Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Freedom

"It is indifference which is the cause of most of our unhappiness. Indifference to religion, to the happiness of others, and to the precious gift of freedom, and the wide liberty that is the inheritance of all in a free land. Are we our "Brother's Keeper"? We certainly are! If we had no regard for others' feelings or fortune, we would grow cold and indifferent to life itself. Bound up with selfishness, we could not hope for the success that could easily be ours." - George Matthew Adams

"From cradle to grave this problem of running order through chaos, direction through space, discipline through freedom, unity through multiplicity, has always been, and must always be, the task of education." - Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

"In the same degree in which a man’s mind is nearer to freedom from all passion, in the same degree also is it nearer to strength." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom." -

"A devotion to humanity... is too easily equated with a devotion to a Cause, and Causes, as we know, are notoriously bloodthirsty... Freedom is not something anybody can be given, freedom is something people take." -

"Freedom is not caprice, but room to enlarge." -

"Life has neither material nor idealistic secrecy or mystery about it. Life is equal to itself only, hence perceiving its meaning is out of the question... The exaggeration of our mental abilities has given rise to what we perceive as “the problem” of discerning life’s purpose... If it is beyond our powers to disembowel love and beauty - we can only ravish them - it means that they are given to us not for cognition but for reflection. Similarly, the freedom of choice granted to man, a freedom denied the rest of the living species, is man’s task, a duty to exercise and fulfill, not merely an opportune option." - Andrei Bitov, fully Andrei Georgiyevich Bitov

"Freedom often means little more than the effective coordination of humanity in the achievement of economic ends." - Murray Bookchin

"None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free." - Pearl S. Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu

"Happiness follows sorrow, sorrow follows happiness, but when one no longer discriminates between happiness and sorrow, a good deed and a bad deed, one is able to realize freedom." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"On life's journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life nothing can destroy him; if he has conquered greed nothing can limit his freedom." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives enlargement to a people’s energy, intellect and virtues." - William Ellery Channing

"The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives enlargement to a people's energy, intellect and virtues... Progress, the growth of intelligence and power, is the end and boon of liberty; and, without this, a people may have the name, but want the substance and spirit of freedom." - William Ellery Channing

"Our inheritance of well-founded, slowly conceived codes of honor, morals and manners, the passionate convictions which so many hundreds of millions share together of the principles of freedom and justice, are far more precious to us than anything which scientific discoveries could bestow." -

"There is no truer and more abiding happiness than the knowledge that one is free to go on doing, day by day, the best work one can do, in the kind one likes best, and that this work is absorbed by a steady market, and thus supports one's own life. Perfect freedom is reserved for the man who lives by his own work and in that work does what he wants to do." -

"The faults of our neighbors with freedom we blame, but tax not ourselves, though we practice the same." - Alexander Cunningham, 5th Earl of Glencairn

"Mankind is at its best when it is most free. This will be clear if we grasp the principle of liberty. We must realize that the basic principle of our freedom is freedom to choose, which saying many have on their lips but few in their minds." - Alighieri Dante

"You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free." - Clarence Darrow, fully Clarence Seward Darrow

"God forces no one, for love cannot compel, and God’s service, therefore, is a thing of perfect freedom." - Hans Denk

"The essential problem of freedom, it seems to me, is the problem of the relation of choice and unimpeded effective action to each other... There is an intrinsic connection between choice as freedom and power of action as freedom. A choice which intelligently manifests individuality enlarges the range of action, and this enlargement in turn confers upon our desires greater insight and foresight, and makes choice more intelligent." - John Dewey

"By academic freedom I understand the right to search for truth and to publish and teach what one holds to be true. This right implies also a duty: one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true." - Albert Einstein

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

"Whatever deprives a man of personal individual motive for self-improvement and robust exertion will not make him free, but on the contrary more servile and in the long run less intelligent, industrious and free, for freedom is a matter of character and will power." - Charles W. Eliot

"Freedom does not consist in the dream of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives or systematically making them work towards definite ends. This holds good in relation both to the laws of external nature and to those which govern the bodily and mental existence of men themselves - two classes of laws which we can separate from each other at most only in thought but not in reality. Freedom of the will therefore means nothing but the capacity to make decisions with knowledge of the subject." - Friedrich Engels

"The freer a man’s judgment is in relation to a definite question, the greater is the necessity with which the content of this judgment will be determined; while the uncertainty, founded on ignorance, which seems to make an arbitrary choice among many different and conflicting possible decisions, shows precisely by this that it is not free, that it is controlled by the very object it should itself control. Freedom therefore consists in the control over ourselves and over external nature, an control founded on knowledge of natural necessity; it is therefore necessarily a product of historical development." - Friedrich Engels

"Do people love truth? On the contrary, mankind has employed its subtlest ingenuity and intelligence in efforts to evade or conceal it... Do human beings love justice? The sordid travesties in our courts year after year suggest that they love justice only for themselves. Do they love peace? Can anyone seriously ask the question? Do they love freedom? Only for those who share their views. Love of peace, freedom, justice, truth - this is a myth that has been created by the folk mind, and if the artist does not look behind the myth to the reality, he will indeed wander amid the phantoms which he creates." - Vardis Fisher, fully Vardis Alvero Fisher

"Let them fear bondage who are slaves to fear; the sweetest freedom is an honest heart." - John Ford

"Ultimately there can be no freedom for self unless it is vouchsafed for others; there can be no security where there is fear, and democratic society presupposes confidence and candor in the relations of men with one another and eager collaboration for the larger ends of life instead of the pursuit of petty, selfish or vainglorious aims." - Felix Frankfurter

"Good is all that serves life, evil is all that serves death. Good is reverence for life...and all that enhances life. Evil is all that stifles life, narrows it down, cuts it to pieces... Dostoevsky said, "If there is no God, then anything is possible." I would say that if there is no love, nothing is possible. Man absolutely cannot live by himself... Uniformity and freedom are incompatible. Uniformity and mental health are incompatible." -

"Most people work for the greater part of their time for a mere living; and the little freedom which remains to them so troubles them that they use every means of getting rid of it." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"It is, most fundamentally, because moral judgments are universablizable that we can speak of moral thought as rational (to universalize is to give the reason); and their prescriptivity is very intimately connected with our freedom to form our own moral opinions (only those free to think and act need a prescriptive language)." - Richard M. Hare, fully Richard Mervyn Hare

"Do not build up your views upon your senses and thoughts, do not base your understanding upon you senses and thoughts; but at the same time do not seek the Mind away from your senses and thoughts, do not try to grasp Realty by rejecting your senses and thoughts. When you are neither attached to, nor detached from, then, then you enjoy your perfect unobstructed freedom, then you have your seat of enlightenment." - Huang Po, also Huángbò Xīyùn

"The spirit of the people must frequently be roused, in order to curb the ambition of the court; and the dread of rousing this spirit must be employed to prevent that ambition. Nothing so effectual to this purpose as the liberty of the press; by which all the learning, wit, and genius of the nation, may be employed on the side of freedom, and every one be animated to its defense." - David Hume

"If there is freedom... there is a spiritual Reality, which it is the final end and purpose of consciousness to know; then all life is in the nature of an intelligence test, and the higher the level of awareness and the greater the potentialities of the creature, the more searchingly difficult will be the questions asked." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Knowledge of what is happening now does not determine the event. What is ordinarily called God’s foreknowledge is in reality a timeless now-knowledge, which is compatible with the freedom of the human creature’s will in time." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Love is as necessary to human beings as food and shelter; [but] without intelligence... love is impotent and freedom unattainable." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Freedom’s first deed should be to affirm itself." - William James

"Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits." - Thomas Jefferson

"Freedom is found in discipline, not rebellion." - John-Roger & Peter McWilliams NULL

"Wisdom and virtue are by no means sufficient, without the supplemental laws of good-breeding, to secure freedom from degenerating into rudeness, or self-esteem from swelling into insolence. A thousand incivilities may be committed, and a thousand offices neglected, without any remorse of conscience or reproach from reason." -

"Personality is the supreme realization of the innate individuality of a particular living being. Personality is an act of the greatest courage in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, and the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom of personal decision." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are... The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission." - Otto Kahn, fully Otto Hermann Kahn

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Freedom is in the moment of action, which is behavior. It is not related to yesterday or tomorrow." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Happiness is not pleasure, it is order. With order come freedom, and with freedom there is responsibility." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Reality comes into being only when the mind is still, not made still. Therefore, there must be no disciplining of the mind to be still. When you discipline yourself, it is merely a projected desire to be in a particular state. Such a state is not the state of passivity... Liberation is from moment to moment in the understanding of what is, when the mind is free, not made free. It is only a free mind that can discover, not a mind molded by a belief or shaped according to a hypothesis. Such a mind cannot discover. There can be no freedom is there is conflict, for conflict is the fixing of the self in relationship." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"What is important is to free ourselves from ideas, from nationalism, from all religious beliefs and dogmas, so that we can act, not according to a pattern or an ideology, but as needs demand... It is only when the mind is free of idea and belief that it can act rightly... and freedom from ideas can take place only through self-awareness and self-knowledge." - Jiddu Krishnamurti