“Art is the tree of life. Science is the tree of death.”
“Energy is the only life, and is from the Body and Reason is the Bound or outward circumference of Energy.”
“Energy is eternal delight.”
“What is the life of Man but Art and Science?”
“The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.”
“Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.”
The imagination is typically seen as a sort of abstract fuzzy faint voluntary delusion generating faculty, however not all have seen the imagination in such terms, William Blake saw imagination as the defining human quality. Blake appeared to see Life as limitless magickal(and what is the imagination if not magical) innovation, imagination as an active conscious expression of living energy.
Blake saw reason and “science”, at least in their reductionist expression, as in opposition to the full expression of humanity, they were for Blake, an expression of insanity, and I agree. Whilst psychosis and various forms of schizoid behaviour are typically considered forms of highly irrational behaviour, I think it might be more accurate to view such states as magnifications or intensifications of a particular kind of reasoning, one that has become divorced from intuition, and centred biopsychic perception and instead lost itself in a labyrinth of self-referential reasoning, a fairly common manifestation of this sort of madness is when an individual ceases to trust in their own will and creative choice, and instead attempts to “decode reality” through obsessively interpreting everything around them as sorts of omens or signs, from which to determine appropriate behaviour (usually resulting in highly inappropriate behaviour, often hilariously so, sometimes tragically), seemingly unable to trust in their own guidance systems. I think this is especially common in highly authoritarian cultures, as individuals are consistently taught that appropriate behaviour must come from an authority.
“The man reared under and bound by authority has no knowledge of the natural law of self-regulation; he has no confidence in himself. He is afraid of his sexuality because he has never learned to live naturally. Thus he declines all responsibility for his acts and decisions and demands direction and guidance.”
The world for people caught up in such a state becomes both a sort of puzzle to decode, and once “decoded” a set of instructions to follow. Whilst such states are obviously transient, being simply a state of profound confusion, the current psychiatric medical model claims that individuals experiencing such states are “chemically unbalanced” as a result of… “genes”. The victim of this psychiatric bullying is told essentially that they are fundamentally defective, any attempts they might make to understand and deal with the situation themself are essentially useless, they must take the prescribed drugs (typically metabolic toxins), if the victim attempts to question the diagnosis and / or prescription, this is considered further compounding evidence of their “genetic” sickness (the technical terminology is that the patient “lacks insight”), the psychiatrist is after all an authority, and current medical psychiatry clearly understands the nature and infinite nuances of human consciousness (just in case you weren’t sure this is sarcasm). I think this forced drugging of psychiatric patients is a profoundly violent and dehumanising act. The psychiatric prison is a distillation of everything that is wrong with authoritarian culture. Psychiatry like the “war on drugs” is really a war against free consciousness. Some psychiatrists appear to be playing out narcissistic power fantasies, having zero empathy for their patients/victims, for a “patient” questioning the authority and opinions of these shrinks is generally a bad idea.
The approach to life, outlined in the above description of a psychotic state, has a lot in common with the attitudes of some scientists, for example Rene Descartes appears to have taken such a view, seeing the world as a great machine operating according to fixed laws,
“Descartes had a dream and in this dream an angel appeared to him, this is documented by his own hand, and the angel said to Descartes, “The conquest of nature is to be achieved through measure and number.” And that revelation lay the basis for modern science.”
Within this mechanical world bound by measure and number the human soul interfaces with a mechanical body through the pineal gland alone, this dualism is opposed to Blake’s view, “Man has no Body distinct from his Soul”. Exactly how Blake would have seen Descartes “angel” is unknown, but I think Blake might have seen this “angel” as a representative of Urizen. Descartes was forced into this dualistic conception of body and soul because he viewed life as mechanical, the world was made of lumps of dead matter interacting through clunky mechanism, and at least realized that explaining the subtelties of mental experience through mechanism was no easy task, apparently today some “scientists”, have gone further than Descartes in such mechanical madness suggesting that,
“We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.”
-Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene
I’m also astonished, that someone can believe something like this, its absurd and explains less than nothing.
Dawkins is apparently unsure of whether animals are conscious, and has stated that consciousness (even human) may be an illusion. Again these insane views can be traced back to Descartes who denied that animals had souls seeing them as beast-machines, who did not really experience pain, the animals apparent experience of pain, a complex illusion, yelps or screams and attempts to avoid the source of injury, merely mechanistic reflexes emitted by an automaton. Blake found this view monstrous, his views on the “ensoulment” of animals are clear, though academic interpreters often appear oblivious, often seeing the animals in Blake’s work as metaphors.
“A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm’d for fight
Does the rising sun affright.”
-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence.
These “enlightened” scientists believe some fundamentally absurd things, all whilst claiming to be rational, though a very particular sort of rational, one that has chained reality in their own limited conceptions. As a result the “science” that has been engineered by these people is one that is dead, reflecting their own view of life back at them, justifying the moronic cruelties that are perpetrated in the name of “science”, animal experimentation and vivisection, justified because animals aren’t really conscious, just complex survival machines. This dead mechanical view of life and nature driven by random processes leads to our treating nature as lifeless, and in doing so we disrupt, sicken, and distort the web of Life that supports us. There is little evidence to support this mechanical view of life, which exists as an unquestioned dogma of contemporary science, derived to a large extent from “rational” deists like Descartes and Newton who viewed the Cosmos as a complicated clockwork automata created by a distant “divine watch maker.” This obsession with mechanical metaphor has been relatively constant, the absurdity of this view reaching its zenith in atheistic mechanists who believe in a clockwork universe comprised of teeny tiny, discrete, quantized, bits of dead unconscious matter, that some how jumbled together into amino acids that further jumbled together into solutions contained in sacks of water surrounded by oily membranes, these water sacks assembled into multicellular bio-machines, complexifying through a “biological” evolution driven by random mutations selected out by a crude mechanism “red in tooth and claw”, that eventually produced human beings, capable of producing art, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, and dance, this creativity some would have you believe is a product of a consciousness that is an illusory epiphenomenon. Furthermore this all takes place in vast, dead cosmos that was born once upon a time when nothing exploded (the Big Bang?!?), the deistic conception of the universe is bizarre, the reductionist view insane (“the limit test for credulity”), strangely such ideas are treated as reasonable.
“For approximately 500 years [science's] argument for its pre-eminence was that it could create beautiful toys: aircraft, railroads, global economies, television, spacecraft. But that is a fool’s argument for truth! I mean, that’s after all how a medicine show operates, you know: the juggler is so good, the medicine must be even better! This is not an entirely rational way to proceed.”
This mechanical view of life is also a very convenient myth, historically (and still today) the pseudo Darwinian mechanical evolutionary model has appealed to ruling classes, seeking justification for their dominance. The genetic determinist paradigm being essentially a rebranding of eugenics. This myth supports the interests of corporatism, leading to vastly wasteful research into profitable disease treatments, not cures, anyone who actually believes that modern pharmaceutically controlled medicine is actually interested in curing cancer or any other disease is an idiot, a patient cured is a customer lost.
Evolution of both organisms and the biosphere is absolutely purposeful, and of course purpose requires intelligence, no purpose without mind or intention. To suggest that All that we see around us has come about by blind, random, chance, is well staggeringly stupid, a person does not achieve accomplishment of any sort through random chance, will, directionality is involved, choice.
For example, Ray Peat has not become Ray Peat through random events, he chooses purposefully to investigate, to examine possibilities, to search through the thoughts and work of others, to attend to his own perception and sensitivity, seeking for a coherent understanding of Life.
“Passively taking whatever you are given, by history and nature, is entropic; choosing intelligently from possible diets, selecting courses of action, will create pattern and reduce entropy.”
To suggest that humans have come about through random chance mutations seems insane, we are purposeful, and all those who have contributed to what human civilisation we have, have consciously lived with purpose.
Purpose is negentropic / Kosmotropic, we see in this world, despite the monstrous stupidity, the ecological disasters and wars wrought by human ignorance, there is order, Kosmos, biological Life.
Further we see evidence that biology both organisms and the biosphere have qualitatively evolved becoming ever more complex, ever more, energetic, ever more conscious and aware.
Adults should be more individuated than children, this may not always be the case since individuation requires conscious choice, and some seem intent on avoiding this despite the cost.
To suggest that the Life we see around us has become what it is without purpose seems absurd, an absolute denial of reality, and yet this is the position that is treated as reasonable by mainstream science, praise be to Random Chance!
The mechanical model obviously contributes to the problems of psychiatry, beyond categorising individuals struggling to effectively orient themselves within a deranged antihuman culture as mysteriously “chemically imbalanced” and genetically defective, it also automatically discounts the possibility that some individuals may in fact have more finely tuned sensory capacities, if a person hears things or sees things that others don’t the assumption is that they are crazy, this problem is compounded by the distinct possibility that if someone was to find their sensory abilities very suddenly becoming more refined, and plunged into perceptions they had previously not experienced, their ability to orient themselves to these new perceptions might at first be a little shaky, like a child learning to walk, it seems likely that they might have a few falls as they learn to orient themselves to these new perceptual capacities.
“Indubitably, Magick is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgement and practice than in any other branch of physics.”
William Blake claimed to see visions, and hear voices, at times finding these experiences disturbing, he eventually integrated them into his life and was enriched by them. The general consensus of many of his contemporaries was that Blake was charming, though quite mad.
Modern science is self-limiting, it has imposed false limits on reality, jumped to conclusions about the nature of Life that are groundless, based only on the dull preconceptions of limited minds that argue noisily for them, genetic determinism and the idea that consciousness is an epiphenomenon arising from electrically firing neurons, are perhaps the most problematic example of this. When people are taught that their identity is determined by genes, and that their consciousness is complicated illusion, that they are inconsequential, an accident adrift in cold dead Cosmos, a passive attitude is encouraged, this attitude renders them easily manageable on large scales, if life is dead mechanistic matter then why seek anything else other than meaningless entertainments, work, pay the bills, and if there’s any left over spend it on more vacuous junk.
“Reason, or the ratio of all we have already known, is not the same that it shall be when we know more.”
Blake was critical not only of reductionist science but conventional religion, which he saw as Life-denying curse, the body and sensual experience seen as sinful distractions, the material world for the religious was just a dead world created by “Old Nobodaddy aloft”, the idea of God as the distant Grand Architect, was for Blake madness, such an idea could not describe true Divinity but only a half mad demiurge, the limited and limiting, Urizen. These life-denying interpretations of religion have oddly enough formed the basis of the current secular reductionist tendencies in science.
These dualistic conceptions, that propose either a physical world created by a distant sky giant, with a vaporous metaphysical soul interacting with an earthen body through the pineal gland, or a world of dead matter, with consciousness as an illusory epiphenomenon have contributed to the gross stupidities that currently endanger all life on this planet.
If instead we were to imagine that consciousness was the fundamental property of Life, intrinsic to biology, how would this affect our approach to life? If all things that live are conscious surely that means that we share in this experience with them, if “worms and flies and ants are conscious and in the same situation as human beings, the bonds of sympathy and forgiveness are universal.”
I think it is possible that the greatest evidence for a living Kosmos is the sensitivity of the human nervous system, a sensitivity that simply cannot be explained by the mind numbingly stupid explanations of conventional biology reliant on nerves functioning through binary all or nothing signalling, mediated through the actions of mechanical “pumps” installed in fatty membranes. To believe that this model of nerve biology explains the exquisite sensitivity that we experience through our various senses, the vision of the iridescent peacock’s tail, the deeply nuanced sense of hearing that allows for the experience and creation of music, our senses of smell taste, touch and proprioception, to suggest that our living experience is a product of digital nerve function is insane, a denial of vibrant Living reality.
Further if we accept that consciousness is intrinsic to biology, the sensitivity of organisms being convincing evidence that this is so, the question then becomes where did this consciousness come from? Is it possible that matter is consciousness, biology being this matter becoming more conscious / energetic, waking up to its latent potential, exploring its possibilities, evolving itself? It would also follow that the Universe itself is conscious, biological and biophilic.
“The psyche cannot be totally different from matter for how otherwise could it move matter? And matter cannot be alien to the psyche, or else how could matter produce psyche? Psyche and matter exist in the same world and each partakes of the other, otherwise any reciprocal action would be impossible. If research could advance far enough, therefore, we would arrive at an ultimate agreement between physical and psychological concepts.”
We don’t know what “matter” ultimately is, the sensitivity demonstrated to be intrinsic to matter by JC Bose, who found that metals subjected to various mechanical, thermal, chemical, and electrical stimuli demonstrated electrical excitatory and fatigue responses similar to living biological material1, suggests that it may be meaningless to attempt to split these concepts, matter and mind.
The evidence for the spontaneous formation of biological life, found by various individuals including Sidney Fox2 and Wilhelm Reich, would suggest that given the right circumstances and stimulus “non-living matter” can somehow learn to reconfigure itself into living forms, suggesting that a primitive consciousness has awoken.
“The dualistic conception of matter as distinct from energy and consciousness is a constrictive illusion put in place by the forces of empire, and the living reality would be freed from the inert husks of the wrongly conceived natural world”.
This could be considered a materialistic proposition, however one that understands that “matter” is something in process, and as such like the dream of the Alchemists the goal is to “spiritualize” “matter”, that is to increase its capacity for consciousness, and all that goes with consciousness; simplicity, play, purpose, compassion, creativity, insight, and grace. Ever greater freedom, ever more Life.
If consciousness is understood to be the fundamental quality of Life, inseparable from biology, then we are no longer imaged as victims of a genetic lottery adrift in a cold dead universe, but instead active creative participants in the unfolding and expression of both our own psychobiology and that of the living Cosmos that nurtures and supports us.
“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.”
Consciousness clearly interacts with biology in a deeply intimate way, anyone who has observed the relationship between breath and psycho-emotional state must have realised this. Multiple studies show that conscious awareness is capable of generating biological changes, increasing the convolutions and surface area of the cerebral cortex, optimizing metabolism, changing brain wave patterns, increasing or decreasing healing, the limits of conscious biopsychic modification are unknown, this is a vast and for the most part unexplored territory, the horizon cannot be seen.
“We’re supposed to keep evolving, evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs.”
“God sleeps in stone, breathes in plants, dreams in animals, and awakens in man.”
“He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.”
 “Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.”
1 Bose found that metals and living tissues (plant and animal) were all benumbed by cold, intoxicated by alcohol, wearied by excessive work, stupified by anaesthetics, excited by electric currents, stung by physical blows and killed by poison. All exhibit essentially the same phenomena of fatigue and depression, together with possibilities of recovery and of exaltation, as well as the possibility of permanent irresponsiveness, death.
2 “Fox put nearly dry amino acids onto hot volcanic rocks, and when he added a little water, the amino acids polymerized spontaneously, and nonrandomly, into peptide chains; when these were put into water, they spontaneously formed microspheres, that looked like, and behaved very much like, bacteria. Fox saw his work as a validation of the principle that nature itself created higher order spontaneously.” In Fox’s production of the proteinoid microspheres, the ordered growth is a consequence of the properties of the substance in a permissive environment. The order is not imposed from the outside onto passive matter.