Kos Omk Essay

4254 WordsFeb 6, 201318 Pages
Innocence and Experience The subtitle of Songs of Innocence and Experience is ‘Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul’. The word ‘contrary’ had a very specific and important meaning for Blake. Like almost all great poets, he was an enemy of dualism. For two thousand five hundred years Western thought has been intensely dualistic, seeing everything as composed of warring opposites, head and heart, body and spirit, male and female, human and non-human, life and death, innocence and experience, good and evil, heaven and hell, as though the split between the hemispheres of the human brain were projecting itself on everything perceived by that brain. Even worse than dualism itself is the tendency consequent upon it in Western culture to make absolute judgements between the contraries, accepting, praising, empowering one, rejecting, suppressing, attempting to exterminate the other. If we praise spirit, it has to be at the expense of body. The rebel goes to the opposite extreme and praises body at the expense of spirit. In Blake’s time dualism had taken the Christian churches into the spiritually sterile cul-de-sac of preoccupation with sin, defined in obsessively sexual terms. Emily Brontë was to expose the cruelty to children of such people as the puritan Joseph in Wuthering Heights, whose vocation it was ‘to be where there was plenty of sin to reprove’. The Churches seemed to Blake the worst enemies of any true religion. Dualistic thinking is so built into our ordinary language, and the language of philosophy and theology, that the words hardly exist to enable us to think non-dualistically, holistically, that is in terms of systems, patterns, relationships, correspondences. But poetry is such a non-dualistic language, which is why poetry is invariably metaphorical, and the poet is the connection-man and healer. The language and vision not

More about Kos Omk Essay

Open Document