People today will go on for a long time thinking about what one meant by saying "chaos" in earlier times. The term is defined in many different ways. But the only true way of characterizing the term "chaos" is to say: When human beings enter into a state of conscious awareness where the experience of weight, an earthly measure, has just come to an end and things begin to be only half that weight, yet do not not yet want to go out into the universe but remain in the horizontal, in balance, when solid boundaries begin to wave, so that the indefinite aspect of the world is seen still with the physical body but already with the mental constitution of dreaming, that is when we see chaos. And the dream is but chaos floating toward the human being like a shadow.
In ancient Greece people were still sentient of the fact that we cannot really make the physical world beautiful. The physical world is necessarily natural; it is as it is. We can only create beauty from chaos. Beauty arises when we transform chaos into cosmos. Chaos and cosmos are therefore alternatives. We cannot create the cosmos--the actual meaning of which is "beautiful world"--from earthly things, but only from chaos by giving form and order to chaos. And anything we do with earthly objects is mere imitation in material form of chaos that has been given order. That is the case with everything in the sphere of art.
|"The Sea of Time and Space" by Blake|