations. Presumably, wisdom is supposed to help people get over these hurdles and attain something better.
There are no limits to the wisdom and knowledge we can have—none.
Eh, not so fast there Mr. Optimistic. There are a ton of limits to the wisdom and knowledge we can have, since we rely on our senses and our intellects—which might be totally wrong.