Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blake's Disciples

People or groups show discipleship of someone by expressing that person's values. We might look at four occurrences of Blake's disciples:

1. The Shoreham Ancients:
"a group of English artists who were brought together by their attraction to archaism in art and admiration for the work of William Blake."

2. The Flower Children: In terms of two of Blake's most sacred values the Sixties saw perhaps the first generation of Blakeans; they were the antiwar movement and sexual liberty. The promiscuity of a few of the flower children represented the most excessive expression of Blake's witness to sexual freedom. In the long term it led to a healthier level of association between men and women.

The sixties saw the first generation of true Blakeans (people who patterned their lives after Blake's tenents) in the San Francisco area. But the seventies brought recession, and many of them lapsed into the materialistic pretensions of their elders.

The anti-war fever that broke out in the late sixties was an eloquent witness to one of Blake's primary values. Since "
Whitefield & Westley" a handful of our fellow men have witnessed to the destructive futility of War (chief among them are the Quakers). Hence they might be thought of as the third group among Blake's disciples.

Re the Peace Witness one might more properly say that Blake was a disciple of the Quakers, although strangely enough he never saw fit to mention them, and few Quakers of my acquaintance today see fit to mention him.)

Finally (4th) there are a growing number of us who just love Blake. We love his values; I love his courage to choose at a critical time in his life to choose Art ("A Poet a Painter a Musician an Architect: the Man Or Woman who is not one of these is not a Christian You must leave Fathers & Mothers & Houses & Lands if they stand in the way of ART";E274) over materialistic desires. The overt evidence of that came when he went back to London after his 'three years' on the coast. He had the same courage that Albert Schweitzer had when he gave up fame and fortune to give help to the most needy (in darkest Africa).

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