Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fearul Symmetry

“What,” it will be Question'd, “When the Sun rises, do you not see a round disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea?” O no, no, I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”

"The Hallelujah-Chorus perception of the sun makes it a far more real sun than the guinea-sun, because more imagination has gone into perceiving it. Why, then, should intelligent men reject its reality? Because they hope that in the guinea-sun they will find their least common denominator and arrive at a common agreement which will point the way to a reality about the sun independent of their perception of it. The guinea-sun is a sensation assimilated to a general, impersonal, abstract idea. Blake can see it if he wants to, but when he sees the angels, he is not seeing more “in” the sun but more of it. He does not see it “emotionally:” There is greater emotional intensity in his perception, but it is not an emotional perception: such a thing is impossible, and to the extent that it is possible it would produce only a confided and maudlin blur-which is exactly what the guinea-sun of “common sense” is. He sees all that he can see of all that he wants to see; the perceivers of the guinea-sun see all that they want to see of all that they can see.

[...]Blake calls the sum of experiences common to normal minds the 'ratio.”

Northrope Frye, "Fearul Symmetry: A Study of William Blake."

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