(about William Blake)[Blake] said most of us mix up God and Satan. He said that what most people think is God is merely prudence, and the restrainer and inhibitor of energy, which results in fear and passivity and "imaginative death."And what we so often call "reason" and think is so fine, is not intelligence or understanding at all, but just this: it is arguing from our *memory* and the sensations of our body and from the warnings of other people, that if we do such and such a thing we will be uncomfortable. "It won't pay." "People will think it is silly." "No one else does it." "It is immoral."But the only way you can grow in understanding and discover whether a thing is good or bad, Blake says, is to do it. "Sooner strangle an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires."For this "Reason" as Blake calls it (which is really just caution) continually nips and punctures and shrivels the imagination and the ardor and the freedom and the passionate enthusiasm welling up in us. It is Satan, Blake said. It is the only enemy of God. "For nothing is pleasing to God except the invention of beautiful and exalted things." And when a prominent citizen of his time, a logical, opining, erudite, measured, rationalistic, Know-it-all, warned people against "mere enthusiasm," Blake wrote furiously (he was a tender-hearted, violent and fierce red-haired man): "Mere enthusiasm is the All in All!
Poetry fettered, fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish.