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What is Liberty?


If man is haphazardly here, an accident in the night of the universe’s thoughtless dream, I suppose liberty is being unfettered, choosing one’s own way, determining one’s own meaning, taking advantage of the time, carpe diem.

So little time, so many options. Gold? Guns? Girls? Metric asks, “Is it ever gonna be enough?” This is our society. The song is brilliant in its pace and in its sudden ending. The mad rush for more, relentless, suddenly terminated. Oh, perhaps it flutters out in old age. But the sudden death of a young man madly pursuing the things that pass away, whose consumption makes him sleepy and presently sated – only to be thrown back into the state of desire for another round – the sudden death of such a man paints the madness, the pointlessness of his….

But if man is greater than the beasts yet less than the heavens above, if man is a seeker of a higher good, if his dream in the higher room is yet to be read, if the shadows paraded before him by marketers on the walls of his concern are but distant many-echoed copies of The Real, then perhaps he is in chains here before the marketers and gobbling profiteers, and equally before the sloganeers chanting in mindless unison against the consumers and in favor of the oncoming collective. Perhaps his life of optionism or collectivism is in chains.

Would not liberty, then, be unfettering oneself from the endless onslaught, waking to the higher dream, turning to face a man, seeing him smile or cry, entering a relationship?

But all men are dust!

If we hold hands today, and today is all, what was it we were after? Why this dread welling up within me as I seek your face, O fellow friend? Why should joy and dread go hand in hand? Why tears that you love me? Tears of uneasy delight. Why did you befriend me? Why did I befriend you? I knew it was right, but confusedly, to take care of you, and you of me. All of this was as a kiss, a first kiss.

A kiss is a promise. A promise has a future of completion, lest it is a tease only. The deep kiss that has no completion is a tease.

Is life a tease for those who wake to its promise, who shuffle off the coils of the consuming mindlessness of the shadowed cave? This wakefulness has only caused me dread, in such case. Better never to have been born again to this expectation without fulfillment, planting without sowing. Is this higher life deadlier then, the living of dying?

Or is all that passes a sign of what does not pass? Is every good moment a sign of what just is Good? Are all my discoveries just here and there bits of knowledge, interlocked and interdependent – this stack here, that stack there: choose as you may your truth for the day? Or is every truth a sign of a Truth that rests not on another but is itself its Anchor? Is everything that is fragile, unstable, resting on yet another? But if this rests on that, and that on another, and that other on yet another – on what does it all rest? Is the universe a meaningless dance of dust, drawn in mindless patterns? Or is every pattern a display of Mind? And is every order a sign of completion to come? If there is completion to come, genuine fulfillment, where union with the Beloved does not weary me to sleep, or fill my eyes with seeing and my ears with hearing, but refreshes the very eyes in the seeing? Is there Love?

I seek a Good that does not promise only. I seek a Truth that depends on no assumption. I seek a Beauty that is the reason for all beautiful bodies. This I seek. If I sought only you, my good friend, who keeps me company and sings songs with me, who eats with me, if you were all I sought, you who are but dust and ashes, would you not, sensing this higher promise, know I have mistaken you for another? Would you not run from me, if I drunk in every breath you take as my way of being? You know this: All we are is dust.

Liberty requires sight. But sight dawns only for those who study its coming. Study requires faith, for where shall I look for the coming of dawn? But nor is faith blind, for the creatures tell of your Glory – O Lord, and your friends repeat the witness. You bled, and your hosts bleed. You scatter the forest of our confusion with the signs that lead homeward.

I knew you but did not seek you. I sought you but did not know you. You came quietly into my life. To my endless pursuits I clung for some time. But you stole away the stolen goods of my heart, for you are a Jealous God. Take us out of our captivity, O God. Free us from our chains. Let the sinner leave his place of sin and come to the higher realm, where the true dream of the heart sings reality in melody without weariness or end.

6 thoughts on “What is Liberty?”

  1. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.


    I used to think, how plain yet ingenious these words are . Today for the first time, I see them riddled with error:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal: true.

    that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights: false. When God is in the picture, whatever we have from him are gifts and not rights. I have written elsewhere that the fatal error of these United States of America is to frame things in terms of rights vs. non-rights instead of good vs. evil.

    gift of life: true

    gift of liberty: not defined what this means and false. After the sin of Adam, according to Catholic teaching, all men but two are conceived with original sin hence in bondage. The glorious liberty of the children of God [cf. Rm 8:21] is the gift of the Father through his Son Jesus Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit, and it is his wish that all men be saved and come to the full knowledge of the truth[cf. 1 Tm 2:4]. It is the Son who truly liberates [cf. Jn 8:36].

    the pursuit of happiness: false. This is neither a right nor a gift. The purpose of man is to do God’s will, to glorify God, to love him and serve him, herein lies his joy here, and reward of happiness in the hereafter.

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men: The ruse and lie of the those penning the document.

    deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed: false. All power is from above. [cf. Jn 19:11 & the Fourth Commandment].


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