Reflections on Ancient and Modern Freedom

That the limited concept of freedom conceived as mere absence of constraint on the desires of the sovereign self has proved ­popular—and indeed had been raised to an absolute value—is unsurprising. It is evident that freedom as understood by the Greek philosophers is not easy but difficult; it requires an intense and painstaking moral discipline to liberate oneself from the passions and achieve rational self-mastery. Inevitably this challenging conception falters in winning mass popularity against a notion of freedom adjusted to the unhindered satisfaction of human appetites and desires. But for the Greek philosophers, mass popularity was never a criterion of truth. Their concept of freedom is aristocratic in the original and genuine sense of being concerned with the cultivation of moral and intellectual excellence.

Click here to read the full publication →