radical innocence


Check out the above video for an insight into William Blake’s view of the world. He saw our moral development as innocence then experience then radical innocence. This child is asked to eat a plate of octopus; we watch it developing a sense of what is life and death, what is REAL. I find it unbelievable that a five year old child could so successfully tackle such issues.

William Blake, that great, eccentric neo-Platonist English poet, spent his life in pursuit of these issues, for instance, coming to terms with the horrendous spectacle of the French Revolution.

Le Petit Prince is our poet du jour: “fish are animals, cows are animals, pigs are animals”. His sing song voice is that of the troubadour. But then he says: “We should not hurt animals; we should care for them & love them”; the song lyric of transfigured nature, ending with the moral of best behaviour. It’s Christ among the Elders in the temple, teaching them the essential truth, the vision of radical innocence. It’s like William Blake singing: “A robin red-breast in a cage, puts all heaven in a rage”. At the end of his conversation with his mum, the child asks her why she is crying. “Nothing”, she say, “It’s just that you’ve touched my heart”. “then”, he says, “I’ve done something beautiful”. Which is what every artist strives for, I think. Yes?

So another human became a vegetarian; let me compare his situation to that of an English woman at the start of WW2, in a reconstituted unfinished manuscript, Presumption of Death by Dorothy Sayers: “My family doesn’t eat vegetables; we’re not pigs. Give me a good fish & chip shop & I’m happy”.

A friend of mine living in a squalid inner city apartment block would wish the cockroaches “back to Buddha” when he sprayed them. In a novel by Armistead Maupin, set in San Francisco, the protagonist Michael Tolliver finds himself cutting the meat into smaller & smaller pieces so as to pretend it’s not actually meat, a predicament I find myself in, also.


About anton veenstra

tapestry weaver, fibre artist, gay/qr activist, multiculturalist
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