Stephen Nachmanovitch on William Blake . . . and the implications of free play as fundamental to creation

An excerpt I think you’ll enjoy from Free Play by Stephen Nachmanovitch:

William Blake made a curious and interesting remark: 

“Jesus was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules.” 

We usually think of virtue as something that stems from following rules rather than impulse, and we usually think of acting from impulse as acting wild or crazy. But if Jesus had followed the rules of conventional morality and virtue, he would have died old as a loyal citizen of the Roman Empire. 

Impulse, like improvisation, is not “just anything”; it is not without structure but is the expression of organic, immanent, self-creating structure. 

Blake saw Jesus as the incarnation of God, acting not according to the fixed expectations of someone else’s limited ideas but in accord with a deeper, bigger Self, beyond consciousness, the wholeness of the living universe, which expresses itself impulsively, spontaneously, through dreams, art, play, myth, spirituality.

It’s an intriguing premise . . . that expression spiritually or creatively, on any scale, has as much to do with free-wheeling improvisation as it does with rules and structure. More so. And on a cosmic scale.

Share