„If freedom is a requisite for human happiness, then all that’s necessary is to provide the illusion of freedom.“

Last update Dec. 24, 2020. History
B.F. Skinner photo
B.F. Skinner28
American behaviorist 1904 - 1990
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„Freedom is an illusion. It always comes at a price.“

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„Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all mankind.“

—  Ella Baker African-American civil rights and human rights activist 1903 - 1986

"The Women Behind the Men" https://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/22/opinion/22collins.html? by Gail Collins in the The New York Times, September 22, 2007

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„All freedoms provided by democracy are for those who believe in it. Can the rights and freedoms of millions of virtuous people who believe in democracy be safeguarded if those who seek to destroy it abuse rights and freedoms to achieve their goals?“

—  Kenan Evren Turkish general 1917 - 2015

An Uneasy Honeymoon, Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,952783-2,00.html (Sep. 29, 1980)
Said Evren in defense of the decision to take power after the 1980 military coup.

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Mikhail Bakunin photo

„I am not myself free or human until or unless I recognize the freedom and humanity of all my fellowmen.
Only in respecting their human character do I respect my own. …
I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation.“

—  Mikhail Bakunin Russian revolutionary, philosopher, and theorist of collectivist anarchism 1814 - 1876

Variant translations:
A natural society, in the midst of which every man is born and outside of which he could never become a rational and free being, becomes humanized only in the measure that all men comprising it become, individually and collectively, free to an ever greater extent.
Note 1. To be personally free means for every man living in a social milieu not to surrender his thought or will to any authority but his own reason and his own understanding of justice; in a word, not to recognize any other truth but the one which he himself has arrived at, and not to submit to any other law but the one accepted by his own conscience. Such is the indispensable condition for the observance of human dignity, the incontestable right of man, the sign of his humanity.
To be free collectively means to live among free people and to be free by virtue of their freedom. As we have already pointed out, man cannot become a rational being, possessing a rational will, (and consequently he could not achieve individual freedom) apart from society and without its aid. Thus the freedom of everyone is the result of universal solidarity. But if we recognize this solidarity as the basis and condition of every individual freedom, it becomes evident that a man living among slaves, even in the capacity of their master, will necessarily become the slave of that state of slavery, and that only by emancipating himself from such slavery will he become free himself.
Thus, too, the freedom of all is essential to my freedom. And it follows that it would be fallacious to maintain that the freedom of all constitutes a limit for and a limitation upon my freedom, for that would be tantamount to the denial of such freedom. On the contrary, universal freedom represents the necessary affirmation and boundless expansion of individual freedom.
This passage was translated as Part III : The System of Anarchism , Ch. 13: Summation, Section VI, in The Political Philosophy of Bakunin : Scientific Anarchism (1953), compiled and edited by G. P. Maximoff
Man does not become man, nor does he achieve awareness or realization of his humanity, other than in society and in the collective movement of the whole society; he only shakes off the yoke of internal nature through collective or social labor... and without his material emancipation there can be no intellectual or moral emancipation for anyone... man in isolation can have no awareness of his liberty. Being free for man means being acknowledged, considered and treated as such by another man, and by all the men around him. Liberty is therefore a feature not of isolation but of interaction, not of exclusion but rather of connection... I myself am human and free only to the extent that I acknowledge the humanity and liberty of all my fellows... I am properly free when all the men and women about me are equally free. Far from being a limitation or a denial of my liberty, the liberty of another is its necessary condition and confirmation.
Man, Society, and Freedom (1871)
Context: The materialistic, realistic, and collectivist conception of freedom, as opposed to the idealistic, is this: Man becomes conscious of himself and his humanity only in society and only by the collective action of the whole society. He frees himself from the yoke of external nature only by collective and social labor, which alone can transform the earth into an abode favorable to the development of humanity. Without such material emancipation the intellectual and moral emancipation of the individual is impossible. He can emancipate himself from the yoke of his own nature, i. e. subordinate his instincts and the movements of his body to the conscious direction of his mind, the development of which is fostered only by education and training. But education and training are preeminently and exclusively social … hence the isolated individual cannot possibly become conscious of his freedom.
To be free … means to be acknowledged and treated as such by all his fellowmen. The liberty of every individual is only the reflection of his own humanity, or his human right through the conscience of all free men, his brothers and his equals.
I can feel free only in the presence of and in relationship with other men. In the presence of an inferior species of animal I am neither free nor a man, because this animal is incapable of conceiving and consequently recognizing my humanity. I am not myself free or human until or unless I recognize the freedom and humanity of all my fellowmen.
Only in respecting their human character do I respect my own....
I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation.

Italo Svevo photo

„The great modern novel of the comic-pathetic illusion of freedom is Confessions of Zeno.“

—  Italo Svevo Italian writer 1861 - 1928

James Wood in London Review of Books, January 3, 2002. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v24/n01/wood02_.html.
Criticism

Barack Obama photo

„I’m under no illusion about the continued barriers to freedom that remain for ordinary Cubans.“

—  Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961

2014, Statement on Cuban policy (December 2014)
Context: I’m under no illusion about the continued barriers to freedom that remain for ordinary Cubans. The United States believes that no Cubans should face harassment or arrest or beatings simply because they’re exercising a universal right to have their voices heard, and we will continue to support civil society there. While Cuba has made reforms to gradually open up its economy, we continue to believe that Cuban workers should be free to form unions, just as their citizens should be free to participate in the political process.
Moreover, given Cuba’s history, I expect it will continue to pursue foreign policies that will at times be sharply at odds with American interests. I do not expect the changes I am announcing today to bring about a transformation of Cuban society overnight. But I am convinced that through a policy of engagement, we can more effectively stand up for our values and help the Cuban people help themselves as they move into the 21st century.

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„Happy slaves are the bitterest enemies of freedom“

—  Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach Austrian writer 1830 - 1916

Source: Aphorisms (1880/1893), p. 77.

Pythagoras photo

„As soon as laws are necessary for men, they are no longer fit for freedom.“

—  Pythagoras ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher -585 - -495 BC

As quoted in Short Sayings of Great Men: With Historical and Explanatory Notes‎ (1882) by Samuel Arthur Bent, p. 454

Thich Nhat Hanh photo

„Freedom from suffering is a great happiness.“

—  Thich Nhat Hanh Religious leader and peace activist 1926

Old Path White Clouds : Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (1991) Parallax Press ISBN 81-216-0675-6

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„From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and freedom and wants to avoid suffering. In this we are all the same; and the more we care for the happiness of others the greater our own sense of each other becomes.“

—  Tenzin Gyatso spiritual leader of Tibet 1935

Context: From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and freedom and wants to avoid suffering. In this we are all the same; and the more we care for the happiness of others the greater our own sense of each other becomes. Many of our problems are created by ourselves based on divisions due to ideology, religion, race, resources, economic status or other factors. The time has come to think on a deeper, more human level and appreciate and respect our sameness as human beings. And to have a respect for endangered cultures that share these principles. We are at the dawn of an age in which many people feel that extreme political concepts should cease to dominate human affairs. We should use this opportunity to replace them with universal human and spiritual values and ensure that these values become the fiber of the global family that is emerging. It is not possible to find peace with anger, hatred, jealousy or greed. At every level of society, familial, tribal, national and international, the key to a happier and more peaceful and successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not necessarily need to become religious, nor even believe in an ideology. We need only to develop our good human qualities and know that love and compassion are the most essential concepts for human survival. So long as human beings live and suffer, the only world open to our present knowledge, the brotherhood of man will seem an unattainable principle. In order for us to achieve real lasting peace among one another, the effort to realize that noblest and most satisfactory moral value must be occupation of every individual intelligence.

The Compassionate Life (2001) Ch. 3 "Global Compassion".

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„The freedom of an individual merges in the freedom of all and serves the freedom of all.“

—  Abd al-Karim Qasim Prime Minister of Iraq 1914 - 1963

Speech delivered at the second congress of the peace partisans (April 14, 1959).
Principles of the 14th July Revolution (1959)

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