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Freedom quote

It is like living among snow-capped peaks with clouds wrapped around them and the sun and moon starkly shining over them... Aloneness becomes their companion, their spiritual consort, part of their being. Wherever they go they are alone, whatever they do they are alone. Whether they relate socially with friends or meditate alone ... aloneness is there all the time. That aloneness is freedom, fundamental freedom.

CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, The Myth of Freedom

Freedom is sometimes defined as a lack of resistance or restraint. A wheel turns freely if there is very little friction in the bearing, a horse breaks free from the post to which it has been tethered, a man frees himself from the branch on which he has been caught while climbing a tree. Physical restraint is an obvious condition, which seems particularly useful in defining freedom, but with respect to important issues, it is a metaphor and not a very good one. People are indeed controlled by fetters, handcuffs, strait jackets, and the walls of jails and concentration camps, but what may be called behavioral control--the restraint imposed by contingencies of reinforcement--is a very different thing.

BURRHUS FREDERIC SKINNER, Beyond Freedom & Dignity

Individual freedom, wherever it has existed, has been largely the product of a prevailing respect for such principles which, however, have never been fully articulated in constitutional documents. Freedom has been preserved for prolonged periods because such principles, vaguely and dimly perceived, have governed public opinion. The institutions by which countries of the Western world have attempted to protect individual freedom against progressive encroachment by government have always proved inadequate when transferred to countries where such traditions did not prevail. And they have not provided sufficient protection against the effects of new desires which even among the peoples of the West now often loom larger than the older conceptions--conceptions that made possible the periods of freedom when these peoples gained their present position.

FRIEDRICH HAYEK, Law, Lesislation and Liberty

Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you
Lay your body down.

STEPHEN STILLS, "Find the Cost of Freedom"

Man's freedom is relative and it cannot be held solely responsible for the imperfection of his nature.

SRI AUROBINDO, The Life Divine

What a curious phenomenon it is that you can get men to die for the liberty of the world who will not make the little sacrifice that is needed to free themselves from their own individual bondage.

BRUCE BARTON, It's a Good Old World

No successful political transition can take place without leaders and movements that demand and press for freedom.

FAREED ZAKARIA, The Future of Freedom

For one to be free there must be at least two. Freedom signifies a social relation, an asymmetry of social conditions: essentially it implies social difference--it presumes and implies the presence of social division. Some can be free only in so far as there is a form of dependence they can aspire to escape.


Freedom is the illusion of an imprisoned mind.

LEONID S. SUKHORUKOV, All About Everything

Freedom as a blessing today might, under new conditions, become a danger and a curse tomorrow. Crimes endanger the general welfare of a community. Freedom for criminals would be a menace to community interests. The community therefore forbids crime, adopts a criminal code listing a great variety of acts which are considered prejudicial to community well-being, and prescribes penalties for lawbreakers. Individuals and social groups who violate the criminal law are restrained or coerced. The nature of crime depends upon local custom or accepted practice. In this very considerable area, by common consent, freedom is officially abrogated, and restraint and coercions are relied upon to protect the community.

SCOTT NEARING, Freedom: Promise and Menace

Man, the more he gains freedom in the sense of emerging from the original oneness with man and nature and the more he becomes an "individual," has no choice but to unite himself with the world in the spontaneity of love and productive work or else to seek a kind of security by such ties with the world as destroy his freedom and the integrity of his individual self.

ERICH FROMM, Escape from Freedom

The guerdon is priceless;
Up, up every land,
And know the true gladness
Of freedom of soul.


If a man is not restrained from acting as his will determines, or constrained to act otherwise, then he has liberty, according to common notions of liberty, without taking into the idea that grand contradiction of all, the determinations of a man's free will being the effects of the determinations of his free will.--Nor have men commonly any notion of freedom consisting in indifference. For if so, then it would be agreeable to their notion, that the greater indifference men act with, the more freedom they act with; whereas the reverse is true. He that, in acting, proceeds with the fullest inclination, does what he does with the greatest freedom, according to common sense.


Freedom is entirely different from revolt. There is no such thing as doing right or wrong when there is freedom. You are free and from that centre you act.

JIDDU KRISHNAMURTI, Freedom from the Known

What we may call the "literature of freedom" has been designed to induce people to escape from or attack those who act to control them aversively. The content of the literature is the philosophy of freedom, but philosophies are among those inner causes which need to be scrutinized. We say that a person behaves in a given way because he possesses a philosophy, but we infer the philosophy from the behavior and therefore cannot use it in any satisfactory way as an explanation, at least until it is in turn explained. The literature of freedom, on the other hand, has a simple objective status. It consists of books, pamphlets, manifestoes, speeches, and other verbal products, designed to induce people to act to free themselves from various kinds of intentional control. It does not impart a philosophy of freedom; it induces people to act.

BURRHUS FREDERIC SKINNER, Beyond Freedom & Dignity

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.

ALBERT EINSTEIN, Out of My Later Years

When we were told that by freedom we understood free enterprise, we did very little to dispel this monstrous falsehood, and all too often we have acted as though we too believed that it was wealth and abundance which were at stake in the postwar conflict between the "revolutionary" countries in the East and the West. Wealth and economic well-being, we have asserted, are the fruits of freedom, while we should have been the first to know that this kind of "happiness" was the blessing of America prior to the Revolution, and that its cause was natural abundance under "mild government," and neither political freedom nor the unchained, unbridled "private initiative" of capitalism, which in the absence of natural wealth has led everywhere to unhappiness and mass poverty. Free enterprise, in other words, has been an unmixed blessing only in America, and it is a minor blessing compared with the truly political freedoms, such as freedom of speech and thought, of assembly and association, even under the best conditions.

HANNAH ARENDT, On Revolution

Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.

JOHN DALBERG-ACTON, The History of Freedom in Antiquity

Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.


Can this be happiness, this terrifying freedom?


The universal law of justice is: act externally in such a way that the free use of your will is compatible with the freedom of everyone according to a universal law.

IMMANUEL KANT, The Metaphysical Elements of Justice

It is only after slavery and prison that the sweetest appreciation of freedom can come.

MALCOLM X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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