I call that mind free which masters the senses, and which recognizes its own reality and greatness:
Which passes life, not in asking what it shall eat or drink, but in hungering, thirsting, and seeking after righteousness.
I call that mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith:
Which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come; which receives new truth as an angel from heaven.
I call that mind free which is not passively framed by outward circumstances, and is not the creature of accidental impulse:
Which discovers everywhere the radiant signatures of the infinite spirit, and in them finds help to its own spiritual enlargement.
I call that mind free which protects itself against the usurpations of society, and which does not cower to human opinion:
Which refuses to be the slave or tool of the many or of the few, and guards its empire over itself as nobler than the empire of the world.
I call that mind free which resists the bondage of habit, which does not mechanically copy the past, nor live on its old virtues:
But which listens for new and higher monitions of conscience, and rejoices to pour itself forth in fresh and higher exertions.
I call that mind free which sets no bounds to its love, which, wherever they are seen, delights in virtue and sympathizes with suffering:
Which recognizes in all human beings the image of God and the rights of God’s children, and offers itself up a willing sacrifice to the cause of humankind.
I call that mind free which has cast off all fear but that of wrongdoing, and which no menace or peril can enthrall:
Which is calm in the midst of tumults, and possesses itself, though all else be lost.
-William Ellery Channing