Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blake on ecclesiology, profane becoming sacred, and thinking against oneself

It's kind of freaky that just a few days ago--before you and I had any idea that U2's surprise releases
would be called "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience"..

..I pulled out two books:

One theory is that "The Joshua Tree" was to be a double album; one disc "Songs of Innocence" and the other  "Songs of Experience".

One reviewer headlined a review of U2's "Pop" as  More Songs of Innocence and Experience.

One can see why Bono likes Blake. From Inchausti:

If one were to seek the great archetypal  precursor for prophetic Christian thinker championing the soul's return from the spiritual exile of Enlightenment rationalism, William Blake comes very close to casting the mold.  Condemned as heretical by some and as too orthodox by others, he was one of the first to point out exactly how the new sciences were distorting the role of the imagination in human affairs and putting the soul to sleep.
          Altizer  and Hamilton..described Blake's contribution to Western thought
Blake was the first of the modern seers.  Through Blake we can sense the theological significance of a poetic reversal of our mythical traditions, and become open to the possibility that the uniquely modern metamorphosis of the sacred into the profane is the culmination of a redemptive and kenotic movement of the Godhead
          This, I think, is an essentially accurate description of Blake's intellectual influence.
           I would, however, reverse the figure and the field.  Blake does not celebrate the sacred 
           becoming profane, but the profane becoming sacred.
....Blake reminds us again and again that true knowledge--that is to say, knowledge of our ontological status as creatures made in the image of God--cannot be grasped by calculation; only through a vision.  And vision--in its most concentrated and inclusive firm --is what psychoanalysts call the "imago," an internal picture that transform s facts into meanings..

..His theme is that the church lost its radical energy by giving up its apocalyptic vision for a more accommodating set of doctrines, and so the church became more hierarchical and tradition-bound at the very moment it should have become more democratic and imaginative..

Christian thought critiques mainstream culture but also sees itself under judgment; our best modern Christian intellectuals have turned thinking against themselves into a veritable art form: from Blake to Dostoyevsky, from Kierkegaard to Chesterton, all the way to Dorothy Day and Walker Percy, the exemplary mode of Christian thought has been a triadic structure of self-reflection, paradox and irony that reverses the values of this world and the logic of cause and effect  pp 19-28, 178

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