there is no natural religion

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there is no natural religion was written during a time of a somewhat crisis of faith on my part.

I was going through an intensely spiritual experience during the time that I wrote there is no natural religion. I was searching for reasons. Explanations. But I was looking in the mystical parts of various religions. I was looking at and reading a lot of Zen (trying to do my Zazen daily) and especially Sufism. I was looking to experience God directly & in a sense I did. I have lost track of that direct experience over the years, unfortunately. I have still been in touch but not with the same mirror-like intensity I had during this time. Life gets in the way. Exercise was the first to go. Then that direct experience of God. I still have a relationship with God through Jesus, but it isn't that direct "consciousness-altering" experience that I was having at this time in my life.

I was reading a lot of William Blake at the time, too. I found this and thought it would be a great piece to use for inspiration.

I used Max for this piece with my CS-80V. One thins you need to know is about MIDI or Musical Instrument Digital Interface. The short version is that MIDI allows sythesizers to "talk" to each other. And to talk to computers.

This is sort of technical, but stay with me....When a note is pressed on a MIDI keyboard a "note-on" message is sent to the synth with a specific velocity (volume) attached to it. You would think that when the note is released a "note-off" message would be sent. But interestingly (and this is actually kind of cool), a "note-on" message with a zero velocity attached to it. What Max allowed me to do with this piece was to turn on a lot of notes without necessarily turning them off. This sort of goes along with what the Blake's engravings/poems were about to me. We cannot imagine things we cannot see or touch or feel. Thus, we cannot know God. We must perceive Him to know Him. But we cannot. From 3 senses, one can not deduce a 4th (as Blake says). Therefore, God took a human form (in Jesus) so that we might see Him and know Him.

The following is taken from the Wikipedia article on the work.

The Author & Printer W Blake

(On the right, two young men, both naked, stand by a tree. The man farthest to the left holds a shepherd's crook in his right hand. On the left is seated an elderly couple, both wearing gowns. Another tree can be seen on the left margin, with its branches forming a canopy over the couple. In the distance, mountains are visible.)

There Is No Natural Religion

(The Gothic structure in which the title is embedded may be a church facade or a tomb canopy. The words of the title are incorporated diegetically into the design.)

The Argument

Man has no notion of moral fitness but from education Naturally he is only a natural organ subject to Sense.

(In the main picture, a woman is seated in a chair. Her legs are crossed and she holds a book, from which she appears to be reading. On the right stands a young girl, also holding a book from which she reads. On the left, a young boy is lying on the ground with his torso propped up on his left elbow. He too appears to be reading. Numerous tiny figures can also be seen in the vicinity of the words "The Argument". Furthest on the left, a figure leans against the vertical of the "T" in "The". Moving to the right, another figure, possibly winged, hovers above the space between "The" and "Argument". Next, a figure leans against the left diagonal of the "A". Another figure stands by the right diagonal of the "A" reaching up to the right towards a bird above the "u" and "m." Additionally, the first and last letters of the heading expand out into vines, as does the final "n" in "Education" in the main text.)


Man cannot naturally Percieve, but through his natural or bodily organs

(An old man, naked, leans on a walking stick and looks down at a dog on the ground, which looks up at him. In the background can be seen a hill and a clump of trees. A tree also grows on the right margin, a branch of which forms a canopy over the old man. Another branch extends to the top of the plate and separates the heading and the first line of text. At the far end of this branch, sits a tiny human figure, with a number of birds flying above him.)


Man by his reasoning power. can only compare & judge of what he has already perceiv'd

(In the main picture at the bottom of the plate, a woman kneels on the ground, holding onto the waist of a small child, probably male. The child is reaching towards a small bird which seems to be flying away from him. At the top of the plate, a branch from a bare tree divides the heading from the text.)


From a perception of only 3 senses or 3 elements none could deduce a fourth or fifth

(A man with a beard sits on the ground, reaching to the left with both arms. A winged putto, visible from the waist up, appears behind the man's legs, and reaches towards the man's shoulder with his left hand. His right hand is pointed upwards. A tree grows on the right margin and branches out both above and below the heading.)


None could have other than natural or organic thoughts if he had none but organic perceptions

(A man sits on the ground with his back against a tree, playing a pipe. He wears a hat decorated with feathers. The landscape on the right features a small hill and a grove of trees. A single tree extends up the left margin. Three birds fly above the text and on each side of the heading.)


Mans desires are limited by his perceptions. none can desire what he has not perciev'd

(In the main image, a boy moves towards a stream, his arms outstretched, reaching towards a swan in the water. A tree grows on the left margin and branches above the heading.)


The desires & perceptions of man untaught by any thing but organs of sense, must be limited to objects of sense.

(A man lies on the ground with his upper body propped up on his arms, holding his head in his left hand. Long grass grows in front of him and a tree grows behind the grass. The tree branches both above and below the heading.)


Mans perceptions are not bounded by organs of perception, he percieves more than sense (tho' ever so acute) can discover

(At the bottom of the plate, a gowned man with a beard lies on the ground, reading from a book. On the left is the stump of a tree. The first letter on the first line, "M", extends into a vine and reaches up to the heading.)


Reason or the ratio of all we have already known, is not the same that it shall be when we know more

(A man lies flat on the ground, his face turned upwards, his arms are at his side. His head rests on what seems to be a cushion. Above and to the right is a small and difficult to discern figure hovering in the air, who seems to be reaching towards the left. Vines fill the spaces both left and right of the heading, the one on the right may have berries.)


God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is

(Below the text, a man lies on a bed, facing outwards towards the reader. He seems to have lines of radiance emanating from his head. Several vines decorate the spaces all around the heading ("Therefore"). Another vine descends down the right margin near the third and fourth lines of text. On the left, the last letter of "may" extends into a small vine. Vines also surround the final word on the plate, "is", which is on a line on its own.)