By Fox Chandler
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
When William Blake (1757-1827) wrote his Auguries of Innocence he was, in addition to writing as a poet, speaking as the Prophet of Imagination.
To Blake ‘imagination’ wasn’t the creation of something ‘unreal’ or fictitious that we may associate with the word today. It was the creation of something very real. Arguably it was more than that; imagination was for Blake the living Creative Principle.
“To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.”
~ William Blake
Blake, adopting a principle first espoused by Swedish visionary Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), equated Imagination with the Divine Humanity (We are all God, God is in us all). Much of Blake’s subsequent work reflects his innate belief that God resides in us and that, through Imagination only, will we find God.
Writing at a significant cross-road in the development of our civilisation, Blake was familiar with the works of Newton (1642-1727), Bacon (1561 -1626) and Galileo (1564 – 1642).
However the works of these giants of scientific and philosophical thinking were only beginning to filter through to the general populous. Gravity was still little understood (as it turned out even by Newton himself), the teachings of the Church were still observed as fact (Charles Darwin was yet to shake the foundations of the Church with the publication of ‘On The Origin of Species’ ) and the onslaught of industrialisation was still yet to reach its 20th century zenith.
Fast Forward 300 Years…
Today’s world is one in which we understand so much more and can acknowledge that we know so little. We have have mapped the Universe, as we understand it, and yet 80% of all matter within remains unexplained, ‘dark’, immeasurable.
In this rush to a greater understanding of the world around us there has been no greater casualty that Imagination. Blake’s Divine Humanity, Imagination, is seen as esoteric, perversely limited to conjuring up concepts that are in themselves circumscribed by a lack of true creation. We no longer live in a world where spirits abound, where energies are palpable, and where to dream is to live. In losing imagination, light and dark are no longer accepted as mutually bound aspects of all entities but are simplified as “right” or “wrong”.
Imagination is boundless, infinite, without end. The world of the imagination is where we began, where we are when we are free of the “mind-forged manacles”  and where we go when this physical phase is complete.
If we are to regain our world of imagination we need to rid ourselves of the mind-forged manacles that we, our friends, family and society – a society shaped by the rise of materialist science – work so hard at imprinting onto our consciousness. It will not be easy, it will take time and effort and there will be times when those closest to you – even yourself – will fight back.
Remember when you were young and believed in Santa Claus? Now consider all the other fictions you’ve been asked to believe.
Imagination requires all received knowledge to be questioned, discarded and answers to life’s multitudinous questions to be answered by the self – from first hand reasoning rather than third hand instruction. First principle reasoning rather than third person logic.
Blake, speaking so eloquently in his time, and so sadly ahead of his time, spoke of the Divine Humanity being in each of us. Imagination is the force that takes humanity and raises it to the Divine.
Imagination: may the force be with you.
1. On the Origin of Species – published in 1859
2. London. William Blake – published in 1826
Previous articles by Fox Chandler:
About the author:
Fox is the pen name of Steve Chandler, chosen for the ability of this iconic animal to adapt and thrive wherever it makes its home. UK-based Fox left London in 2000 to pursue a more balanced life and explore the path to self-realisation. Currently living in Manchester his path has involved many twists and turns, many false starts and a few blind alleys. But his journey continues. He writes partly out of self-expression but most importantly to explore the nature and meaning of awareness.
When not writing, cycling or working in his local community allotment Steve works as a marketing and communications consultant and is currently working towards a BSc in Natural Sciences.