Fearful Symmetry

12 Feb 2022 06:39 - 17 Jun 2023 08:29
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    • Been awhile since I read this but the thing I remember most is his insistence that Blake was a visionary, not a mystic, and the two things are very different, almost opposites really.
    • The case against Locke

      • William Blake had a very worked-out antirationalism, expressed most directly here:
      • I see the Four-fold Man, The Humanity in deadly sleep And its fallen Emanation, the Spectre and its cruel Shadow. I see the Past, Present and Future existing all at once Before me. O Divine Spirit, sustain me on thy wings, That I may awake Albion from his long and cold repose; For Bacon and Newton, sheath'd in dismal steel, their terrors hang Like iron scourges over Albion: reasonings like vast serpents Infold around my limbs, bruising my minute articulations.
      • 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.
    • Random

      • One of the most striking things about Blake is his genius at crystallization.
        • p5
        • Yes that is one of the things that makes Blake particularly appealing to me, this radically compactified meaning has something of the same power and appeal of a powerful abstraction in a computational system.
      • My attempt to reword Frye's picture of Blake as a thinker:
        • memory is opposed to imagination, hence bad. this includes Lockean ideas about the mind, which I think are roughly equivalent to cogsci representationalism.
        • Blake was an extremist in his views; either you were with him or an enemy on the side of Locke and Newton and cold limiting reason. Middle-of-the-roaders get run down.
        • Blake's vision of Christianity, of Jesus as similarly a visionary.
        • Artistic creation is the only thing that matters. You are either a creator or an enemy of creation. (Or a nothing NPC I suppose).
        • Blake had a very worked-out and detailed theory of psychology and esthetics and much else.
        • Obstinancy and maintaining what he believed to be true was itself one of his leading principles
          • (p13)