Saturday, February 04, 2012


British Museum
Illustration to Young's Night Thoughts

Jared Diamond's book Collapse attempts to alert the public to the choices made by societies which cause them to collapse. He
primarily identifies issues involving environmental changes which effect the continuation of the conditions which sustain the society.

Page 23, Plan of the Book
"Chapter 14 asks the perplexing question arising from every past society that has ended up by destroying itself, and that will perplex future earthlings if we too end up destroying ourselves: how could a society fail to have seen the dangers that seem so clear in retrospect? Can we say that their end was the inhabitants' own fault, or instead that they were the tragic victims of insoluble problems? How much past environmental damage was unintentional and imperceptible, and how much was perversely wrought by people acting in full awareness of the consequences?"

Blake was interested in the same issues as Diamond but from another perspective. Blake saw the fall of Man from the original garden in Eden as the cause of the symptoms of society expressed in war, tyranny, poverty and oppression. Blake's concern was more with the inner circumstance which led to collapse rather than the outer ones. But Blake's analysis of the mental patterns which would need changing if a just, equitable and sustainable society could emerge are not far from Diamond's understanding of causes of collapse.

Blake's observations of destructive patterns of thought:
1) Being wedded to a rigid paradigm which was opposed to change,

2) Continuing in the same erroneous behavior even when the results were unproductive,

3) Failing to use the imagination to seek resolutions beyond the present options,

4) Neglecting to recognise that brotherhood or cooperation could change outcomes,

5) Inability to perceive the Divine Vision through which mankind could become one body,

6) Looking for outward solutions when inner turmoil was the root of problems,

7) Clinging to the vengefulness of the Selfhood when forgiveness offered a new beginning.

Jerusalem, Plate 36 [40], (E 181)
"Upon the hills & valleys, and the cloudy Oath roll'd far and wide

Albion is sick! said every Valley, every mournful Hill
And every River: our brother Albion is sick to death.
He hath leagued himself with robbers! he hath studied the arts
Of unbelief! Envy hovers over him! his Friends are his abhorrence!
Those who give their lives for him are despised!
Those who devour his soul, are taken into his bosom!
To destroy his Emanation is their intention:
Arise! awake O Friends of the Giant Albion
They have perswaded him of horrible falshoods!
They have sown errors over all his fruitful fields!

The Twenty-four heard! they came trembling on watry chariots.
Borne by the Living Creatures of the third procession
Of Human Majesty, the Living Creatures wept aloud as they
Went along Albions roads, till they arriv'd at Albions House."

1 comment:

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