William Blake

30 Oct 2021 02:15 - 17 Jun 2023 08:29
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    • One of the most striking things about Blake is his genius at crystallization. – Fearful Symmetry
    • Urizen is the principle of excessively cutting intellect, a destructive or negative intellect so solidified or impacted that it doesn't allow for any feeling or bodily rest or richness or generosity of imaginative space.
      • – Allen Ginsberg, Your Reason and Blake's System, p20
    • All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors. 1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul. 2. That Energy, called Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, called Good, is alone from the Soul. 3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies. But the following Contraries to these are True 1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld Body is a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age. 2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. 3. Energy is Eternal Delight. (Plate 4, E34)
      • The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
    • Readings

      • William Blake Now: Why He Matters More Than Ever, Higgs
        • Short and sturdy introduction, read it a 2nd time to refresh myself.
        • I liked this framing:
          • Blake was born in the Age of Enlightenment, with rejected the medieval idea that our most important value was faith. Instead, reason was declared to be primary...For Blake, this wasn't going far enough. Reason was important, but it was only a small, bounded part of what the mind was capable of. Blake recognized that it was imagination, not reason, that was fundamental, because reason was only a product of the imagination.
        • "Imagination" in Blake's use being something more than mere fantasy, more like the divine power of the mind to create.
        • Ends with Blake's relevance to British culture and self-image in age of Brexit, which is fine but a bit outside of my concerns.
      • Blame it on Blake, Rabinowitz
      • Nice intro to Urizen
    • "Cogs Tyrannic"

      • I turn my eyes to the schools and universities of Europe And there behold the Loom of Locke, whose Woof rages dire, Wash'd by the Water-wheels of Newton: black the cloth In heavy wreaths folds over every nation: cruel works Of many Wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic, Moving by compulsion each other; not as those in Eden, which, Wheel within wheel, in freedom revolve, in harmony and peace.
        • Jerusalem
      • It՚s not that “machines are bad because they have parts that move each other”, although that is certainly a possible reading. He՚s not an engineer, so these wheels aren՚t real wheels, they are metaphors for the human spirit. It isn՚t so terrible if a gear turns another gear, but it is terrible if a human is solely driven by external forces and has no freedom or autonomy.
      • OTOH – Blake is sensitive to the metaphorical resonances, that if we build machines with parts that “compel” others, then that relationship is probably to be found in human relationships as well.