Friday, September 16, 2011


Retirement and Liberty

Cicero, De Officiis 1.20.69-70 (tr. Walter Miller):
But there have been many and still are many who, while pursuing that calm of soul of which I speak, have withdrawn from civic duty and taken refuge in retirement. Among such have been found the most famous and by far the foremost philosophers and certain other earnest, thoughtful men who could not endure the conduct of either the people or their leaders; some of them, too, lived in the country and found their pleasure in the management of their private estates. Such men have had the same aims as kings—to suffer no want, to be subject to no authority, to enjoy their liberty, that is, in its essence, to live just as they please.

Multi autem et sunt et fuerunt, qui eam, quam dico, tranquillitatem expetentes a negotiis publicis se removerint ad otiumque perfugerint; in his et nobilissimi philosophi longeque principes et quidam homines severi et graves nec populi nec principum mores ferre potuerunt, vixeruntque nonnulli in agris, delectati re sua familiari. His idem propositum fuit, quod regibus, ut ne qua re egerent, ne cui parerent, libertate uterentur, cuius proprium est sic vivere, ut velis.
Cicero, Paradoxa Stoicorum 34 (tr. H. Rackham):
For what is freedom? the power to live as you will.

Quid est enim libertas? potestas vivendi ut velis.
Epictetus, Discourses 4.1.1 (tr. W.A. Oldfather):
He is free who lives as he wills, who is subject neither to compulsion, nor hindrance, nor force, whose choices are unhampered, whose desires attain their end, whose aversions do not fall into what they would avoid.

Ἐλεύθερός ἐστιν ὁ ζῶν ὡς βούλεται, ὃν οὔτ᾽ ἀναγκάσαι ἔστιν οὔτε κωλῦσαι οὔτε βιάσασθαι, οὗ αἱ ὁρμαὶ ἀνεμπόδιστοι, αἱ ὀρέξεις ἐπιτευκτικαί, αἱ ἐκκλίσεις ἀπερίπτωτοι.

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