Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Friday, August 2, 2013


British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
It was a bit of a surprise to find in Jill Bolte Taylor's book My Stroke of Insight material which dramatically conforms with William Blake's system of thought. Taylor, a PhD researcher in brain anatomy, relates her experiences in suffering a stroke and recovering from it. Her understanding of brain structure and functioning provides a unique perspective on the process of recovering what she had lost through the massive hemorrhage in her brain. The damage to her left hemisphere afforded her the opportunity to experience from inside what she knew from her studies about what the two sides of our brains provide us.

The connection with William Blake is obvious when we contrast the functioning of Los and Urizen as examples of right and left brain dominance in thinking. Without Taylor's knowledge of anatomy or study of brain physiology, Blake described in poetic terms the dichotomy between the two ways the brain receives and processes  the mass of data with which it is bombarded.

My Stroke of Insight, Page 30:
"To the right mind, no time exists other than the present moment, and each moment is vibrant with sensation. Life or death occurs in the present moment. The experience of joy happens in the present moment. Our perception and experience of connection with something greater than ourselves occurs in the present moment...
In the absence of all the rules and regulations that have already been defined as the correct way of doing something, our right mind is free to think intuitively outside the box, and it creatively explores the possibilities that each moment brings. By its design, our right  mind is spontaneous, carefree and imaginative. It allows our artistic juices to flow free without inhibitions or judgement. 
The present moment is a time when everything and everyone are connected together as one. As a result, our right mind perceives each of us as equal members of the human family."

Los experiences these moments in which the poet's work is accomplished by using the right side of his brain. He is not wedded to a solidified paradigm through which to perceive the world but experiences the real and Eternal world through his imagination.

Milton, Plate 28 [30], (E 126)
"But others of the Sons of Los build Moments & Minutes & Hours
And Days & Months & Years & Ages & Periods; wondrous buildings   
And every Moment has a Couch of gold for soft repose,
(A Moment equals a pulsation of the artery)    
And between every two Moments stands a Daughter of Beulah
To feed the Sleepers on their Couches with maternal care.
And every Minute has an azure Tent with silken Veils.         
And every Hour has a bright golden Gate carved with skill.
And every Day & Night, has Walls of brass & Gates of adamant,
Shining like precious stones & ornamented with appropriate signs:"
Milton, Plate 28 [30], (E 127)
"Every Time less than a pulsation of the artery
Is equal in its period & value to Six Thousand Years.
Plate 29 [31]
For in this Period the Poets Work is Done: and all the Great
Events of Time start forth & are concievd in such a Period
Within a Moment: a Pulsation of the Artery."
Jerusalem, Plate 77, (E 231)
"I know of no other
Christianity and of no other Gospel than the liberty both of body
& mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination.   
  Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
are no more."
Four Zoas, Night II, Page 34, (E 322)
"For Los & Enitharmon walkd forth on the dewy Earth      
Contracting or expanding their all flexible senses               
At will to murmur in the flowers small as the honey bee
At will to stretch across the heavens & step from star to star
Or standing on the Earth erect, or on the stormy waves
Driving the storms before them or delighting in sunny beams
While round their heads the Elemental Gods kept harmony"

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