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Title: U-bywać : człowiek, świat, przyjaźń w twórczości Williama Blake'a
Authors: Sławek, Tadeusz
Keywords: William Blake
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: Katowice : Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Abstract: The book is an attempt at reading Blake’s literary and visual works as a form of thinking which, after Blake himself, we call the “fiery thought”, a reflection which derives from operations of imagination and friendship as the fundamental relation holding between the man and world. Imagination, for Blake, is an oppositional force which counters the permanent inclination towards a metaphysical petrification of reality and meaning. Whereas reason (Blake’s “Reasoning Power”) remains in the rigoristically defined space of decidibility stigmatizing ambiguity as the mere absence of clarity, imagination brackets the tendency towards plain meaning and unmistakable unequivocality. The poet is one-who-does-not-dwell and carves not quite his/her inscriptions for those-who-pass-by. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell clearly demonstrates that the poet is not a maker of signs but also their reader and interpreter, hence imagination is not a dramatic gesture of repelling the book but an appeal towards the alternative way of producing and interpreting books. Blake calls such an interpretation, individualistic and transgressive in character, “infernal” (The Marriage clearly announces “we often read the Bible together in its infernal or diabolical sense”) and, running against Luther’s principle of Eindeutichkeit, resembling Heidegger’s high praise of plurality and density of senses as the necessary condition of poetic thinking. The same holds true for the visual aspect of imagination: its eye critically rejects seeing through and as property and thus questions the priority of the economic framework of the visual field (Blake’s “looking through not with the eye”). Imagination presents itself as a force which pierces the armour of the alienated techno-scientific reason (what Nietzsche and Heidegger refer to as “calculating reason”) thus disclosing man as an unfinished, unready being not identical with itself. The “fiery thought” energized by imagination is radical responsibility in which - open to the Other as a form of endless questioning - 1 live in the space of unceasing interrogation. Hence man defines himself as fundamentally unready, as the most protruded point of the process of becoming, as bare and invitingly disclosed to that which-is-coming. To “be” according to the “fiery thought” is to “become towards the other while welcoming that which comes to encounter us”. Friendship, defined by Blake as “opposition”, is a labour which I undertake out of care and “anxious heart”. The friend is he/she who, critically reflecting upon reality, defies the temptation for static and well mapped positions (a counterpose to Urizen’s call Let each choose one habitation), and hence who also radically questions the very foundations of friendship itself. Architecture of Blake’s cities is a reflection of his construction of the human self, and thus it is a demonstration of mere monumentality characteristic of totalitarian political and epistemological systems subjected to the hegemony of Urizen in which man tends to be a mere datum subdued to and by the logic of mechanical production and consumption. In his visions of cities such as London, Jerusalem, Golgonooza or Babilon Blake posits a question of the epistemological inability of man to properly perceive and relate to space and place. The modern city is a dis-placed place, or an un-placed space which functions merely as a neutral container of man’s actions. For Blake, the city is not a coherent, closed arrangement of physical shapes but a series of dynamic, mutable visions and revelations, if not epiphanies. Whereas a degraded vision of the mechanical outer-directed man sees only physical forms of “chartered streets” and thus metaphorically transforms the town into a “Babylon”, the town becomes a "Jerusalem” when a historical movement sanitizing vision (Blake’s “cleansening of the doors of perception”) reveals city structures not as petrified in their earthly monumentality of the sacrifice- -based society but as exploded and radically destabilized by the luminosity of eternity and friendship (“Jesus is a Friend of sinners”) . Philosophy of Blake, far from being systematic or in any sense academic, avoids the position of the least effort, and therefore Blake’s epistemology is that of the difficult, problematic world of changing structures in which the reader, an experience which a scientific or scholarly researcher wants to avoid, constantly has to deal with discoveries which have not been the object of his research and which undermine the initial orientation of his interpretive work.
ISBN: 8322610793
Appears in Collections:Książki/rozdziały (W.Hum.)

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