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“Striving with Systems” comes from William Blake’s prophetic poem Jerusalem. The full line, in a speech by the character Los, reads, “Striving with Systems to deliver Individuals from those Systems.” Then there is talk of Spectres devouring the Dead and Los’s children dance around him. If you know Blake, this will make more sense…

Elsewhere in Jerusalem, Los also speaks about systems:

“I must Create a System or be enslav’d by another Man’s
I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create.”

As we strive for total liberation from oppression for all, struggling with systems is constant and always has been. Corporations, governments, cultural norms, traditions, religions, epistemologies, critical schools… If we do not strive with them, engage them in “Intellectual Battle” (to quote Blake again), then (tipping the pen to Nietzsche) we take the abstractions as realities and allow them to determine our value(s) instead of creating our own through authenticity, humility, and compassion.

The Systems are many and mighty. Let us battle with wisdom, creativity, and persistence.


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