Thursday, 2 August 2007
There Is No Natural Religion
There is no Natural Religion
The Argument. Man has no notion of moral fitness but from Education. Naturally he is only a natural organ subject to Sense.
I. Man cannot naturally Perceive, but through his natural or bodily organs
II Man by his reasoning power. can only compare & judge of what he has already perceiv'd.
III. From a perception of only 3 senses or 3 elements none could deduce a fourth or fifth
IV. None could have other than natural or organic thoughts if he had none but organic perceptions
V. Mans desires are limited by his perceptions. none can desire what he has not perceiv'd
VI. The desires & perceptions of man untaught by any thing but organs of sense, must be limited to objects of sense.
Conclusion. If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic character the Philosophic & Experimental would soon be at the ratio of all things & stand still unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again
I. Mans perceptions are not bounded by organs of perception; he perceives more than sense (tho' ever so acute) can discover.
II. Reason or the ratio of all we have already known. is not the same that it shall be when we know more.
IV. The bounded is loathed by its possessor. The same dull round even of a universe would soon become a mill with complicated wheels.
V. If the many become the same as the few, when possess'd, More! More! is the cry of a mistaken soul, less than All cannot satisfy Man.
VI. If any could desire what he is incapable of possessing, despair must be his eternal lot.
VII. The desire of Man being Infinite the possession is Infinite & himself Infinite.
Application. He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only.
Therefore God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is.
William Blake 1788
Blake's method of engraving (which he invented in 1788) lays field over field of colour, the result being almost gem-like: the pages of his books seem to create light, rather than reflect it. I have never seen a reproduction, even the most expensive, which comes anywhere near to catching the effect.
Still... above is Newton, ratiocinating away, hunched up against a teeming infinity of colour.
Blake and his wife are buried in the Dissenters' graveyard at Bunhill Fields, just off Moorgate in London.
The photograph looks rather tidy. Visitors leave seashells, little pieces of driftwood, and flowers around the grave. I and my mistress of seven years left a scallop shell there, on one of the happiest days we had together.