Tag Archives: William Blake

Family Circus Meets Friedrich Nietzsche

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.     Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.   It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them! A truly brilliant website where … Continue reading

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William Blake on Doubt

William Blake, in his “Auguries of Innocence” (early 1800s), has these lines on doubt:  He who mocks the Infant’s Faith Shall be mockd in Age & Death. He who shall teach the Child to Doubt The rotting Grave shall ne’er get … Continue reading

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“It is right it should be so”? William Blake and the Problem of Suffering

In the below lines from “Auguries of Innocence” (written in the first decade of the 1800s) William Blake suggests that suffering and joy are necessarily woven together—and are, metaphorically, the clothing of the soul. But why suffering must accompany joy … Continue reading

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Whistling in the Dark: How Religion—and Its Not-So Distant Cousins (Irony, Humor, Science, and Being Together With Others)—Works to Make the Horror of Life Almost Tolerable

Most of the claims made by institutional religions are absurd. But here is why religion will always be with us: Religion is an absurd response to the absurd. Only when the world ceases to be absurd will religion cease to be absurd. Christopher Hitchens often … Continue reading

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Bearing Witness to the Holocaust: Two Children Killed at Treblinka

The image below was taken in the 1930s. Both of these children died at Treblinka. For details on their story, see the US Holocaust Museum photo archives here.

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From Romanticism to Decadent Romanticism—in Four Minutes!

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A Man Experiences a Second Birth (But Don’t Try This at Home)

Watching the clip below, I couldn’t help but think of the bindings and loosings in Blake’s poetry, and one line especially (from his poem, “Infant Sorrow”): Into the dangerous world I lept. Anyway, it’s a bit nervy to watch, but also … Continue reading

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William Blake’s “To Nobodaddy” (A Poem from His Notebook)

                      Why art thou silent & invisible Father of Jealousy Why dost thou hide thyself in clouds From every searching Eye   Why darkness & obscurity In all thy words … Continue reading

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“A Shallow and Damagogic Politician”: Conservative Writer, Noah Millman, Sours on Palin, and Alludes, Alas, to William Blake

On Wednesday, Noah Millman confessed his disappointment with Sarah Palin, likening his response to her as a movement from Blakean innocence to sober experience. Money quote: [P]retty much everything she has said or done since her appearance on the national stage – beginning … Continue reading

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“I must have been out of my f—ing mind.” Lisa Marie Presley on Her Marriage to Michael Jackson

Lisa Marie Presley turned forty in 2008. And at forty, things look different. Presley on her marriage to Michael Jackson: That was probably the biggest mistake of my life. I was really naive at the time. I was in la-la … Continue reading

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Creation v. Evolution Metaphor Watch: An Intelligent Design Analogy from Egypt, 13th Century BCE

On papyrus dated to the reign of Pharoah Ramesses II (13th century BCE), is a cycle of poems called The Leiden Hymns. These hymns have a pseudo-monotheistic tone, portraying Amun, the sun god, as first and chief god of the … Continue reading

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Innocence to Experience: A Micro-Story That Could Be Turned into a Triptych, by Santi Tafarella

  Beneath a dormant tree, in brown, eggshell crisp leaves, a child found a white branch with a red blossom. The branch bent in the middle, and the child, to hold it together, presented it to her mother with both … Continue reading

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Howard Roark Laughed—and So Did Gilgamesh: Nietzschean Creators v. Advice from the Herd

In William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” on plate 9, there is this aphorism: The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow, nor the lion, the horse, how he shall take his prey. In other … Continue reading

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“The Vision of Christ That Thou Dost See”: William Blake on the Many Faces of Jesus

Here are the last fourteen lines of William Blake’s “The Everlasting Gospel”: The Vision of Christ that thou dost see Is my Vision’s Greatest Enemy. Thine has a great hook nose like thine; Mine has a snub nose like to … Continue reading

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World Literature’s First Existentialist Musings: Before Ecclestiastes, Hamlet, Dostoevsky, and Camus, There was The Epic of Gilgamesh

At the start of Part 2 of the Epic of Gilgamesh, when Enkidu and Gilgamesh have now become friends, Enkidu tells Gilgamesh: The father of the gods has given you kingship, such is your destiny, everlasting life is not your destiny. … Continue reading

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Is Dionysus Jesus?: Euripides’s Bakkhai

Euripides’ Bakkhai is an extraordinary play, and functions on many fascinating levels. At one level it can be read as an indictment of rationalism, and a warning to the audience against atheism. Toward the beginning of the play, the lead … Continue reading

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Escher’s Ants on a Mobius Strip: Blake’s Moving Image of Eternity, Kafka’s prison, or Dostoevsky’s Spider?

The number “8,” placed upon its side, is the symbol for infinity (as perhaps many of us remember from the Schoolhouse Rock song). And if we think of the Schoolhouse Rock video that accompanies the song, in which a young girl, as day rolls … Continue reading

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William Blake: Image of Firefighters

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Jacob and the angel–or Enkidu and Gilgamesh

The Gilgamesh Epic embodies the tensions between order and wildness, not in the gods Apollo and Dionysus, as Nietzsche claims that the ancient Greeks do, but in the god-like characters of Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Gilgamesh is a city-dwelling ruler of a … Continue reading

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