Freedom! It is one reason why battles were fought, bloods were shed and brothers and sisters hurt each other. It is because of the different perceptions of what freedom is that brought the aforementioned circumstances come to pass…
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One thinks that wealth brings freedom and so he seeks to own gold, diamonds, lands and slaves through whatever means including what has been mentioned earlier. Another considers a high political status as something that would bring him freedom and in the modern world; education is regarded by most as the means to freedom. To Epictetus, he uses the first argument and links wealth and freedom in a manner that is debatable in an era where wealth is widely sought for, one that contradicts modern lifestyles, disagreeing that wealth brings freedom. Epictetus counts wealth as something that enslaves rather than frees someone because these are not the things that make men free rather are the ones that bound them to slavery. He considers owning nothing as having freedom, a concept that most of the people today might not agree with. One might laugh as well at such a concept, for how could a wealthy man be enslaved when he has the means to own his own slaves and be the master of other people? The philosopher explains his arguments with examples that strongly support his thoughts, qualifying it as a serious thought one should think about not only by the seekers in his time but also in this period where it is believed to be most needed. Looking into his philosophies, one would have an illumination of his considerations and is guaranteed to be more inclined to agreeing than questioning. First, the philosopher considered fear and said that no one really fears Caesar but that they fear death, exile, deprivation of property, prison and disenfranchisement (Matheson, p. 72). Slavery to fear is not actually caused by men, not even powerful men, but is caused by what a person wants, things that he holds on to. This is the reason why Epictetus argues that having nothing, which includes wanting nothing, will release a person from fears. When an individual has properties, and is so attached to them, he would do everything he can to protect it from those who desire to have it, like robbers. Wealth brings fear of losing it, fear of calamities, fear of people and things that would destroy and grab it away from him therefore a wealthy man is a slave to his fears, and is punished on his mind as to remedy how he should protect himself and his wealth. Sometimes, wealthy people also fear for their lives, because it is inevitable that when a person is after his wealth, he would plan to do all sorts or ways including unthinkable ones only to protect himself, including killing possible witnesses, killing the wealthy man. This is the reason why most of the rich ensure their security by paying thousands of dollars for security alarms and guards. Still, it does not give a hundred percent guarantee that they would all work for their purpose because as the rich man can be vigilant in his ways, robbers could also be more vigilant in their plans, thus, the fear continues and still is a master of the wealthy man. Money and wealth could be in a person’s possession but he could still be a slave not to men but to an abstract yet gripping master called fear and what could be worse than to serve something that is within one’s self. Epictetus argues that one who is truly free is one who distinguishes what is his and what is not his, that he owns nothing but his will and to recognize that everything he has is God’s, so that if people take it away from him, he should let it be and if they leave him in peace, he should let it be and not worry much about the matter. Furthermore, the philosopher speaks about what people love, which can also serve as another master. People love wealth, the tribunate, the praetorship and the consulship (p. 72) which, in search for it, would cause a person to enslave himself to whatever matters and manners he
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