The Expulsion from Eden, by "Mad" John Martin, 1789-1854.
Mad John was mistakenly confused with his brother, Mad Jonathan.

FREEDOM

Hogarth's paintings are pictures of Londoners imprisoned by the strictures of society. Monamy's paintings are prospects of freedom. So is the painful painting by John Martin above. Peter Ackroyd, in Illustrated London, 2003, p 136, comments that "London itself has often been compared to a prison". But Dr Johnson thought that London was life itself, and that life in a jail was preferable to life at sea. He was an orthodox, Whig- and American-hating, anti-libertarian, at least in his later years. These website pages trace the peregrination of a microscopic pinch of genetic dust in search of freedom down five centuries, from 1500 to 2000 AD. Étienne Monamy (1) begat André (2) who begat Elie (3) who begat André (4) who begat Pierre (5) who begat Peter (6) who begat Anne (7). From Anne another seven and more generations descend. The names seem to have been seeking liberation, another word for identity or self-knowledge; something, as most art recognizes, finally only to be found beyond the pale, outside the box, and off the grid. Freedom is beyond Eden.

The state of freedom is not objectively quantifiable. A man is free if he feels free. He is oppressed if he feels oppressed, whatever privileged comforts this state may bring him, or which the disinterested bystander may point out. The Judaeo-Christian God played an unkind trick. He showed our parents how to gain knowledge, implanted within them the desire to know, forbade them access, and told them they were free. In order to know their freedom, they were obliged to defy the commandment; and anyone desiring freedom, or the extension of knowledge, has been impatient with commands, not to say rebellious, ever since. Milton the anti-Areopagite, as Blake remarked, was of the Devil's party, an idea explored at greater length by William Empson in Milton's God. The notion of freedom is inseparable from rebellion.

True artists, however fleetingly misguided their personal political views, are engaged in the struggle of the individual against whatever system may prevail. In England, between the years 1681 and 1749, freedom was born, rose and flourished for moment, and then slowly declined and succumbed to avarice and ambition. These, according to Benjamin Franklin, are the "two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men".

Nietzsche told us God is dead. Later he could have added that Darwin, Marx and Freud are His prophets. He also said that Christianity is a slave religion. At first I thought this meant it could only have been conceived by slaves, but now I see that it is an ambiguous statement. Christianity was adopted by oppressors in order to enforce their oppression. Its propagation throughout the pagan North was orchestrated by kings, who embraced the idea of central planning. King Olaf toured the peasantry with an axe in one hand and the bible in the other. Sainthood was his spiritual reward for unifying Church and State, and suicidally opposing the will of the people. Monotheism offered a more efficient method of tax-collection than fragmented pantheistic nature-worship. The missionary induced acceptance and lightened the load of the enslaved with the promise of pie in the sky.

"Do I believe in free will? I have to believe in free will. I have no choice". Isaac Bashevis Singer. One thing is certain: we do not select our parents, the environment we grow up in, or the accidents that befall us. No one chooses to be exploded by a terrorist's bomb, except possibly the terrorist himself. But if the time and place of our birth and our parentage is not in our hands, in what sense can the time and place of any other life event be of our choosing?

For the great majority, and the majority is merely a mob, freedom is only measured by the numbers of others they can kick around. The slave-trader may favour freedom for himself, but not for his merchandise. And when treason has prospered, and changed its name to government, the same applies. Individuality and resolution win freedom against the odds, but very soon the opportunist committee members move in to re-establish a bureaucratic system no different from the old. The Club of St Luke, petty empire-builders financed by cronyism, corruption and tax-collection, correct and crush the original impulse; and those who know which side their bread is buttered, the Sam Scotts, are bought in by the Walpoles.

O who shall, from this Dungeon, raise
A Soul inslav'd so many wayes?
With bolts of Bones, that fetter'd stands
In Feet; and manacled in Hands.
Here blinded with an Eye; and there
Deaf with the drumming of an Ear.
A Soul hung up, as 'twere, in chains
Of Nerves, and Arteries, and Veins.
Tortur'd, besides each other part,
In a vain Head, and double Heart.
     
A.Marvell

When Britain first at Heaven's Command,
Arose from out the Azure Main,
This was the Charter of the Land,
And Guardian Angels sung this Strain:
Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves:
Britons never, never shall be slaves.
     
J.Thomson


click here for doggett


Hogarth's portrait of wall-eyed Freedom

Come cheer up, my lads,
'Tis to glory we steer,
To add something more
To this wonderful year,
To honour we call you,
Not press you like slaves,
For who are so free
As the sons of the waves?

Chorus:
     
Heart of oak are our ships,
Jolly tars are our men,
We always are ready,
Steady, boys, steady,
We'll fight and we'll conquer
Again and again.
Our worthy forefathers,
Let's give them a cheer,
To climates unknown,
Did courageously steer.
Through oceans and deserts,
For freedom they came,
And dying, bequeathed us
Their freedom and fame.

D.Garrick/J.Dickinson/A.Lee

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Try this site for freedom and femininity
The Prisoner
freedom & freemasonry
men void of slavish fears       hope and glory
monamy website index

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider, shall thy bounds be set
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.
     
composed 1914
     

Of pride it is certain you'll soon be accused
If you suffer from new and original views
For the true pioneer is always abused
And stoning of prophets was yesterday's news.
     
acknowledgements to gkc

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2004
all rights reserved
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