A quote from the early American moral philosopher (or, to some, preacher of religion), William Ellery Channing (from Spiritual Freedom, 1830):
I call that mind free, which is jealous of its own freedom, which guards itself from being merged with others, which guards its empire over itself as nobler than the empire of the world.
Imagine if there was a society of people – a civilization – which was committed to this notion. Yeah, it would be nice, wouldn’t it? Maybe we’d accomplish something.
Excuse me while I listen to my Jay-Z, get high, prepare to cheat on my exam, lie to my wife and boss, waste money on fashions that will disappear in a year, vote for the killing of bad guys, and generally be bored with things like curiosity, innocence, and the subtleties of experience.
Yeah, I’m being highly moralistic. Don’t care. Nobody’s perfect, but people make choices. Our society has priorities. There’s a crime of possession: having any sense of nobility. Don’t you know, you can’t control what happens in life, just let go. Stop thinking so much, sometimes you just gotta feel good.
Let’s feel good as much as possible, and try to only be around people who help make us feel good. The American soul.