Freedom is not caring what they think, not fearing what they say, and not dwelling on what they might do.
Freedom is listening to them when it suits you, but without ever needing to listen — and speaking when it suits you, but without ever needing them to hear.
Freedom is seeing where you have changed, without fear of the sight — and without minding if others should happen to see it too.
Freedom is wanting to be right more than you want to appear consistent. The appearance of consistency is not a matter of truth, but of image, and the free soul lives as though entirely without an image, which is to say as though invisible.
Freedom is understanding that nothing essential is lost through time, for nothing essential exists in time. Time is perceptual, and freedom does not live primarily in perceptions. Hence, the free man is he who lives his temporal life in conformity with, or as a material approximation of, his atemporal essence, which in practice means: no casual half-commitments, no deleting one’s past or present in response to inconveniences or unforeseen discomforts, no wandering through meaningless amusements, transient accomplishments, empty promises, and pragmatic compromises, as though “it will all come out in the wash.” Nothing comes out in the wash. In reality’s wash, there are no stains, only fabrics which either survive or become unraveled, depending on whether they have been well or carelessly woven. The free soul is a master weaver.
What we moderns usually call freedom, namely the political kind, is merely the social image of the higher freedom, and hence stands as a simulacrum of the free individual’s temporal life, explained above, much as the latter stands as a simulacrum of the free soul’s atemporal essence. Property rights, freedom of association and speech, limited representative government, reverence for and constitutional entrenchment of the tenets and implications of personal responsibility — how better to explain such goods than as the visual representation of spiritual freedom, painted in the hues of social interaction upon the canvas of history?