Archive | December 2018

Blake’s Fourfold Vision and “The Glow of Awareness”

Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me;
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold Always. May God us keep
From Single vision & Newton’s sleep!

Yesterday I took some time to listen to the two podcasts of the John Cleese-Iain McGilchrist interviews hosted recently by Harper’s Magazine (November 27 and 28, I believe. The sound quality of the second podcast is quite poor, though). Although, I think, there were no new revelations not otherwise found in McGilchrist’s book The Master and His Emissary, their mention of the works of biologist Rupert Sheldrake did trigger a few recollections. And then something I read this morning in Quartz about the science of consciousness suggested to me another avenue of approach to understanding the meaning of Blake’s “fourfold vision” and the quadrilateral. 

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The Revolution Eats Its Own

Revolutions break out when an old order has already stagnated — when the social energies that we call “inspiration” have already been spent and exhausted of any further possibility of articulation or expression. What an older generation calls “the preference for the familiar” a newer generation calls, rather, “the same dull round” of merely routinised, conventional, and decadent life and being. To call an old order “degenerate” is to say that it is incapable any longer of generating any kind of creative life, and has already exceeded its shelf-life and sell-by date.

Revolutions break out, in other words, when an old order has already become a corpse, or merely mechanical and machine-like in its functions. And in a time when even many conservatives think of themselves as “revolutionaries”, it pays to clear up some of the mental fog (sometimes deliberate mental fog) that accompanies these terms “revolutionary” and “reactionary”, which also correspond to the “prejective” (future) and “trajective” (past) fronts of Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality”.

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On Reading Georges Sorel’s Reflections on Violence

In between my reading and re-reading of Aurobindo’s The Human Cycle, I’ve also been reading George Sorel’s Reflections on Violence. Given the events of the day, this early 20th century theoretician of what we might call “the romance of violence” (or “apocalyptic” violence) and of the utility of the political myth seems rather current again, and much of the current violence in social affairs descends from the influence of Sorel’s book. 

(Sorel is mentioned also in one or two places in Rosenstock-Huessy’s social philosophy).

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