Individuality

Posted on 2009-09-19. Filed under: Thoughts |

I have begun reading a book by George MacDonald called Lilith.

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Lilith by George MacDonald

If you’re not aware, George MacDonald was a mentor and inspiration to both C. S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll, among others. I have read many quotes of his but I am finally reading one of his books. And it has me hooked!

While still early in the book, I read this exchange and I just love it:

“What right have you to treat me so, Mr. Raven?” I said with deep offence. “Am I, or am I not, a free agent?”

“A man is as free as he chooses to make himself, never an atom freer,” answered the raven.

“You have no right to make me do things against my will!”

“When you have a will, you will find that no one can.”

“You wrong me in the very essence of my individuality!” I persisted.

“If you were an individual I could not, therefore now I do not. You are but beginning to become an individual.”

This reminds me of a couple of quotes about individual freedom:

When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered. – Dorothy Thompson

Who would be free themselves must strike the blow. Better even to die free than to live slaves. – Frederick Douglass

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will. – Frederick Douglass

None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. – Goethe

Freedom lies in being bold. – Robert Frost

May we never lose our boldness! May we never forget that freedom is founded on the force of the fight! May we continue to extend freedom to others in order to ensure our own!

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