Study Guide

Auguries of Innocence Wisdom and Knowledge

By William Blake

Wisdom and Knowledge

In "Auguries of Innocence," Blake really wants wisdom—and he wants to give it out to other people, too (free of charge, even). For him, wisdom has to do with understanding what you can and can't know, and what the limitations of human beings are. He thinks that humans can get insight into the spiritual world, but they're held back by their entrapment in a physical body and in the natural world. More importantly, they're held back by their sense of self-doubt and the fact that they don't trust their imaginations. Presumably, wisdom is supposed to help people get over these hurdles and attain something better.

Questions About Wisdom and Knowledge

  1. What do you think the wisest thing Blake says in "Auguries" is? Why?
  2. What does wisdom (or Blake's kind of wisdom) help you to do (or not do)?
  3. What does Blake have against doubt? Does he think it's ever good to doubt (since he's probably not saying you should believe absolutely everything)?
  4. What do you think about doubt? Do you think it's very useful or should it be used sparingly? Why do you think so?

Chew on This

There are no limits to the wisdom and knowledge we can have—none.

Eh, not so fast there Mr. Optimistic. There are a ton of limits to the wisdom and knowledge we can have, since we rely on our senses and our intellects—which might be totally wrong.

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