Freedom is about deciding what you want and giving up everything else. A alcoholic has given up his (or her) freedom...or maybe decided that only alcohol matters and slowly gives up everything else, family, friends, books...the things he chooses to "enjoy" come with a licensed bar, and soon he is not too bothered about the things so much as the bar.
I know this too well.
So. Magic. A long time ago when I was younger
(so much younger than today)
I read some books about magic and ritual, and also read some philosophy. Nietzsche was one of my favourites, mad as he was.
He who seeketh may easily get lost himself. All isolation is wrong": so say the herd. And long didst thou belong to the herd.
The voice of the herd will still echo in thee. And when thou sayest, "I have no longer a conscience in common with you," then will it be a plaint and a pain.
Lo, that pain itself did the same conscience produce; and the last gleam of that conscience still gloweth on thine affliction.
But thou wouldst go the way of thine affliction, which is the way unto thyself? Then show me thine authority and thy strength to do so!
Art thou a new strength and a new authority? A first motion? A self- rolling wheel? Canst thou also compel stars to revolve around thee?
Alas! there is so much lusting for loftiness! There are so many convulsions of the ambitions! Show me that thou art not a lusting and ambitious one!
Alas! there are so many great thoughts that do nothing more than the bellows: they inflate, and make emptier than ever.
Free, dost thou call thyself? Thy ruling thought would I hear of, and not that thou hast escaped from a yoke.
Art thou one ENTITLED to escape from a yoke? Many a one hath cast away his final worth when he hath cast away his servitude.
Free from what? What doth that matter to Zarathustra! Clearly, however, shall thine eye show unto me: free FOR WHAT?
Canst thou give unto thyself thy bad and thy good, and set up thy will as a law over thee? Canst thou be judge for thyself, and avenger of thy law?
Terrible is aloneness with the judge and avenger of one's own law. Thus is a star projected into desert space, and into the icy breath of aloneness.
A ruling thought.
So...what makes a man free is his purpose, not a lack of purpose. And (in a slightly NLP-esque sidestep) all the things in your life should be part of your purpose (that ruling thought) or they are dead wood.
So does that mean that family and friends are dead wood? A writer should discard his or her social life and become a hermit with a keyboard as a pal and lover? The “icy breath of aloneness”?
Not for me, pal.
But purpose is about focus. Deciding what you want, how to spend your time. Making habit your friend and turning impulse into a tool.
So...what are you doing here, my friend, reading this? Haven’t you some higher purpose than hanging around here?