Wednesday, June 01, 2005

from "The Spirit of the Place"

by D.H. Lawrence

Let us look at this American first. How did he ever get to America, to start with? Why isn't he a European still, like his father before him?

Those Pilgrim Fathers didn't come for freedom. Or if they did, they sadly went back on themselves.

They came largely to get away - that most simple of motives. To get away. Away from what? In the long run, away from themselves. Away from everything. That's why most people have come to America, and still do come. To get away from everything they are and have been.

'Henceforth be masterless.'

Which is all very well, but it isn't freedom. Rather the reverse. A hopeless sort of constraint. It is never freedom till you find something you really positively want to be. And people in America have always been shouting about the things they are not....

So much for the conscious American motive, and for democracy over here. Democracy in America is just the tool with which the old master of Europe, the European spirit, is undermined. Europe destroyed, potentially, American democracy will evaporate. America will begin.

American consciousness has so far been a false dawn. The negative ideal of democracy. But underneath, and contrary to this open ideal, the first hints and revelations of IT. IT, the American whole soul.

You have got to pull the democratic and idealistic clothes off American utterance, and see what you can of the dusky body of IT underneath.

'Henceforth be masterless.'

Henceforth be mastered.


Blogger fred burgess! said...

'Henceforth be masterless' is, I take it, from the Constitution.

4:11 PM  

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