William Blake (1757-1827)

At some time in the future, possibly in our lifetimes, we may find that our appreciation of science and technology may be eroded should the planetary ecosystem begin to unravel as the Earth warms. A new philosophy may emerge that rejects the value of science if very dangerous climate change becomes the ‘new normal’ and if catastrophic conditions become unavoidable.
The current need is to change our socio-economic and political systems so that we can strongly mitigate environmental impacts. In this context, we may recall the art and ideas of William Blake (1757-1827) who was regarded as somewhat mad and idiosyncratic by his peers. Regardless of his earlier reputation, Blake appears unique and clear in his criticisms of the logical worldview. At the heart of this criticism is a deep appreciation and feeling for ‘complementary opposites’ in human experience; the main example being ‘logic and imagination’. The logical mind would regard the imagination as the weaker and the ‘illogical’ component of the mind. Whereas the integrated view, of Yin and Yang, would regard them both equally important and entirely dependent on each other for human consciousness and compassion.
Though ‘complementary opposites’ have existed in Eastern traditions for many many centuries (i.e. the Yin and Yang) the western world is less attuned to the general importance of dynamic balance in complex and natural systems (such as the economy). Here we quote William Blake, and we should ask ourselves will he be proven right? Or will civilisation embrace a new worldview before it destroys the planet and itself?

“Art is the Tree of Life. Science is the Tree of Death.”

William Blake [1].

Burwick, Frederick (1986) The Damnation of Newton: Goethe’s Color Theory and Romantic Perception. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 0-89925-207-9 Page 8