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Freedom quote

I hated slavery, always, and the desire for freedom only needed a favorable breeze, to fan it into a blaze, at any moment. The thought of only being a creature of the present and the past troubled me, and I longed to have a future--a future with hope in it. To be shut up entirely to the past and present, is abhorrent to the human mind; it is to the soul--whose life and happiness is unceasing progress--what the prison is to the body; a blight and mildew, a hell of horrors. The dawning of this, another year, awakened me from my temporary slumber, and roused into life my latent, but long cherished aspirations for freedom. I was now not only ashamed to be contented in slavery, but ashamed to seem to be contented.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, My Bondage and My Freedom

Proving one's freedom will often mean insisting on the most arbitrary, odd, unrepeatable aspects of one's behavior.


Without total freedom, every perception, every objective regard, is twisted. It is only the man who is totally free who can look and understand immediately. Freedom implies really, doesn't it, the total emptying of the mind. Completely to empty the whole content of the mind--that is real freedom. Freedom is not mere revolt from circumstances, which again breeds other circumstances, other environmental influences, which enslave the mind. We are talking about a freedom that comes naturally, easily, unasked for, when the mind is capable of functioning at its highest level.


It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.

MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator

The free man is he who does not fear to go to the end of his thought.

LEON BLUM, quoted in Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases

The importance of our being free to do a particular thing has nothing to do with the question of whether we or the majority are ever likely to make use of that particular possibility. To grant no more freedom than all can exercise would be to misconceive its function completely. The freedom that will be used by only one man in a million may be more important to society and more beneficial to the majority than any freedom that we all use.

FRIEDRICH HAYEK, The Constitution of Liberty

Unless your freedom turns into a creative realization, you will feel sad. Because you will see that you are free--your chains are broken, and you are no longer in prison; you are standing under the starry night, completely free. But where do you go?

OSHO, Freedom: The Courage to Be Yourself

Heaven's blessing must attend all, and freedom must soon be given to the pining millions under a ruthless bondage.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, My Bondage and My Freedom

Modern European and American history is centered around the effort to gain freedom from the political, economic, and spiritual shackles that have bound men. The battles for freedom where fought by the oppressed, those who wanted new liberties, against those who had privileges to defend. While a class was fighting for its own liberation from domination, it believed itself to be fighting for human freedom as such and thus was able to appeal to an ideal, to the longing for freedom rooted in all who are oppressed. In the long and virtually continuous battle for freedom, however, classes that were fighting against oppression at one stage sided with the enemies of freedom when victory was won and new privileges were to be defended.

ERICH FROMM, Escape from Freedom

Our submission to general principles is necessary because we cannot be guided in our practical action by full knowledge and evaulation of the consequences. So long as men are not omniscient, the only way in which freedom can be given to the individual is by such general rules to delimit the sphere in which the decision is his. There can be no freedom if the government is not limited to particular kinds of action but can use its powers in any ways which serve particular ends.

FRIEDRICH HAYEK, Individualism and Economic Order

No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other fastened about his own neck.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, speech, Oct. 1883

The assumption that there must be a core concept of freedom common to all contested conceptions misrepresents the nature of the disputes. Typically, protagonists accuse each other of espousing conceptions which are not conceptions of freedom at all, but which are rather conceptions of power, opportunity, will, self-realization, and so forth. To assume that there is a core concept of freedom common to all conceptions is to assume agreement on at least some essential characteristics of freedom. But, for example, those who regard freedom as essentially "negative" will reject MacCallum's schema as too broad; those who believe that freedom is essentially self-realization will reject it as too narrow.

CHRISTINE SWANTON, Freedom: A Coherence Theory

Without freedom there can be no morality.

CARL JUNG, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.


We ... would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.


Freedom varies in direct relation to group stability. The greater the group stability, the greater the freedom. The reverse proposition also holds. Hence, freedom is an opportunity enjoyed in times and places where public policy as interpreted by public authority leans away from restraint toward a greater number and variety of choices. A gradual or sudden change in the community boundaries, will be reflected in lessened or augmented limitations.

SCOTT NEARING, Freedom: Promise and Menace

There are two kinds of freedom: one is the freedom from something, which is a reaction; and the other is not a reaction, it is "being free."


It is because freedom means the renunciation of direct control of individual efforts that a free society can make use of so much more knowledge than the mind of the wisest ruler could comprehend.

FRIEDRICH HAYEK, The Constitution of Liberty

Witness and stand back from Nature, that is the first step to the soul's freedom.

SRI AUROBINDO, The Life Divine

The freedom from something is not true freedom. The freedom to do anything you want to do is also not the freedom I am talking about. My vision of freedom is to be yourself.

OSHO, Freedom: The Courage to Be Yourself

Every event has a cause--that is ... for every event e1 there exists an event e2 (or a class of events e2, e3 ...) which precedes e1 and of which e1 is a necessary consequence.... If we assent to this statement then your "choice" to do A rather than B, whatever may have been at the time your sensation of freedom from any constraint, was entirely necessitated. You could not have done otherwise and hence, according to this conception of freedom, were not free.


Without freedom, there is no creation.


The supreme end is the freedom of the spirit.

SRI AUROBINDO, Bhagavad Gita and Its Message

Freedom all solace to man gives
He lives at ease who freely lives.


Freedom is the fundamental condition for any growth.

ERICH FROMM, Escape from Freedom

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