“The person is free who lives as they wish, neither compelled, nor hindered, nor limited-whose choices aren’t hampered, whose desires succeed, and who don’t fall into what repels them. Who wishes to live in deception-tripped up, mistaken, undisciplined, complaining, in a rut? No one. These are base people who don’t live as they wish; and so, no base person is free.”
-Epictetus, Discourses, 4.1.1-3a
The word base formed into the word basic in the mid-19th century. Epictetus’s word choice makes sense giving the time he was alive being well before the 19th century.
Base people don’t live how they want to live.
Humans are advanced creatures. When we limit what we can do on a day to day basis, it makes us smaller. Humans are not basic and when we live basic that comes at a cost. Basic doesn’t mean minimal, some of the most fulfilled people on this earth don’t have a lot of material possessions. It is not difficult to fulfill the requirements needed to survive in this day and age. Living a fulfilled life beyond the base is having a great connection to people and the universe in which we live in, but also having some sophistication. Having a worldly connection and reaching beyond your immediate environment to gain true empathy. Sophistication is a common thread I notice throughout fulfilled people.
It’s easy to become limited, it’s a great challenge make choices freely.
If you’re someone who has a burning desire to set your life up so you’re free to make the choices you most want to make, you need to forget limits. Limits set by your friends, family, and society. Those limits are someone else’s limits, why apply them to yourself?
Focus on exploiting your strengths and turning your weaknesses into strengths through active practice. Grow every day with that in mind and see where you are at in a year, it may be hard to recognize yourself.