Reflections Upon Liberty

Alastair Beattie


We come to the concept of liberty with an open mind, that is to say, a mind that is blank, and with all our feelings suspended. We suspend judgment and in the very suspension of holding back what we feel, we are in chains.


In this paper we will look at liberty first of all in terms of theology. We will then move to philosophical liberty. After that we will discuss the qualities of political liberty. Finally we will attempt to approach the presence of liberty in art.


1. Theology At the first glance we see that Liberty, and her mother Freedom, are both available to us. The Greek word aletheia, which means out of Lethe, the river of forgetfulness is truth, and we are told in the New Testament that it is the truth that will set us free. The patriarchal Judaeo Christian base grants the freedom of the will. We are at liberty to err, to be wrong, to fall. Without going any further, the results of the catastrophic results of this liberty are plain to see. The Greeks give men and women the power of hope, but we must still suspend judgment, reign in our feelings—we are still in chains.


1.2.  The  figure and presence of error is present in the opposition to Rah in the Egyptian tradition. In Hindu philosophy, and in the writings of the dissident Buddha, ignorance is condemned. Chinese blame and shame fall on those who abuse the Tao. The Hebrew enemy is a constant presence along with the Islamic Satan. In Christianity we must follow Christ into sin death and hell. There is no escape. This is obligatory.


1.3. In the New World, the appeasement of the gods through blood sacrifice brings about the deliverance from evil. The pyramids of Mexico and and Peru give mute testimony to the struggle with evil.


2.1.  Let us make the leap out of theology and into philosophy. We will stay with the Greeks because as we are scientists who want knowledge, we prize objectivity, and it was the Greeks who above all strove to free themselves from the chains of imprecision in meaning.


2.2. Not only does Greek thinking under Plato and the Stoics free us from the subjectivity of mythical interpretation, the Greeks free the totally devoted slave of philosophy from evil. No other belief system provides this error free space.


2.3. There remain the belief systems and philosophies of those in all cultures who base their methods for action on the persuasions of material determinism. In this camp all ends and means are material. There is no metaphysics. There are no forms. Matter in its physical manifestation is all existence. Beyond physical matter there is no discourse.


3 Let us now leave both religion and philosophy and enter the realm of politics to see if we can find freedom. It is clear that we can freely investigate types of political sytems from absolute monarchy, through democracy to anarchy and the negation of all system.


3.1.  Such  is the freedom of research, but once we enter actively into political participation we assume individual responsibility for the eternal vigilance of mind, and feeling. If we are to remain open to psychical interaction with others in any particular group, state, or nation, there must be complete commitment to an apperceptive awareness of this interaction. We must be constantly on guard. There is no political liberty.


4 Now, let us turn to art. All art is representation. The process of art is the transformation of potential energy into physical manifestation. The chaos of our feelings and our intuitions is given presence for appreciation of the five physical senses.


4.1.  Further, for those who are not slaves to material determinism, there are the worlds of the individual and collective imaginations. These may be absolute idea bodies, or forms, or the open-ended spaces of an expanding universe.


4.2.  If art is a transformation of chaos into that which is not chaos, can the rational mind or the feeling soul in the quest for knowledge and wisdom find edification or delight in  chaotic art presentations? The anarchist sees no difficulty in this.


4.3.  We will avoid the anarchists until they become intrusive, and turn to quantitative art, the language of all science, mathematics. Is there quantitative freedom? Sir Roger Penrose, a leading British idealist says no. He says that in his excursions into virgin quantitative spaces, what he perceives is not the result of his imagination, what he perceives in the course of his explorations is already there.[1]  Liberty is superfluous.


By way of a conclusion:

We live at a point in history at which human life, as we have known it, is no longer possible. In the collective sense (which is the only admissible sense for the academy as a universal) Homo sapiens has become an endangered species.


In order to survive we must impose global government. As we have seen the catastrophic results of self interested liberty are plain to see. The Greeks gave men and women the power of hope as an absolute idea body. This body may be collectively possesed. Let us then possess hope and act in its defense.



[1]  “Mathematical discovery consists in broadening the area of contact. Because of the fact that mathematical truths are necessary truths, no actual ‘information’, in the technical sense passes to the discoverer. All the information was there all the time. It was just a matter of putting things together and seeing the answer!” Penrose, Sir Roger, The Emperor’s New Mind, Oxford University Press, New York, USA, 1989


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