Occupying Heaven

by Rae Pinkston

The Occupy Movement that has been taking over the news and other media lately greatly resembles the fight between the Rebel Angels and God in Milton’s Paradise Lost. The way the two groups assembled, the reasons, and the ways that they fight against a force bigger than they are brings to mind the question: did the originators of the Occupy Movement base their occupation on the Rebel Angels of Paradise Lost?

When God proclaimed to all of the angels that his son will be worshiped above all the angels Satan was infuriated. That night he stayed up, unable to gain the rest of peace, because The Son had been put above him, and he could not tolerate coming in second to anything. So he came up with a plan to get his allies together and devise a way to overthrow God and take over Heaven for themselves.

New laws thou seest imposed,
New laws from Him who reigns new minds may raise
In us who serve, new counsels, to debate
What doubtful may ensue. More in this place
To utter is not safe. Assemble thou
Of all those myriads which we lead the chief. (Milton 5.679-684)

Thus, the Rebel Angels began their occupation of Heaven, and much like the occupation of Wall Street it was all started because someone in power decided to do something to further undermine the majority of the population. The Rebel Angels amassed far away from the sight of God to decide how best to go about their occupation in Heaven. This is contrary to what the Occupy Movement has done, since they assemble near where the powers of judgment lie, and on purpose. The reason they choose to do this instead of occupying the remote countryside, which is a decent analogy for where Satan and the Rebel Angels meet, is because they are trying to educate the populace about the injustices that are happening in the system. Now, while their methods of occupation differ greatly on the distance from the power with which they are fighting or trying to change, the Rebel Angels begin occupying the outskirts of Heaven for much the same reason as Occupy Together is occupying the world. They are trying to make a change in what is going on in their world, in their eyes, for the better. That is not to say that the methods of the Rebel Angels are necessarily right, they are after all trying to overthrow God and take over Heaven, but they certainly have the right to their say in the matter, why else would God have given them free will?

The methods with which the Rebel Angels fight the other angels, thus causing pain to all angel-kind, is far from the non-violent methods that the occupiers use, but it can still be seen as an allegory. The Rebel Angels tore apart the fabric of Heaven in order to create weapons with which they could use against the other angels since their swords could not injure them, not for long in anyway.

Immediate in flame,
But soon obscured with smoke, all Heav’n appeared
From those deep-throated engines belched, whose roar
Embowelled with outrageous noise in the air
And all her entrails tore disgorging foul
Their dev’lish glut: chained thunderbolts and hail
Of iron globes which on the victor host
Leveled with such impetuous fury smote
That whom they hit none on their feet might stand
Though standing else as rocks. (Milton 6.584-593)

This still applies to the Occupy Movement even though it is a non-violent movement. The reason for this is that Heaven also attacks the Rebel Angels with the same kind of weaponry. While Occupiers are non-violent there have been many instances where the police have attacked peaceful protesters with night sticks, pepper spray (notably at UC Davis), rubber bullets, tear gas, and other such riot control methods (against people NOT rioting). The unarmed protesters against such weapons are defenseless and thus the police “[Level] with impetuous fury [smitten] / That whom they hit none on their feet might stand.”

The Occupy Movement as a whole goes after a government to help change it so that the average citizen might be able to have a say in what is going on, instead of the almighty dollar. In doing this they are doing something that seems, to most, as impossible as the Rebel Angels throwing down Heaven, and while it may seem impossible that does not mean that it, in fact, is.



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2 responses to “Occupying Heaven

  1. Bailey

    Did we SERIOUSLY just compare the Occupy Movement, fighting for the equality of all in a rather risky, altruistic, peaceful fashion to SATAN’S SELFISH, VIOLENT, ‘ME FIRST’ assault? To be fair, Ive not read the work – And Ill assume a great number of potential Occupiers of the Christian faith haven’t either. Way to alienate the honest Christians that accept the metaphor for its intended ideology. Occupy is hardly akin to the hordes of hell, and this, in my humble opinion, is posted with absolutely 0 forethought as to the implications driven home to the general public. Im agnostic, so all militant sides of the paradigm seem ridiculous to me, but it also breeds empathy for the honest believers we just alienated with this nonsense. Relevant to Milton’s work or not, it doesnt take a genius to see how easily misconstrued this is. We have Christians in our Occupy ranks, and I dont hear them shitting on atheism or paganism in the name of Occupy. So many discussions of growing numbers, and goofy crap like this will shrink them. There is no question that this is a jab at those with beliefs. I don’t ask it be deleted, freedom of speech and all, but this message best be permanently fixed to this work that was written and posted with 0 empathy for the stance of others within the group.

  2. wordgeek92

    Are you really comparing yourselves to Satan and the fallen, who plotted to poison Earth and tear down heaven? And are you comparing the “1%” to god- perceived as infinite good in this poem? This will not only go over well with any christians interested in your movement, it will REALLY please the critics who claim you are all just out to get a piece of the pie for yourselves.

    Next blog, let’s use some more modern rebellion examples. The Civil war perhaps?

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