great life throb

Can you tie ideology to geography? Is Europe one thing and America another? Here’s an observation by D.H Lawrence that does. Regardless of the geography, surely some people – in the way they form themselves, and in the way they teach themselves to think – achieve freedom; while others merely the image of it.

Democracy in America was never the same as Liberty in Europe. In Europe Liberty was a great life-throb. But in America Democracy was always something anti-life. The greatest democrats, like Abraham Lincoln, had always a sacrificial, self-murdering note in their voices.  American Democracy was a form of self-murder, always. Or of murdering somebody else.

The love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.

Studies in Classic American Literature, D. H. Lawrence – notes on James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer

escaping to some wild west

Everyone has an opinion about freedom these days, it seems.  Those who screech loudest about it are compensating for something, we begin to wonder.

Here is a view of freedom by the novelist D. H. Lawrence.  He sees true freedom in a movement inward:  religious belief and community.  He doesn’t see it in outward displays from the class that claims freedom loudest: the frontierman, lone wolf, claim staker.

Freedom for him, comes by obedience and not by escape:

“Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men are free when they belong to a living, organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized purpose. Not when they are escaping to some wild west. The most unfree souls go west, and shout of freedom.”

D.H. LawrenceStudies in Classic American Literature