You don’t Believe
Later Poems ( 1800–1810)
( Blake critique Newton qui donne trop de place à la raison, mais aussi ceux qui croient sans douter …….)
You don’t believe - I won’t attempt to make ye :
Vous ne croyez pas – Je ne vais pas essayer de vous y amener
You are asleep - I won’ t attempt to wake ye.
Vous êtes endormi Je ne vais pas essayer de vous réveiller
Sleep on, Sleep on ! while in your pleasant dreams
Dormir, dormir pendant que dans vos rêves agréables
Of Reason you may drink of Life’s clear streams.
De la Raison vous pouvez boire des ruisseaux clairs de la vie
Reason and Newton, they are quite two things;
Raison et Newton sont tout à fait deux choses
For so the Swallow & the Sparrow sings.
Car ainsi l'hirondelle et le moineau chante
Reason says “Miracle”: Newton says “Doubt”
La raison dit «miracle». Newton dit "doute"
Aye ! that’s the way to make all Nature out.
Aye c'est la voix pour ouvrir toute la nature.
“Doubt, Doubt & dont believe without experiment” :
doute, doute et ne pas croire sans expérience
That is the very thing that Jesus meant,
C'est la chose même que Jésus a voulu dire
When he said, “Only Believe ! Believe & try !
Quand il a dit, «crois seulement! Croire et essayer!
“Try, Try & never mind the Reason why.”
"essayer! essayer et peut importe la raison"
Le message de Blake est en accord avec les philosophies universelles :
« je vous ai enseigné à ne pas croire simplement d'après ce qui vous a été dit, mais conformément à votre expérience personnelle, et puis à agir en conséquence et généreusement. » Bouddha
« Ce que je vous demande, c'est d'ouvrir votre esprit,
non de croire. » Krishnamurti
Blake reconnaissait le génie scientifique de Newton, mais refusait la supériorité de la raison sur l’esprit,
Principe 2 (All religions are one)
”As all men are alike in outward form, So (and with the same infinite variety) all are alike in the Poetic”
De même que tous les hommes sont semblables par la forme extérieure, de même (et avec la même infinie variété) ils sont tous semblables par le Génie Poétique.
Mais il reste en accord avec la science.
Einstein l’aurait, peut-être, moins dérangé :
"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
― Albert Einstein
"C’est, bien sûr, un mensonge ce que vous lisez de mes convictions religieuses, un mensonge qui est systématiquement répété. Je ne crois pas à un Dieu personnel et je ne l’ai jamais nié mais l'ai exprimé clairement. S’il est quelque chose est en moi qui peux être appelé religieux alors c'est l'admiration illimitée pour la structure du monde autant que notre science peut le révéler."
Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;
Mock on, mock on; 'tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.
And every sand becomes a gem
Reflected in the beams divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking eye,
But still in Israel's paths they shine.
The Atoms of Democritus
And Newton's Particles of Light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel's tents do shine so bright.
BLAKE & NEWTON
Newton's laws of motion epitomized the thought forms to which Blake so strongly objected. Blake believed the world to be a product of man's own intellect and imagination. His world was infinite - but expanding and contracting according to circumstances. Newtonian physics fixed and limited the possibilities of viewing the world and of receiving input from outside the five senses. Blake felt that Newton by describing the planetary system as bodies in fixed orbits controlled by defined forces destroyed the possibility of perceiving symbolic meaning in them communicated from beyond the physical world. Blake refused to think of the sun and moon and stars as material objects which demonstrated laws of motion when he could think of them as messages from God or remnants of the fall of Man.
The world in which Blake dwelt was closer to the world as conceived by Einstein and quantum physicists: a world in which time and space are flexible, in which multiple descriptions may apply to the same phenomena, in which measuring itself is an intervention which alters the object measured.
Sir Isaac Newton, c.1795
As always Blake was concerned with the use to which ideas were put. It wasn't the validity of Newton's observations that bothered him but the fact that they were stated as laws. This validated their use to describe a clockwork universe which operated as a machine whereas Blake's universe operated as a living body. Blake has a totally different way of describing the universe in terms of beings, kingdoms, the Mundane Shell and caverns blocked by the fires of Los. Newton measures the the stars by material dimensions; Blake measures matter by the stars between which are Newton's voids.
Milton , PLATE 37 , (E 138)
"All these are seen in Miltons Shadow who is the Covering Cherub
The Spectre of Albion in which the Spectre of Luvah inhabits
In the Newtonian Voids between the Substances of Creation
For the Chaotic Voids outside of the Stars are measured by
The Stars, which are the boundaries of Kingdoms, Provinces
And Empires of Chaos invisible to the Vegetable Man
The Kingdom of Og. is in Orion: Sihon is in Ophiucus
Og has Twenty-seven Districts; Sihons Districts Twenty-one
From Star to Star, Mountains & Valleys, terrible dimension
Stretchd out, compose the Mundane Shell, a mighty Incrustation
Of Forty-eight deformed Human Wonders of the Almighty
With Caverns whose remotest bottoms meet again beyond
The Mundane Shell in Golgonooza, but the Fires of Los, rage
In the remotest bottoms of the Caves, that none can pass
Into Eternity that way, but all descend to Los
To Bowlahoola & Allamanda & to Entuthon Benython
Dürer : The Penance of St. John Chrysostomus.
“Your Religion O Deists: Deism, is the Worship of the God of this World by the means of what you call Natural Religion and Natural Philosophy, and of Natural Morality or Self-Righteousness, the Selfish Virtues of the Natural Heart. This was the Religion of the Pharisees who murderd Jesus. Deism is the same & ends in the same. “ Jerusalem
Votre religion O déistes: déisme, est le culte du Dieu de ce monde par le biais de ce que vous appelez la religion naturelle et La philosophie naturelle, et de la morale naturelle ou Auto-justice, les Vertus égoïstes du cœur naturel.
Ce était la religion des pharisiens qui murderd Jésus. Déisme est le même et se termine dans le même.
Voltaire Rousseau Gibbon Hume. charge the Spiritually Religious with Hypocrisy! but how a Monk or a Methodist either, can be a Hypocrite: I cannot concieve. We are Men of like passions with others & pretend not to be holier than others: therefore, when a Religious Man falls into Sin, he ought not to be calld a Hypocrite: this title is more properly to be given to a Player who falls into Sin; whose profession is Virtue & Morality & the making Men Self-Righteous. Foote in calling Whitefield, Hypocrite: was himself one: for Whitefield pretended not to be holier than others: but confessed his Sins before all the World;
Voltaire! Rousseau! You cannot escape my charge that you are Pharisees & Hypocrites, for you are constantly talking of the Virtues of the Human Heart, and particularly of your own, that you may accuse others & especially the Religious, whose errors, you by this display of pretended Virtue, chiefly design to expose. Rousseau thought Men Good by Nature; he found them Evil & found no friend. Friendship cannot exist without Forgiveness of Sins continually. The Book written by Rousseau calld his Confessions is an apology & cloke for his sin & not a confession.
But you also charge the poor Monks & Religious with being the causes of War: while you acquit & flatter the Alexanders & Caesars, the Lewis's & Fredericks: who alone are its causes & its actors. But the Religion of Jesus, Forgiveness of Sin, can never be the cause of a War nor of a single Martyrdom.
Those who Martyr others or who cause War are Deists, but never can be Forgivers of Sin. The Glory of Christianity is, To Conquer by Forgiveness. All the Destruction therefore, in Christian Europe has arisen from Deism, which is Natural Religion."
Visionary Head of Voltaire
(source et lien à retrouver) :
In some cases Blake uses historical or biblical characters. The two large prints of Newton and Nebuchadnezzar form part of a series of large prints begun in 1795, and which, unusually, have no accompanying text. The series of twelve prints seems to have been conceived in contrasting pairs, such as Newton and Nebuchadnezzar (relating to Blake's interest in opposites - see above).
What comparison is Blake making here? What can we tell about his attitudes towards Newton and Nebuchadnezzar? Note the pose of Newton, curled in on himself. What does this suggest?
Think about how you might explore the idea of contrast by using opposing pairs of images. This might be through subject, pose, colour or contrasting light against dark. How might this be used to convey opposing abstract concepts like love/hate; good/evil; reality/fantasy?
In the age of Enlightenment and Reason of the eighteenth century, Newton and his rational, scientific explanations for the world seems almost a God - but not to Blake! Alexander Pope wrote his Epitaph:
Intended for Sir Isaac Newton in 1730 which shows the eighteenth-century view:
Nature, and Nature's laws lay hid in night,
God said, Let Newton be! and all was light.
Blake, however, saw Newton as the symbol of the repression of the Imagination and the creative, artistic spirit by reason and the embodiment of the idea that everything can be measured and understood.
In contrast, Nebuchadnezzar (who was punished by God for his unbelief and pride in the Book of Daniel 4.31-3) is shown turning into an animal, symbolising for Blake the bestiality (and thus the inhumanity) of the man who has become a slave to the senses. Pure sensuality, like pure reason, is seen as antipathetic to Imagination.
Blake based Newton on an earlier illustration in There is no Natural Religion (c1788) where it illustrates Application. He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only.
And he wrote to his patron, Thomas Butts, in 1802:
May God us keep From Single vision and Newton's sleep!
The illustrations of both Newton and Nebuchadnezzar show Blake's debt to earlier artists, particularly through a study of engravings of their work. Newton is based on figures by Michelangelo (look at the muscles in his back!), and Nebuchadnezzar is based on an engraving by Dürer of The Penance of St. John Chrysostomus.
Dürer : The Penance of St. John Chrysostomus.