Feb 2014

* elements

"To live well you must live unseen. He who hid well, lived well."
(Rene Descartes)


In the artist the difference between the time-bound ego and the imaginative state (in which great things are done) is even more sharply marked than it is in the ordinary man. The artist may be conceited, irritable, foolish or dishonest, but it makes no difference what he is: all that matters is his imagination. We speak of so-and-so "the Man", meaning so-and-so when he is not being a poet; but it only when so-and-so is using the imagination which is the Real Man (and writing poetry) that he is a man: the rest of the time he is on the ordinary generation plane. That is why some of the great poets, homer and shakespeare for instance hardly seem to have had a personal existence at all. They are inspired; that is, incarnations of the ability to write. As Blake goes on he becomes more and more impressed by the contrast between a man's imagination and his real life as expressed in the total form of his acts, and his ordinary existence.

Hence it is a blunder to limit the meaning of art to what the artist may be presumed to have intended.

The artist's intentions are often on levels of consciousness quite unknown to himself. Some of these levels are subconscious and some superconscious: the latter may need the passing of centuries to clarify.

The poet's meaning, then, is often quite different from what he may think he thought he meant, and in any case it is cumuliative. Few great poets would be able to understand the reason for their fame in the following century. The inference is that all genuine poetry is something quite separate from the person who wrote it. A poem is like a child, an independently living being not fully born until the navel string has been cut.

The poet can only can express himself in a lyric only by dramatizing the mental state or mood he is in, and the imaginative truth of the lyric refers to his state (and not to himself). One may pass through state after state with bewildering rapidity.

Fearful Symmetry, A study of William Blake,
the Word within the Word



"The answer to criminal aggression is retaliation."

"I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few."

"Demoralize the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. This is the war of the future."

"Great liars are also great magicians."

"Hate is more lasting than dislike."

"It is not truth that matters, but victory."

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."

"Any alliance whose purpose is not the intention to wage war is senseless and useless."

"Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice."

"Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong."


"It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand."

"It's better to have a rifle in your hand and stand against your enemies, than many words of peace promised and never delivered, as your nation is over run by evil men."

"The best fighter is never angry."

"Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."

"So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak."

"If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by."

"What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease."