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.
[III. lacking]
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.


OHara said...

I like this post but it requires far more thinking than my brain can generate at this late hour. It is something I must return to after my break.

Chertiozhnik said...

I think you already thought it, in your Old Soul Song post - so I, unable to add anything original, cut'n'pasted from WB instead.

Your talking with your son suddenly brought "Newton" to mind, then my mistress, then the Natural Religion text.

Train of thought running on track laid down by the same rolling English drunkard who made the rolling English road :)

OHara said...

Ah now I see.
I have never come across Blake's criticism of Newton before.
So you did understand the title/post. I'm kind of saying that too much rationality takes the magic out of living. 'Reason's slave'.

Chertiozhnik said...

As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity. I collected some of their Proverbs: thinking that as the sayings used in a nation, mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell, shew the nature of Infernal wisdom better than any description of buildings or garments.

When I came home; on the abyss of the five senses, where a flat sided steep frowns over the present world. I saw a mighty Devil folded in black clouds, hovering on the sides of the rock, with corroding fires he wrote the following sentence now percieved by the minds of men, & read by them on earth.

How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?

From the "Marriage of Heaven and Hell", which I've just started reading again. As Baloo the bear said, I'm gone, man, solid gone.

OHara said...

I can see that Blake needs some investigating. But you really need to get yourself a comic book ;)