Innocence and Experience

William Blake by Thomas Phillips Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about William Blake—you know, author of “The Lamb” and “The Tyger“—early, and influential, poet of the British Romantic Period.

Those two poems are examples from Blake’s “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience,” respectively. He held to the theory that we are born in Innocence (which he capitalized) and must proceed through Experience to reach a state of Experienced Innocence. For me, that resonates with Matthew 10:16’s “be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

There’s no way of avoiding the pangs of Experience. But we can’t afford to stop there. We must hang on, endure, push through to Experienced Innocence.

Experience is necessary, but it isn’t enough. Lately I’ve been thinking there’s another word for stopping there: It’s called Cynicism.

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