William Blake, a pioneer of persons, was born 250 years ago. A commemoration at The Guardian says Blake was ‘poet, prophet and public activist‘.
“Politics today is largely a question of management and administration. Blake, by contrast, viewed the political as inseparable from art, ethics, sexuality and the imagination. It was about the emancipation of desire, not its manipulation.
“Desire for him was an infinite delight, and his whole project was to rescue it from the repressive regime of priests and kings. His sense of how sexuality can turn pathological through repression is strikingly close to Freud’s. To see the body as it really is, free from illusion and ideology, is to see that its roots run down to eternity.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
“Political states keep power by convincing us of our limitations.
“They do so, too, by persuading us to be “moderate”; Blake, however, was not enamored of the third way.
“He sees that Jesus’ ethics are extravagant, hostile to the calculative spirit of the utilitarians. If they ask for your coat, give them your cloak; if they ask you to walk one mile, walk two.
“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom, and those who restrain their desires do so because their desires are feeble enough to be restrained.”
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.