Thursday, March 24, 2011


Newton's laws of motion epitomized the thought forms to which Blake so strongly objected. Blake believed the world to be a product of man's own intellect and imagination. His world was infinite - but expanding and contracting according to circumstances. Newtonian physics fixed and limited the possibilities of viewing the world and of receiving input from outside the five senses. Blake felt that Newton by describing the planetary system as bodies in fixed orbits controlled by defined forces destroyed the possibility of perceiving symbolic meaning in them communicated from beyond the physical world. Blake refused to think of the sun and moon and stars as material objects which demonstrated laws of motion when he could think of them as messages from God or remnants of the fall of Man.

The world in which Blake dwelt was closer to the world as conceived by Einstein and quantum physicists: a world in which time and space are flexible, in which multiple descriptions may apply to the same phenomena, in which measuring itself is an intervention which alters the object measured.

Sir Isaac Newton, c.1795
As always Blake was concerned with the use to which ideas were put. It wasn't the validity of Newton's observations that bothered him but the fact that they were stated as laws. This validated their use to describe a clockwork universe which operated as a machine whereas Blake's universe operated as a living body. Blake has a totally different way of describing the universe in terms of beings, kingdoms, the Mundane Shell and caverns blocked by the fires of Los. Newton measures the the stars by material dimensions; Blake measures matter by the stars between which are Newton's voids.

Milton , PLATE 37 [41], (E 138)
"All these are seen in Miltons Shadow who is the Covering Cherub
The Spectre of Albion in which the Spectre of Luvah inhabits
In the Newtonian Voids between the Substances of Creation

For the Chaotic Voids outside of the Stars are measured by
The Stars, which are the boundaries of Kingdoms, Provinces
And Empires of Chaos invisible to the Vegetable Man
The Kingdom of Og. is in Orion: Sihon is in Ophiucus
Og has Twenty-seven Districts; Sihons Districts Twenty-one
From Star to Star, Mountains & Valleys, terrible dimension
Stretchd out, compose the Mundane Shell, a mighty Incrustation
Of Forty-eight deformed Human Wonders of the Almighty
With Caverns whose remotest bottoms meet again beyond
The Mundane Shell in Golgonooza, but the Fires of Los, rage
In the remotest bottoms of the Caves, that none can pass
Into Eternity that way, but all descend to Los
To Bowlahoola & Allamanda & to Entuthon Benython

The Heavens are the Cherub, the Twelve Gods are Satan"

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