I would rather face the ugliness squarely and suffer through its worst than comfort myself with pretty and convenient illusions.

If I am to live the rest of my life as a slave, let me know this and embrace the reality I cannot avoid, rather than presenting me with fantasy heroes and earthly saviors whose appeal will only serve to tighten my shackles.

Without intermittent slavery, freedom would lose its meaning, and even its appeal, to mankind. Hence we, the self-aware minority among the universally enslaved, must console ourselves with the thought that if we negotiate our enslavement well — meaning as men who do not deserve slavery — we may become the foundation, and even the fuel, of an emancipated future.

If a slave preserves his energy perfectly and guards his soul jealously — no hiding in the wastefulness of transient pleasure and the comforting amusements of crowds — he may find the liberty of the philosophers, which supersedes all practical freedom and defines a path beyond reach of all moral flogging. And if this slave, in turn, can lead five others onto the private causeway toward the inner life, he will have achieved at least as much of real human worth as the greatest leaders of nations — an achievement no less great for being silent, almost secret. Noise and public display are for the vulgar.

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