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of all the decisions that go into making a life—the choices people make, together and on their own, that combine to produce any single event. Grains of sand, incalculable, pressing into sediment, then rock.
“There’s two kinds of them college professors,” Dad said. “Those who know they’re lying, and those who think they’re telling the truth.”
The skill I was learning was a crucial one, the patience to read things I could not yet understand.
could have told him all that, could have surrendered the weight, let the relationship carry it and grow stronger.
I read them to learn what to think, not how to think for myself.
“She was just a cockney in a nice dress. Until she believed in herself. Then it didn’t matter what dress she wore.”
“Negative liberty,” he said, “is the freedom from external obstacles or constraints. An individual is free in this sense if they are not physically prevented from taking action.”
“Positive liberty,” another student said, “is freedom from internal constraints.”
positive liberty is self-mastery—the rule of the self, by the self. To have positive liberty, he explained, is to take control of one’s own mind; to be liberated from irrational fears and beliefs, from addictions, superstitions and all other forms of self-coercion.