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Wisdom of the Sages

Quotations from the world's Great Sages.
Links are provided to buy the music or books.

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Category Selected: Freedom, 110 results found:

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it!"
- Bernard Shaw
"  Liberty has never come from the government.    Liberty has always come from the subjects of it.    The history of liberty is a history of resistance.    The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it."
- Woodrow Wilson
"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. "
- Abraham Lincoln
"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom."
- Albert Einstein
"Any power must be an enemy of mankind which enslaves the individual by terror and force, whether it arises under the Fascist or the Communist flag. All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual."
- Albert Einstein
"The winds, as at their hour of birth,     Leaning upon the ridged sea,Breathed low around the rolling earth     With mellow preludes, ‘We are free.’ The streams, through many a lilied row     Down-carolling to the crisped sea,Low-tinkled with a bell-like flow     Atween the blossoms, ‘We are free.’ "
- Alfred Tennyson
"Art is what you can get away with."
- Andy Warhol
"Liberty is a virtue unlimited. Preserve this blessing always and humbly share. Oppression had its hour, lost its taste, for it was more bitter than sour. Liberty respects the boundaries that support thee. When she is faced with obstacles, she climbs them for she is free from within. Liberty realizes himself, and does not define himself by walls within his home. Liberty waves the flag on high, and smiles in a mile of transformation. Liberty does not nullify the o's by heeding fallacy. Liberty found the courage within themselves to raise a flag in the face of injustice. Let liberty find a greater courage to hold hands with justice. When Liberty realizes his other sparks of Love, Kindness, Respect, Compassion, Peace, Humility, Faith, Honesty, Modesty, Courage..., a unanimous "unum" shall be revealed. All colors of the rainbow come from the same Light.

- Anon ymous
"It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken. "
- Aristotle
"Those who would sacrifice essential liberties for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin
"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. "
- Benjamin Franklin
"The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself. "
- Benjamin Franklin
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly. "
- Bertrand Russell
"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free "
- Bertrand Russell
"How many years can a people exist before they're allowed to be free?"
- Bob Dylan
Source: Blowin' in the Wind
"Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. "
- Bob Dylan
Source: The Times they are a-changin'
"I define nothing. Not beauty, not patriotism. I take each thing as it is, without prior rules about what it should be."
- Bob Dylan
"I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom."
- Bob Dylan
"There is nothing so stable as change."
- Bob Dylan
"Paranoia strikes deep Into your life it will creep It starts when you're always afraid. You step out of line, the man come and take you away."
- Buffalo Springfield
Source: For What it's Worth
"We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. "
- Carl Jung
"If you want to be free, be free, because there's a million things to be."
- Cat Stevens
Source: If You Want to Sing Out
"I only ask to be free.  The butterflies are free. "
- Charles Dickens
"We must bear in mind that imperialism is a world system, the last stage of capitalism-and it must be defeated in a world confrontation. The strategic end of this struggle should be the destruction of imperialism. Our share, the responsibility of the exploited and underdeveloped of the world, is to eliminate the foundations of imperialism: our oppressed nations, from where they extract capital, raw materials, technicians, and cheap labor, and to which they export new capital-instruments of domination-arms and all kinds of articles, thus submerging us in an absolute dependence."
- Che Guevara
"  Freedom suppressed and again regained bites with keener fangs than freedom never endangered."
- Cicero
"We can change the world, rearrange the world. It's dying - if you believe in justice. It's Dying - if you believe in freedom. It's Dying - let a man live his own life. It's Dying - rules and regulations, who needs them! Open up the door."
- Crosby, Stills & Nash
Source: Chicago
"Cannot believe what I see. All I have wished for will be. All our race proud and free."
- Donovan
Source: Wear Your Love Like Heaven
"I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it. "
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."
- Eden Phillpotts
"I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."
- Edith Cavell
"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. "
- Edward R. Murrow
"The obscure we see eventually.  The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer."
- Edward R. Murrow
"No man is free who is not a master of himself."
- Epictetus
"From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached. "
- Franz Kafka
"Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable."
- Franz Kafka
"I want freedom for the full expression of my personality. "
- Gandhi
"A "No" uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a "Yes" merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble."
- Gandhi
"Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed."
- Gandhi
"No society can possibly be built on a denial of individual freedom. "
- Gandhi
"I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible."
- Gandhi
"Independence of my conception means nothing less than the realization of the "Kingdom of God" within you and on this earth. "
- Gandhi
Lecture by Gurdjieff quoted in J.G.Bennett’s  ‘Making a New World’.


“Freedom leads to freedom. Those are the first words of truth. You do not know what truth is because you do not know what freedom is. All the ‘truth’ that you know today is only truth in quotation marks. There is another truth but it is not theoretical; it cannot be expressed in words. Only those who have realized it in themselves can understand that truth.

Now I will give you a detailed explanation of those words I have spoken. It rests on the following basis. The freedom I speak about is the freedom that is the goal of all schools, all religions, of all times. And in truth, I tell you that this freedom can be a very great one. Everyone wishes for it: but it can never be attained without the first kind of freedom that I will call the Lesser Freedom. The Greater Freedom is the liberation of ourselves from all influences acting outside ourselves. The Lesser Freedom is the liberation of ourselves  from all influences acting within ourselves. For a start – for you who are beginners – the Lesser Freedom is a very big one indeed, as it is not subject to your dependence upon outside influences.

You have to understand that so long as you are the slave of inside influences you cannot come under the action of outside influences. This is perhaps even a good thing, so long as you have no inner freedom. You must understand that the man who is freed from inside influences begins to fall under the play of outside influences.

Inner influences, that produce in you inner slavery, come from many independent sources. That is to say, there is a great heap of independent factors that cause man to be inwardly a slave. These influences are different for different people. In one case one influence is strongest, and in another case another. But in every one without exception there are so many factors of slavery that, if you had to struggle with each one you would need such a long time that half a lifetime would not be enough.

Therefore we must find such a means or method of working as will enable us to destroy simultaneously as many as possible of the enemies within us from which flow these influences that produce slavery.

As I have said, there are many such independent enemies: but two of the chiefest are Vanity and Self-Love. In one doctrine, these are even called the chief ambassadors of the devil. It may be added, by the way, that for some reason they are called Madame Vanity and Monsieur Self-Love. I have quoted merely two of these inner enemies as characteristic, because it would lead too far to mention them all now.

We have so many slaves within us – each of these slaves wishes to be free, but it is difficult for each slave to work directly and straightforwardly. It is especially difficult for our slaves to contend with these enemies, because none of our slaves has enough time. At one moment one slave is present : at another moment it is another slave, and to contend with these enemies requires a great deal of time. In the upshot, it has to be done indirectly in order that we can get rid of several of the enemies simultaneously.

For this, we have to understand how these enemies work and from where they get their power. You must know that these representatives of the devil stand all the time on the threshold and deny entry to all outside influences – both good and bad. Accordingly, they have both good and bad sides. If anyone wishes to limit the entry of outside influences, it is well for him that these sentinels exist. But if, for some reason or other, anyone wishes that every kind of outside influence should enter him, then he must free himself from these two sentinels. Only it is necessary to understand once and for all that it is impossible to select the influence one wishes. For example, it is impossible to select only good influences. The sentinels are only undesirable for those whose real aim is freedom. Those who have this aim must strive by every means in their power to liberate themselves first of all from these two enemies – vanity and self-love.

To do this there are a heap of methods and many different means. But I, Gurdjieff, would personally advise you to get rid of them, without subtilizing, by merely reasoning simply and actively with yourself.

This is possible by active mentation: and I must warn you that if you fail, or find it impossible by this means, then some other means must be found, because there is no hope of going further until some of those enemies have been eradicated.

For instance, self-love or false pride takes up half of our time and half of our life. If anyone or anything outside us should hurt our pride, we are injured, not only for the time being, but for a long time afterwards. And that wounded feeling, acting by inertia, closes the portal and so shuts out life.

I live! Life is outside. I am alive so long as I am connected with the outside. If life only exists inside me, this is no life at all. When I ‘behold myself’ I find that I am linked up with the outside world. Everything lives after this wise and cannot exist without this linkage.

One experience fades away and hardly has time to do so when another takes its place. Our machine is so built that it has not various places in it in which different experiences can subsist at one and the same time. In us, there is one place where experiences can be, and if that place is occupied by experiences of one kind that are undesirable, there can be no question of its being occupied with experiences of another kind which may be desirable. You have to grasp and realize as a fact that your experiences cannot lead to any kind of achievement or liberation unless you have lived through them. You must have experiences – even more perhaps than you can possibly imagine, both pleasant and unpleasant – but you must not let them make slaves of you. On the contrary, you must use them in order to prepare a place in which you can be free.

We do not own ourselves and do not posses real pride of self. Pride of Self is a big thing. As much as we must blame pride as it is ordinarily understood, so much do we need that Real Pride which unhappily does not exist in us.

Pride of Self is the sign of being in possession of oneself. If a man has Self-Pride it proves that he is. But as I said in the beginning, Self-Pride is also the Devil’s representative. Self-Pride is the chief enemy, the chief obstacle to all our achievements. Pride is the main tool and representative of hell. Pride is also one attribute of the soul. By Pride it is possible to discern the spirit. Pride of Self is the indicator and proof that such a one is part of Heaven. Pride of Self is ‘I’. ‘I’ is God. Consequently it is needful to have pride. Pride is hell. Pride is heaven. These two, both bearing the same name, externally both of the same substance, are wholly different and opposite. No one by merely superficial examination – even if he continues a whole lifetime – will ever succeed to discern one from the other.

There is a saying ‘Those who have Pride are already half-free’. And if we take those who are sitting round here, each one has so much pride that he has more than enough to spare. This is a paradox. We are full to the brim with pride and yet we have not the slightest freedom for ourselves. The aim must be to have Pride. If we attain to have pride we shall thereby be made free from many of the foes who are installed in us. We may even free ourselves from the main ones – Madame Vanity and Monsieur Self Love.

If you wish for Freedom – even the Lesser Freedom – you must be ready to pay a big price.

Sometimes people complain to me that they cannot do the tasks I give them. What do they expect? It is enough if you see the possibility of doing them – the rest depends upon the strength of your own wish to be free. At present you cannot do, because you are not free.

You must understand that you cannot begin with freedom – freedom is the goal, the aim. People say God created man free. That is a great misunderstanding. Freedom cannot be given to anyone – even by our all-loving Creator Himself. God has given to man the biggest thing He can – that is the possibility to become free. The desire for freedom exists in every man worthy of the name – but people are stupid and think they can have outward freedom without inner freedom. All our evil comes from this stupidity. Unless we desire, first of all, to be free from our own inner enemies, we shall only go from bad to worse.

Therefore everyone must examine himself and try to find in himself a sincere wish to be free from the forces of vanity and self-love acting in him. That inner slavery is the worst degradation for man, it is the hell in which man allows himself to exist. The sincere wish to be free from that degradation is the beginning of real pride."

- Gurdjieff
Source: 'Gudjieff-Making a New World' J.G.Bennett
"Just living is not enough.  One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. "
- Hans Christian Anderson
"It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived."
- Harper Lee
"You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims."
- Harriet Woods
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable."
- Helen Keller
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure."
- Helen Keller
"I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
- Henry David Thoreau
"However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts."
- Henry David Thoreau
"To be able to throw one's self away for the sake of a moment, to be able to sacrifice years for a woman's smile - that is happiness."
- Hermann Hesse
"Only the ideas that we really live have any value"
- Hermann Hesse
"The supreme law of the land is the Great Spirit's law, not man's law."
- Hopi
"Dancing: The Highest Intelligence in the Freest Body."
- Isadora Duncan
"The dead hand has too long hampered the freedom of the living."
- James Robertson
"Freedom is always at the beginning and not at the end."
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
Source: The First and Last Freedom
"I like ideas about the breaking away or overthrowing of established order. I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road towards freedom - external freedom is a way to bring about internal freedom."
- Jim Morrison
"A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself. "
- Jim Morrison
"Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free."
- Jim Morrison
"The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. ...You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask."
- Jim Morrison
"Whoever controls the media, controls the mind."
- Jim Morrison
"Some people surrender their freedom willingly but others are forced to surrender it. Imprisonment begins with birth. Society, parents they refuse to allow you to keep the freedom you were born with. There are subtle ways to punish a person for daring to feel. You see that everyone around you has destroyed his true feeling nature. You imitate what you see. "
- Jim Morrison
"A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself."
- Jim Morrison
"Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free."
- Jim Morrison
"I think the highest and lowest points are the important ones. Anything else is just...in between. I want the freedom to try everything."
- Jim Morrison
"The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask."
- Jim Morrison
"White collar conservative flashin down the street, pointing that plastic finger at me, they all assume my kind will drop and die, but I'm gonna wave my freak flag high."
- Jimi Hendrix
Source: If Six Was Nine
"I have this one little saying, when things get too heavy just call me helium, the lightest known gas to man."
- Jimi Hendrix
"One thing I can tell you is you've got to be FREE!"
- John Lennon
Source: Come Together
"Our programme is cultural revolution thorugh a total assault on culture, which makes use of every tool, every energy and every media we can get our collective hands on... our culture, our art, our music, our books, our posters, our clothing, the way our hair grows long, the way we smoke dope and fuck and eat and sleep-it's all one message-the message is freedom."
- John Sinclair (1969)
"Got to get back to the land and set my soul free."
- Joni Mitchell/CS&N
Source: Woodstock
"Without freedom from the past, there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent."
- Krishnamurti
"There's a feeling I get, when I look to the west, and my spirit is longing for leaving."
- Led Zeppelin
Source: Led Zeppelin IV
"Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free..."

- Leonard Cohen
Source: Bird On The Wire (Songs From A Room, 1969)
"I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in, and going after your dreams. "
- Madonna Ciccone
"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. "
- Malcolm X
"I think that an objective analysis of events that are taking place on this earth today points towards some type of ultimate showdown. You can call it political showdown, or even a showdown between the economic systems that exist on this earth which almost boil down along racial lines. I do believe that there will be a clash between East and West. I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation."
- Malcolm X
"You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom."
- Malcolm X
"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."
- Martin Luther King
"White man and black man, jew and gentile, protestant and catholic, will be able to hold hands and sing in the words of the ancient negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty! We are free at last!"
- Martin Luther King Jr.
"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. "
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
- Noam Chomsky
"If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don't embrace trouble; that's as bad as treating it as any enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes
"In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came for me -- and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
- Pastor Martin Niemoller, 1945
"I got no strings to hold me down, I got no strings on me!"
- Pinocchio
"Whoso would be a man must be nonconformist."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Each man has his own vocation; his talent is his call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Life is a progress, and not a station."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Don't ask her why she needs to be so free. She'll tell you it's the only way to be."
- Rolling Stones
Source: Ruby Tuesday
The man

 Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys.

 Power, like a desolating pestilence,

 Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,

 Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,

 Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame,

 A mechanized automaton.



- Shelley
Source: Queen Mab
"Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. "
- Sigmund Freud
"Men build too many walls and not enough bridges."
- Sir Isaac Newton
"How many of us realize we live our lives in a prison? It may be velvet lined with all the amenities, but it's a prison nevertheless. We are the slave labor used to perpetuate this system by enriching those with power (our jail keepers). If you try to escape from this velvet lined jail, they put you in another higher-security jail without all the amenities, and even less freedom. Face it we're all prisoners!

- Skip Stone

"The Internet has shattered all our illusionary boundaries including national borders, cultural taboos, and even political power structures. "
- Skip Stone
"A time for love, a time for hate, a time for peace, I swear it's not too late. "
- The Byrds
Source: Turn! Turn! Turn!
"Every brother should have what he needs to do his thing."
- The Diggers
Source: The Digger Papers
"I've miles and miles of pretty files of your forefathers' fruit. And now to suit our great computer, you're magnetic ink! ...It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave, and keep on thinking free..."
- The Moody Blues
Source: In The Beginning
"Human Beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and freedom.

- The XIVth Dalai Lama
"Think for yourself and question authority."
- Timothy Leary
"I am 100 percent in favor of the intelligent use of drugs, and 1,000 percent against the thoughtless use of them, whether caffeine or LSD."
- Timothy Leary
Source: Chaos and Cyber Culture
"If it feels good do it! "
- Unknown
"Do your own thing. "
- Unknown
"Work, which makes a man free, and thought, which makes him worthy of freedom. "
- Victor Hugo
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
- Voltaire
"Go Forward With CourageWhen you are in doubt, be still, and wait;when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.So long as mists envelop you, be still;be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists-- as it surely will.Then act with courage."
- White Eagle
"Freedom is strangely ephemeral.  It is something like breathing; one only becomes acutely aware of its importance when one is choking."
- William E. Simon
"Last Words.Listen to my last words anywhere. Listen to my last words any world.Listen all you boards syndicates and governments of the earth.And you powers behind what filth deals consummated in what lavatory to take what is not yours. To sell the ground from unborn feet forever -"Don't let them see us. Don't tell them what we are doing -"Are these the words of the all powerful boards and syndicates of the earth?"For God's sake don't let that coca-cola thing out -""Not the cancer deal with the Venusians -""Not the green deal - Don't show them that -""Not the orgasm death -""Not the ovens -"Listen: I call you all. Show your cards all players.Pay it all pay it all pay it all back.Play it all play it all play it all back.For all to see. In Times Square. In Picadilly."Premature.Premature. Give us a little more time."Time for what? More lies? Premature? Premature for who? I say to all these words are not premature. These words may be too late.Minutes to go. Minutes to foe goal -"Top secret -Classified -For the Board - The Elite -The Initiates -"Are these the words of the all-powerful boards and syndicates of the earth? These are the words of cowards and collaborators traitors.Liars who want more time for more lies. Cowards who cannot face your "dogs" your "gooks" your "errand boys" your "human animals" with the truth. Collaborators with insect people with vegetable people. With any people anywhere who offer you a body forever. To shit forever. For this you have sold out your sons. Sold the ground from unborn feet forever. Traitors to all souls everywhere. You want the name of Hassan i Sabbah on your filth deeds to sell out the unborn?What scared you all into time? Into body? Into shit? I will tell you: "the word." Alien Word "the". "The" word of Alien Enemy imprisons "thee" in time. In body. In shit. Prisoner, come out. The great skies are open. I Hassan i Sabbah rub out the word forever.If you I cancel all your words forever. And the words of Hassan i Sabbah as also cancel. Cross all your skies see the silent writing of Brion Gysin Hassan i Sabbah: drew September 17, 1899 over New York."
- William S.Burroughs
Source: Nova Express
"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom, and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too. "
- William Somerset Maugham
"Freedom exists only where the people take care of the government. "
- Woodrow Wilson
"Nobody living can ever stop me. As I go walking my freedom highway. Nobody living can make me turn back. This land was made for you and me."
- Woody Guthrie
Source: This Land Was Made For You and Me (1940)

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