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Tag Archives: William Blake
William Blake is a poet, not a metaphysician. When someone writes with aphorism, irony, and wild and flamboyant system building (as Blake and Nietzsche did), they are mocking essentialism; they’re showing that language is infinite; that there are a gazillion … Continue reading
Below are two couplets of flower power yin-yang from Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,” written in 1850 when she was aged nineteen. Insofar as anybody knows, it’s the first poem she’d ever written … Continue reading
From the third chapter of William Blake’s poem, Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion (plate 60, lines 52-64): O Lord & Savior, have the Gods of the Heathen pierced thee? Or hast thou been pierced in the House of thy Friends? Art … Continue reading
Concerning the moon’s origin, the Los Angeles Times today tells the basic scientific story with admirable clarity: The Earth and moon formed after the proto-Earth collided with another huge planetary body, sometimes referred to as Theia. […] Two planets, one Earth-sized … Continue reading
Art, by my definition, is a report of what the lightning said. It’s bound up with the ontological mystery (the mystery of being itself); an artist’s attempt to represent to others an experience of that mystery (what it feels like … Continue reading
Startling the mind of a child (or a vulnerable adult) with threats of hell is manipulative and, yes, even abusive. I see no sense in denying it. But there is a premise that underlies the condemnation of hell preaching that deserves scrutiny: … Continue reading
Thinking about Symmetry via Stuart Kauffman, William Blake, AR Ammons, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Robert Frost—and My Wife
Biologist Stuart Kauffman blogs for the National Public Radio (NPR) website, and recently wrote a post reflecting on the universe’s symmetry breaking: To begin at the beginning, . . . The universe started extremely hot, dense, and essentially uniform, or isotropic. Perhaps all four … Continue reading
Earlier this week, there was a mind-bending New York Times article on gravity that also touched on the possibility that we live in a holographic universe. Here is one of the key passages from the New York Times article explaining the so-called … Continue reading
Sam Harris has of late generated a lot of public discussion by reopening this can of worms: In the realm of values, is Hume right that no “is” should be governing our “oughts”? Put another way: Can science ever really arbitrate a human moral question? If science, for … Continue reading
No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert. What is a course of history, or philosophy, or poetry, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what … Continue reading
After the gorilla’s existentialist period of Camus-like despair, I suppose that the next episode will be devoted to his religious conversion: a trainer comforts the gorilla by convincing him that he doesn’t really die—but nevertheless might go to hell if he … Continue reading
And an instrument in a Jeep:
And with heartbreaking power:
Slate recently reviewed the film version of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and reported that watching it is—how shall I put this politiely?—emotionally problematic: The Boy and Man on the road, nameless in the long-dead world. Their cart and tarp and tins … Continue reading
There will always be atheists in the world—so I’m not talking about a demographic trend. I don’t know where atheism is heading with the masses. For all I know, it may be growing faster than any other idea in the world. Go team! … Continue reading
A biographer of William Blake discusses Blake’s take on materialist reduction and the nature of mind:
An image of the Andromeda Galaxy from a book published in 1899: The Andromeda Galaxy is still there. The person who made its image is long gone. What traces of your actions will still be in this world a hundred years from … Continue reading
As Non-Empirical Languages, Do Philosophical Systems Have Greater Epistemic Validity Than Theological Systems?
I would say no. When we are dealing with non-empirical (that is, non-scientific) languages, I don’t think that you can give substantially greater epistemic weight to the conclusions of philosophers over those of theologians. When I think of some of the … Continue reading
“I am deluded by the turning mills”: How William Blake Might Have Responded to Richard Dawkins’s “The God Delusion”
From the third chapter of William Blake’s poem, Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion (plate 60, lines 52-64): O Lord & Savior, have the Gods of the Heathen pierced thee? Or hast thou been pierced in the House of … Continue reading