Freedom means that the
spirit voluntarily limits itself to nothing other than sublime
feelings and thoughts, and serves no principles other than
goodness and virtue.
Many people who are actually imprisoned or in chains remain
free in their conscience and so do not feel their imprisonment.
Many others, however, do not taste the true meaning of freedom
although they inhabit the grand spaces of palaces and gardens.
True freedom is civilized freedom. It wears the diamond chain
of religion and morals, and the golden collar of sound thinking.
True freedom is the freedom of the human mind from all shackles
that hinder it from making material and spiritual progress,
as long as we do not fall into indifference and heedlessness.
Freedom allows people to do whatever they want, provided that
they do not harm others and that they remain wholly devoted
to the truth.
Freedom that does not acknowledge religious ideas and feelings,
and that does not serve as the ground for virtue and morality,
is like the desire to scratch oneself. Communities afflicted
with this desire eventually become restless and wander off
the common road of humanity.
Those who regard freedom as absolute liberty confuse human
freedom with animal freedom. Animals have no moral questions
asked of them, and so are free of moral constraints. Some
people desire this kind of freedom and, if they can, use it
to indulge the darkest desires of the flesh. Such freedom
is worse than bestial. True freedom, however, the freedom
of moral responsibility, shows that one is human, for it motivates
and enlivens the conscience and removes impediments to the