Do our EYES deceive us?

by Charles Stirton June. 26, 2007 5216 views

Photo inspired by William Blake's vision of the eye

Blake believed that, like the other three senses, the EYE was universally diffused through the whole being (as TOUCH still is), but that in the Fall it became localised and turned outward.

Then turn'd the fluxile eyes into two stationary orbs, concentrating all things. Sight is a little narrow orb, clos'd up and dark, conversing with the void, or with the ground. Lids have been made to grow over the eyes like veils of tears.

He goes on to say that one need not be limited to the Vegetated Mortal Eyes's perverted and single vision, if one looks not with but through the eye. Foster Daimon says that this ability consists in that spontaneous translating of the visible into human qualities; a process we now call EMPATHY. All the arts are based on this power. He cites an incidence of this in a letter from Blake to Butts (22.11.1802) where he describes how his outward eye saw a thistle plant but his inward eye saw a cross old man.

What, it will be Question'd, when the sun rises, do you not see a round disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea? O no, no, I see an Innumerbale Company of the Heavenly host crying, ‘Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty’. I question not my Corporeal, or Vegetative Eye any more than I would Question a Window concerning a sight. I look thro' it and not with it.

In this picture I have tried to invert reality just as one can dream of oneself dreaming and not know whether the dream is the reality or whether the reality is the dreaming.

Many of the photos uploaded to Photoblog have this quality and that is what makes us truly human. Ultimately, each of us will see a photograph that transcends our looking out into looking through.

Reference: S. Foster Damon1965. A Blake Dictionary. The ideas and symbols of William Blake. Brown University Press, Providence.

  Be the first to like this post
Join the conversation
There are 21 comments , add yours!
Kasia 13 years ago


13 years ago Edited
Zajä…C 13 years ago

I like the games with releflecions ;)

13 years ago Edited
Lori 13 years ago

Your thoughts shared with this photo are most intriguing. I like it extra special and it would be nice to sit a spell and chat with you.

13 years ago Edited
Aimeric 13 years ago

yes !

13 years ago Edited
Sandra 13 years ago

nice concept, well portrayed!

13 years ago Edited
Cherax 13 years ago

That is so, [i]so[/i], cool. A brilliant notion to flip the image like that.
I'm going to have to come back and re-read the text after my dinner drinks have worn off.
Human perception is an engrossing, complex story, and far more subtle than most of us appreciate. So when I am complete of mind I may contribute some similar stories.

13 years ago Edited
Innen 13 years ago


13 years ago Edited
Viktorija 13 years ago

very nice one:)

13 years ago Edited
Miclaud 13 years ago

Original idea!

13 years ago Edited
Lagerkvista 13 years ago

yes? no? yes? no? yes? no? lets say: yes, great picture and idea, congratulations!!!!

13 years ago Edited
Carley 13 years ago

I also really like the combination of words and photo! Beautiful!

13 years ago Edited
Lisa 13 years ago

Thoughtful post. :) I like the shot and they way your presented it to illustrate your words.

13 years ago Edited
Janka 13 years ago

hehe very cool. :) good idea and title.

13 years ago Edited
David Swatton 13 years ago

Cool image and very cool ideas.

13 years ago Edited
Magpy 13 years ago

neat perspective

13 years ago Edited
Christine 13 years ago

Feet in England, head in Autralia ! *smile
I shall try more of this up side down thinking process.
By the way...great thoughts and picture

13 years ago Edited
Peter 13 years ago

Blake said a lot of good stuff. Thanks.

13 years ago Edited
Colin 13 years ago

Mirror, Mirror!,,,,, excellent!

13 years ago Edited
Jendayee 13 years ago

excellent idea ! love it !!!!
we can see it that way if laying on the floor and watch upside down... :)))

13 years ago Edited
Jet28 13 years ago


13 years ago Edited
Kayya Macuch 13 years ago


13 years ago Edited