The Unexamined Life

"I always took my freedom seriously, refusing to enslave myself to money and fashion. I genuinely thought I was the freest person in the world. I did not care what other people thought of me; I had no ambition; I refused to pursue fame and fortune; I was completely free from others. No person or institution could force me to do anything against my will. But I had discovered much to my dismay that when I told myself that to be free meant to be an isolated, autonomous individual my words were a cultural formula, and instead of me saying, “I think freedom is the right to do whatever one pleases, provided no one gets hurt,” it would have been more accurate to say, “I am a mouthpiece for modern culture.”

When I grasped that my spiritual nature is the capacity to be connected to all that is, I saw that freedom is not the “license to do whatever one wants,” but the capacity to choose to live a life in accord with my nature, and that required discipline and determination to adopt a new way of thinking—begin with the whole—and a new emotional profile—humility, selflessness, and compassion."