St Peter, St. James, Beatrice and Dante, St. John Descending - Tate Britain Exhibition 2020 - photograph by writer.
In your bosom you bear your heaven and earth and all you behold; tho'it appears without, it is within, in your imagination'.
'Like many of Blake's statements, this can seem bewildering and mystical at first glance, but when we reread it we see that Blake was being clear and concise.' (John Higgs, Blake vs the World, Ch. 4).
All that exists in the material world started as an idea in someone's imagination. Now that we live in such a provided-for physically built environment, and since the industrial revolution, its possible to believe in only the material world, things we can see and touch, which are already there. Blake foresaw the demise of belief in the inner creativity, the mystical, spiritual or creative experiences; just as the demise of religious dogmas was in the ascendent during the Enlightenment and Newton's physics brought the age of scientism. In The Book of Urizen Blake illustrates his concern that reasoning and laws of science limit infinite possibility. [My post on Urizen]
"Spread a Tent, with strong curtains around them
Let cords and stakes bind the void
that Eternals may no more behold them."
They began to weave curtains of darkness
They erected large pillars around the Void
With golden hooks fastened in the pillars
With infinite labour the Eternals
A woof wove, and called it Science
Much of Blake's poetry and artwork is built upon his insight that "without contraries there is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate are necessary to Human existence."
"...contraries and oppositions - love and hate, expansion and contraction, opaqueness and translucence, reason and energy, attraction and repulsion, these are the poles of his world, where 'Without Contraries is no progression'. He establishes pairs and couples within his poetry and his art; his painted objects are often placed in symmetry with each other, just as his epic verse is heavily imbued with parallelism and antithesis. In his greatest work he creates giant forms that contain his own contradictory impulses and private oppositions; he establishes a 'bounding line of art or poetry that does not unite contraries but allows them to exist in harmony beside each other."
[Blake Vs The World. Find page]page]
The very definition of one aspect of being implies the other exists; described by the 600BC philosopher Lao Tsu:
'Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.'
Any concept has its own accompanying concept to define the degrees of either. Mathematica Universalis (http://heurist.org) works with conjugates, listing abstracts such as 'actuality and possibility', 'enfold/unfold' amongst many. In the context of their extensions into humanity, he further describes them as having depth as the 'male' agency of focus and action, and the wider scope, the 'female' societal integration. Depth and scope are tangential to each other.
The Philosophy of Anaxagoras - 500BC - c.428BC
Blake's 'contraries' were expressed as the harmony of the relationship of opposites; a yin-yang balance of conditions. e.g. hot/cold, near/far. The terms are not opposites, but conjugates; one aspect of a condition, always being in a certain proportion to another aspect. Abstractly, any proportion of an experienced or observed condition, will have a counterpart which is less or more of its conjugate. They are not always in balance, rarely, as their very definition is bound by their distance from their conjugate. Anaxagoras understood the interrelation of all things, by their having elements of their counterpart. "Anaxagoras apparently realized those opposites not as "qualities," but as things as things of spatial extensiveness.’"
Whilst imagination is the root of everything, within all developed civilizations, a development which harms humanity sometimes happens. British philosopher Owen Barfield (worked with C S Lewis and J R R Tolkein), said we must take responsibility with imagination. In modern times responsibility is only now being taken by individuals into the evils which science has imagined and now is being meshed with us: imaginative ideas of mad scientists, biotechtopian plans for a technofied humanity with no sensible control.
Further Reading on the imagination and 'contraries'.
Returning to the Essential: Selected Writings of Jean Bies
Chapter 19 : The Harmonics of Unity.
'...Antagonisms are complementary, that the entire universe, in its microscopic aspects, is where these never-ending transmutation of a unique energy, of every more complex attractions and repulsions occur. It results in the unification of the contradictory aspects of Reality: continuous-discontinuous, seperable-insperable, living-nonlivng, permanent-impermanent. It reveals that all phenomena are of a communicative and interactive nature.'
'At the very heart of the matter recent explorations have revealed other conciliations, such as the one of waves and corpuscles, in which one aspect or another prevails according to the situation. The “inseparability” of phenomena illustrates the fact that although very distant, these phenomena can act among themselves as if there was no distance between them. It makes you wonder whether, at a certain level of the Real, instantaneous relationships exist between all the points in the universe.'
[The aspect William Blake refers to is the natural regulation of one aspect being defined by the lack or difference. Warm is only so because it has less cold. Light is only so because it has less dark... etc.]