The world has proclaimed the reign of freedom, especially of late, but what do we see in this freedom? Nothing but slavery and self-destruction! For the world says: “You have desires and so satisfy them, for you have the same rights as the most rich and powerful. Don’t be afraid of satisfying them and even multiply your desires.” That is the modern doctrine of the world. In that they see freedom. And what follows from this right of multiplication of desires? In the rich, isolation ans spiritual suicide: in the poor, envy and murder. For they all have been given rights, but have not been shown the means of satisfying their wants. They maintain that the world is getting more and more united, more and more bound together in brotherly community, as it overcomes distance and sets thoughts flying through the air. Alas, put no faith in such a bond of union. Interpreting freedom as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires, men distort their own nature, for many senseless and foolish desires and habits and ridiculous beliefs are thus fostered. They live only for mutual envy, for luxury and ostentation. To have dinners, carriages, rank and slaves to wait on one is looked upon as a necessity, for which life, honor and human feeling are sacrificed. Men even commit suicide if they are unable to satisfy these desires. We see the same thing among those who are not rich for the poor drown their unsatisfied need and their envy in drunkenness. But soon they will drink blood instead of wine, they are being led on to it. I ask you is such a man free? I knew one “champion of freedom” who told me himself that, when he was deprived of tobacco in prison, he was so wretched at the privation that he almost went and betrayed his cause for the sake of getting tobacco again! And such a man says, “I am fighting for the cause of humanity.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (via sunrec)