Page:William Blake (Symons).djvu/26

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WILLIAM BLAKE

pates Nietzsche in his most significant paradoxes, and, before his time, exalts energy above reason, and Evil, 'the active springing from energy' above Good, 'the passive that obeys reason.' Did not Blake astonish Crabb Robinson by declaring that 'there was nothing in good and evil, the virtues and vices'; that 'vices in the natural world were the highest sublimities in the spiritual world'? 'Man must become better and wickeder,' says Nietzsche in Zarathustra; and, elsewhere; 'Every man must find his own virtue.' Sin, to Blake, is negation, is nothing; 'everything is good in God's eyes'; it is the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that has brought sin into the world: education, that is, by which we are taught to distinguish between things that do not differ. When Nietzsche says: 'Let us rid the world of the notion of sin, and banish with it the idea of punishment,' he expresses one of Blake's central doctrines, and he realises the corollary, which, however, he does not add. 'The Christian's soul,' he says, 'which has freed itself from sin is in most cases ruined by the hatred against sin. Look at the faces of great