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There are aspects of your question that touches on issues that the Stoics addressed. Liberal political thought is fundamentally concerned with maximizing and liberating the elements that you describe, and early enlightenment thinkers recognized this.

The first line of Machiavelli's 'Discourses on Livy' goes like this '

 Although the envious nature of men has always made it no less dangerous to 
 find new modes and orders than to seek unknown waters and lands, because 
 men are more ready to blame than to praise the actions of others, 
 nonetheless, driven by that natural desire that has always been in me to 
 work, without any respect, for those things I believe will bring common 
 benefit to everyone, I have decided to take a path as yet untrodden by 
 anyone, and if it brings me trouble and difficulty, it could also bring me 
 reward through those who consider humanely the end of these labors of mine. 

He offers both an empirical opinion, and his own perspective for choosing altruism. I think a case could be made, that we are absolutely bounded by our biases. And our biases could even be in favor of either a strong principle of some kind, or maybe even one of general nihilistic resignation. But there is considerable malleability on what biases we choose to drill into ourselves. Or what society motivates its members to pursue. As Machiavelli says, there has to be a will to reach unknown waters and lands, or in modern times distant planets, or new technologies. A good part of thinking free thought comes down to convincing people that there are utilitarian advantages to free thought, even when going with the herd might seem to be safe at first sight. Freud, Schopenhauer, and Ayn Rand offer great perspectives on this question.

There are aspects of your question that touches on issues that the Stoics addressed. Liberal political thought is fundamentally concerned with maximizing and liberating the elements that you describe, and early enlightenment thinkers recognized this.

The first line of Machiavelli's 'Discourses on Livy' goes like this '

 Although the envious nature of men has always made it no less dangerous to 
 find new modes and orders than to seek unknown waters and lands, because 
 men are more ready to blame than to praise the actions of others, 
 nonetheless, driven by that natural desire that has always been in me to 
 work, without any respect, for those things I believe will bring common 
 benefit to everyone, I have decided to take a path as yet untrodden by 
 anyone, and if it brings me trouble and difficulty, it could also bring me 
 reward through those who consider humanely the end of these labors of mine. 

He offers both an empirical opinion, and his own perspective for choosing altruism. I think a case could be made, that we are absolutely bounded by our biases. And our biases could even be in favor of either a strong principle of some kind, or maybe even one of general nihilistic resignation. But there is considerable malleability on what biases we choose to drill into ourselves. Or what society motivates its members to pursue. As Machiavelli says, there has to be a will to reach unknown waters and lands, or in modern times distant planets, or new technologies. A good part of thinking free comes down to convincing people that there are utilitarian advantages to free thought, even when going with the herd might seem to be safe at first sight. Freud, Schopenhauer, and Ayn Rand offer great perspectives on this question.

There are aspects of your question that touches on issues that the Stoics addressed. Liberal political thought is fundamentally concerned with maximizing and liberating the elements that you describe, and early enlightenment thinkers recognized this.

The first line of Machiavelli's 'Discourses on Livy' goes like this '

 Although the envious nature of men has always made it no less dangerous to 
 find new modes and orders than to seek unknown waters and lands, because 
 men are more ready to blame than to praise the actions of others, 
 nonetheless, driven by that natural desire that has always been in me to 
 work, without any respect, for those things I believe will bring common 
 benefit to everyone, I have decided to take a path as yet untrodden by 
 anyone, and if it brings me trouble and difficulty, it could also bring me 
 reward through those who consider humanely the end of these labors of mine. 

He offers both an empirical opinion, and his own perspective for choosing altruism. I think a case could be made, that we are absolutely bounded by our biases. And our biases could be in favor of either a strong principle of some kind, or maybe even one of general nihilistic resignation. But there is considerable malleability on what biases we choose to drill into ourselves. Or what society motivates its members to pursue. As Machiavelli says, there has to be a will to reach unknown waters and lands, or in modern times distant planets, or new technologies. A good part of free thought comes down to convincing people that there are utilitarian advantages to free thought, even when going with the herd might seem to be safe at first sight. Freud, Schopenhauer, and Ayn Rand offer great perspectives on this question.

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source | link

There are aspects of your question that touches on issues that the Stoics addressed. Liberal political thought is fundamentally concerned with maximizing and liberating the elements that you describe, and early enlightenment thinkers recognized this.

The first line of Machiavelli's 'Discourses on Livy' goes like this '

 Although the envious nature of men has always made it no less dangerous to 
 find new modes and orders than to seek unknown waters and lands, because 
 men are more ready to blame than to praise the actions of others, 
 nonetheless, driven by that natural desire that has always been in me to 
 work, without any respect, for those things I believe will bring common 
 benefit to everyone, I have decided to take a path as yet untrodden by 
 anyone, and if it brings me trouble and difficulty, it could also bring me 
 reward through those who consider humanely the end of these labors of mine. 

He offers both an empirical opinion, and his own perspective for choosing altruism. I think a case could be made, that we are absolutely bounded by our biases. And our biases could even be in favor of either a strong principle of some kind, or maybe even one of general nihilistic resignation. But there is considerable malleability on what biases we choose to drill into ourselves. Or what society motivates its members to pursue. As Machiavelli says, there has to be a will to reach unknown waters and lands, or in modern times distant planets, or new technologies. A good part of thinking free comes down to convincing people that there are utilitarian advantages to free thought, even when going with the herd might seem to be safe at first sight. Freud, Schopenhauer, and Ayn Rand offer great perspectives on this question.