Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The history of a metaphor

In the last post I linked to William Blake's poem about the tension between science and imagination. Blake says 'Newton’s Particles of Light /Are sands upon the Red Sea shore'. Blake uses sand as a metaphor for atomic theory of course, but also for analytical consciousness. The sea is a metaphor for what isn't understood or encompassed by the mind.

Interestingly, Blake got that metaphor from Newton, which kind of undermines his protestations that Newton is his enemy. Newton said, famously 'I am but a small child wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small bright pebble to content myself with while the vast ocean of undiscovered truth lay before me.'

This is one of my favourite quotes, and I think it explains what it is like to be an NT - a person who has iNtuition and logical Thought as their strongest characteristics - the N = the sea and the T= the sandy beach.

But in another twist to the history of this metaphor I did a quick Google to find the exact words of the Newton quote and the first two places listed were a Christian site called Evolution is Dead and an anti-religious site called Positive Atheism.

In other words - both sides think Newton is their friend. But Blake thought Newton was his enemy, although he probably wasn't. All based on the same metaphor, understood differently by different people.


*sigh* can you tell I'm bored at work today.
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