The search for truth was the desire of the seeker. The quest began with a question. Because the seeker is a human man, the question easily formed.
What common denominator links all of creation, of both man and beast?
To answer this query the seeker thought, “I need to define the difference of the beast of the field, and man.”
Therefore, the seeker surmised, “The beginning is where I shall start…”
Then a thought stopped the seeker’s surmising. Oh not just a thought, but at that very moment dawn broke, and the darkness of night replaced by the suns glory. As the seeker witnessed this daily celestial event with awe, he realized the answer to his first inquisition.
The seeker spoke the answer into the empty room. “A man can appreciate a sunrise.” He paused to collect his thoughts. Then the resolution form in his mind. In fact, the seeker’s excitement caused him to spat out the obvious, “A beast cannot describe, the beauty and splendor of a simple dawn!”
Man was different from the other beast that roamed the earth; man was self-aware the beast of the field were not.
Now the more difficult question loomed before the seeker. “What similarities did man and the beast of the field share?”
The seeker studied and listed the parallels: Two eyes, legs, teeth, hair, or fur, a nose. Moreover, what he knew of biology, a heart, lungs, the list seemed endless.
The seeker examined beast in a zoo and the same beast in its natural environment. The seeker saw the caged lion did not have the look of a predator in its eye. Nevertheless, the lions he saw filmed on the Serengeti Plains had the look of a hunter.
The seeker said again, with excitement, “To be free is the desire of a man and beast. Free to be what they each were born to do.”
The seeker knew that the beast of the field were free. However, man formed into communities, which soon formed into town, cities, kingdoms, empires, and nations. Then each group elected a leader, to protect the common good. Then darkness fell as each leader subjugated his fellow citizens.
This reality almost caused the seeker to halt his investigation. The seeker spoke as tears tracked down his cheeks. “All beasts were born free. However, men, women were born into slavery.”
The seeker struggled forward as he scanned the historical accounts. Darkness of oppressive societies filled his vision even to the horizon. He penned what his research found in the following account.
Thousands of years of oppressive darkness ruled the earth. Kingdom after kingdom, one despot replace by a crueler ruler, each tyrant dominated his own citizens.
Then seeker learned what evil existed under heaven. These dictators made slaves of men and women of the vanquished foes of the despot. The seeker discovered evil piled onto more evil. The dominated subjects of these kingdoms enslaved people who were different. The subjugated endured the bitterness of their existence by enslaving those of different skin color, religious, and political beliefs.
The seeker in his search realized the enslavement of the many by the few. Not only did these rulers subjugate the body, but also they destroyed the spirit of men.
The seeker found this evil continued year after year, then decades became centuries. As the centuries piled one upon another, the domination of the many by the few, continued as the epochs became thousands of years. Freedom was all but a forgotten idea.
Then the seeker saw a light of hope, the narrative of his research continues.
Then the seeker saw a spark that lite a candle. This small flickering light pierced the darkness, and the oppressive night fled. This small flame of a candle gave hope to the hopeless. The seeker witnessed how this small insignificant quivering flame set the spirit of men, and women free. Free to choose, free to dream, free to hope, and to live by the rule of law, instead of the rule of the one.
This shinning flame the seeker learned its name, and its place among the epochs of time. The candle that assaulted the darkness of oppression called liberty. The time 508 B.C., the place in Greece the flame is the Athenian Democracy.
The seeker witnessed as the flame of liberty warmed, and illuminated the world. The small flickering flame of liberty grew into a blaze. Liberty’s warmth freed the human mind to imagine. The fervor of liberties flame was the freedom for each individual to choose: new ideas, the beauty of art, the poet, and the idea of possibilities.
The light of liberty illuminated the universal realities waiting for the freed mind to discover. The freed mind found the universal tools of math, science, and philosophy. These tools allowed man to explain and to understanding how the world worked.
The seeker saw liberties light did not vanquish all of the darkness. This light did not and could not conquer the blackness of oppression in the hearts of men. The flame of liberty even though glowed brightly, which appeared unquenchable, was not an eternal flame. This liberty was fragile, and the flame we must guard the flame. Liberty death comes from within, as freedom negotiates with the darkness.
Then the seeker saw as this flame of hope again extinguished by the oppressive darkness. Once again, the world was dark. The enslavement of men and women seemed even more oppressive.
The seekers tears again stained his face. However, now he searches with a hope again to find that light of liberty. The catalogue of his findings continues.
The seekers research found Caesars, emperors, kings, popes, and religious orders oppressed the people. Then again the years gave way to, decades became, centuries into millennia.
Suddenly, the hope that drove the seeker, burst into joy. As the seeker found a hope after more than two thousand years of unbroken oppressive darkness, the seeker witnessed a spark.
With tears of joy blurring his vision, the seeker continued his chronicle.
The spark again lite the flame of liberty the flint was a simple declaration of independence from the rule of the few. The Declaration of Independence of 1776 declared that a government governs at the consent of the governed. Furthermore, the rights of liberty are inalienable.
The seeker saw, as the flame of liberty became a bonfire of hope. The new flame had a name, The United States of America. This blaze of liberty became a fervor, which burned in the heart of every denizen of this new land.
The seeker witnessed as the light of liberty became a beacon welcoming all those who desire freedom to come. Even to this very hour, The Statue of Liberty is the iconic image of the beacon welcoming all who dare to be free.
However, the seeker’s analysis came to one conclusion. Liberty is not free or self-sustaining. The ever-present darkness desires to extinguish the flame of freedom.
The seeker is your fellow citizen, and we enjoy liberty’s warmth together. However, the seeker tenders a warning to his fellow residents; the darkness of oppression is now crouching at our door. Fear not, the darkness of oppression of a Hitler, or some Asian despot will not, and cannot extinguish the flame of liberty.
The foe of liberty the seeker presages of is more insidious, than a mere outside adversary.
The villain that can snuff out liberties glare is within all of us. When we as a people believe it is ok to bargain with the darkness of oppression, then we are doomed.
We whom enjoy, and live in liberties protective glare; our debt is to protect the flame of liberty. We also owe a debt to the ancient Athenian’s of Greece because it is the headwaters of our freedom. Our obligation to our founding fathers is not to change the terms of our liberty on its head for selfish reasons or for security concerns.
Every man, woman, and child’s debt is to protect this fragile flame of liberty. Our debt paid in full when we leave for our descendants the legacy of liberty.
It is as simple as this; if we are not all free then none of us is free.
Author: Douglas Bryant