No man is free who is not a master of himself

Use this forum to discuss the May 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, The Maestro Monologue: Discover your Genius, Defeat your intruder, Design your destiny by Rob White
User avatar
Sushan
Book of the Month Discussion Leader
Posts: 887
Joined: February 19th, 2021, 8:12 pm
Contact:

No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Sushan »

This topic is about the May 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, The Maestro Monologue: Discover your Genius, Defeat your intruder, Design your destiny by Rob White


No man is free who is not a master of himself
- Epictetus

I see many hindrances to fulfill this quote in today's world since 'me' is not the only factor that determines how I should be. This is similar to  the concept of 'free will' which can raise issues when trying to apply practically.

But I would like to direct this topic to a recent trend that I noticed. People used to work under employers for quite a long time. There have been (and there will be as well) many conflicts between employers and employees regarding rights of each other, working hours, salary, etc. But today many people have become gig workers / freelancers who are employed under no one, but work by themselves. So you are the boss of your own self. IMO It is not a very safe way to have an income since you are not guaranteed a fixed pay, and you do not have a job agreement or a payslip to forward to a bank to get a loan, which can be very crucial at times. Yet more and more people choose this path.

Is it because people feel like being their own masters is better than good financial security? Are people that much reluctant to be or work under someone else?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
heracleitos
Posts: 140
Joined: April 11th, 2022, 9:41 pm

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by heracleitos »

The Islamic view on freedom is a bit different. You are "free" if you are the slave to God alone.

So, in general terms, the only fundamental restriction to your freedom should be the rules of the moral theory that you accept.

You can work for an employer or even for the government, if any of that suits you, but you can never allow them to overrule the laws of God.

The weakness of the "master of yourself" approach is that you may not have a sound theory to judge against, even though you will always judge against something. Other people may successfully manipulate you into believing in things that are actually contrary to your own interests.

Therefore, you first need a solid backbone before you can be ready for some self-sovereignty. However, since you will still be beholden to that backbone, you will not truly be self-sovereign. You will still be tributary to your moral backbone.

Hence, true self-sovereignty is merely a myth. We are always the slave to a higher power, i.e. the abstractions of the moral theory that we accept.
User avatar
Pattern-chaser
Posts: 3856
Joined: September 22nd, 2019, 5:17 am
Favorite Philosopher: Cratylus
Location: England

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Sushan wrote: May 7th, 2022, 10:10 pm Is it because people feel like being their own masters is better than good financial security? Are people that much reluctant to be or work under someone else?
Perhaps such people see that working for someone else involves them doing the work, and their employer enjoying all of the benefits of that work? With the demise of trades unions, and the like, workers are not permitted to use their numerical superiority to negotiate on equal terms with employers. So maybe they have stopped hoping for a 'level playing field', and are just doing what they can for themselves?
Bernie Sanders wrote:Billionaires should not exist.
Pattern-chaser

"Who cares, wins"
GE Morton
Posts: 3183
Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 8th, 2022, 12:39 pm
Perhaps such people see that working for someone else involves them doing the work, and their employer enjoying all of the benefits of that work?
Huh?

A paycheck, health insurance, paid vacations, etc. are not benefits?

Everyone who works for pay works for someone else, including gig workers.
Bernie Sanders wrote:Billionaires should not exist.
Well, if the criteria for who should not exist has anything to do with how much benefit one has bestowed upon others, then it would be Sanders who should not exist. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, et al., produced products used daily by millions. Like most pols, Sanders has produced nothing of value to anyone.
User avatar
Sy Borg
Site Admin
Posts: 11855
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Sy Borg »

Sushan wrote: May 7th, 2022, 10:10 pm
No man is free who is not a master of himself
- Epictetus

I see many hindrances to fulfil this quote in today's world since 'me' is not the only factor that determines how I should be. This is similar to  the concept of 'free will' which can raise issues when trying to apply practically.

But I would like to direct this topic to a recent trend that I noticed. People used to work under employers for quite a long time. There have been (and there will be as well) many conflicts between employers and employees regarding rights of each other, working hours, salary, etc. But today many people have become gig workers / freelancers who are employed under no one, but work by themselves. So you are the boss of your own self. IMO It is not a very safe way to have an income since you are not guaranteed a fixed pay, and you do not have a job agreement or a payslip to forward to a bank to get a loan, which can be very crucial at times. Yet more and more people choose this path.

Is it because people feel like being their own masters is better than good financial security? Are people that much reluctant to be or work under someone else?
It's often not a choice. For years employers have been reducing full-time positions and replacing them with casual ones. Most in hospitality, for instance, are not choosing to be casual workers. It's the only work they can get.

Meanwhile, with corporations and big businesses increasingly outsourcing or replacing human staff with automation, many fewer positions are available. Some of those discarded corporate workers will use their knowledge to start a small business.

There are significant problems faced by both gig workers and small business owners. The former are beholden to circumstance. If a worker is needed at short notice just as they are about to attend a friend's wedding, too bad. If they don't drop what they are doing and go to work, they may be dropped off the call list. If one worker says no, another will say yes. Not such a free existence.

As for small business owners, it can be a perilous life. Often owners will be unable to take leave for years at a time and, given that most small businesses fail, there are many financial pressures.
User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 6290
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by LuckyR »

Sushan wrote: May 7th, 2022, 10:10 pm This topic is about the May 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, The Maestro Monologue: Discover your Genius, Defeat your intruder, Design your destiny by Rob White


No man is free who is not a master of himself
- Epictetus

I see many hindrances to fulfill this quote in today's world since 'me' is not the only factor that determines how I should be. This is similar to  the concept of 'free will' which can raise issues when trying to apply practically.

But I would like to direct this topic to a recent trend that I noticed. People used to work under employers for quite a long time. There have been (and there will be as well) many conflicts between employers and employees regarding rights of each other, working hours, salary, etc. But today many people have become gig workers / freelancers who are employed under no one, but work by themselves. So you are the boss of your own self. IMO It is not a very safe way to have an income since you are not guaranteed a fixed pay, and you do not have a job agreement or a payslip to forward to a bank to get a loan, which can be very crucial at times. Yet more and more people choose this path.

Is it because people feel like being their own masters is better than good financial security? Are people that much reluctant to be or work under someone else?
Free? Free from what? When one has desires and needs there is internal pressure to meet them. In the modern world money is the medium by which we acquire goods and services. For most the source of money is income and income generally come from working. The popularity of the gig economy is a by-product of the drop in real wages in the current economy. In the past workers usually chose employment since the monetary compensation was higher, though answering to a boss was undesirable. With real wages so low, why not make a similar pittance in the gig economy and get time off whenever you want and make your own hours.

Those who do not require an income are free from working and are not subject to the whims of others. That is the best part of retirement.
"As usual... it depends."
Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 4587
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Belindi »

Mastering oneself means mastering one's passions. This is a mental health issue. Mastering one's passions is done via the use of reason which informs you why you experience that passion and what strategies you can use to help you not to react to it.

True, there are some means of earning a living that are hard work, immoral, or demeaning. In all of these, as well as in personal relationships, to master reactive passions is a very useful life skill.
stevie
Posts: 493
Joined: July 19th, 2021, 11:08 am

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by stevie »

Sushan wrote: May 7th, 2022, 10:10 pm Is it because people feel like being their own masters is better than good financial security? Are people that much reluctant to be or work under someone else?
To associate the concept of "freedom" with individual "feelings" is a dead end. "Freedom" can only be talked about when connecting this concept with its political definitions.
Freedom or death.
User avatar
Sushan
Book of the Month Discussion Leader
Posts: 887
Joined: February 19th, 2021, 8:12 pm
Contact:

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Sushan »

heracleitos wrote: May 7th, 2022, 11:10 pm The Islamic view on freedom is a bit different. You are "free" if you are the slave to God alone.

So, in general terms, the only fundamental restriction to your freedom should be the rules of the moral theory that you accept.

You can work for an employer or even for the government, if any of that suits you, but you can never allow them to overrule the laws of God.

The weakness of the "master of yourself" approach is that you may not have a sound theory to judge against, even though you will always judge against something. Other people may successfully manipulate you into believing in things that are actually contrary to your own interests.

Therefore, you first need a solid backbone before you can be ready for some self-sovereignty. However, since you will still be beholden to that backbone, you will not truly be self-sovereign. You will still be tributary to your moral backbone.

Hence, true self-sovereignty is merely a myth. We are always the slave to a higher power, i.e. the abstractions of the moral theory that we accept.
With the word of 'slave', I think the concept of freedom does not agree very well. Anyone can follow any god or His teachings, but being a slave, IMO, is going too far.

Yes, we always judge against something that is outside from ourself. But that does not make us dependant or inferior to something or someone. Our legal and employment related bonds are a set of social agreements. And they hinder us from doing what we love freely. But, As far as we do not harm anyone or violate the reasonable rules, I think we are permitted to do anything.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
User avatar
Sushan
Book of the Month Discussion Leader
Posts: 887
Joined: February 19th, 2021, 8:12 pm
Contact:

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Sushan »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 8th, 2022, 12:39 pm
Sushan wrote: May 7th, 2022, 10:10 pm Is it because people feel like being their own masters is better than good financial security? Are people that much reluctant to be or work under someone else?
Perhaps such people see that working for someone else involves them doing the work, and their employer enjoying all of the benefits of that work? With the demise of trades unions, and the like, workers are not permitted to use their numerical superiority to negotiate on equal terms with employers. So maybe they have stopped hoping for a 'level playing field', and are just doing what they can for themselves?
Bernie Sanders wrote:Billionaires should not exist.
Trade unions are still in action in my country. And I personally feel like they are abusing their power of the high number of members to get unfair requests. And the main issue with trade unions is that they having political agendas, and using their members to start and carry on political unrest in the country. Total absence of trade unions can be bad from the side of the employee, but it is better than politically driven trade union leaders driving them towards unnecessary goals and requests.

As I see, we all cannot be managers. So some should work and some should observe and guide. It makes the hierarchy of employers and employees. I think people simply prefer to be their own masters rather than working under someone because they feel like being socially inferior.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
User avatar
Sushan
Book of the Month Discussion Leader
Posts: 887
Joined: February 19th, 2021, 8:12 pm
Contact:

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Sushan »

GE Morton wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:51 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote: May 8th, 2022, 12:39 pm
Perhaps such people see that working for someone else involves them doing the work, and their employer enjoying all of the benefits of that work?
Huh?

A paycheck, health insurance, paid vacations, etc. are not benefits?

Everyone who works for pay works for someone else, including gig workers.
Bernie Sanders wrote:Billionaires should not exist.
Well, if the criteria for who should not exist has anything to do with how much benefit one has bestowed upon others, then it would be Sanders who should not exist. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, et al., produced products used daily by millions. Like most pols, Sanders has produced nothing of value to anyone.
Gig workers also work for someone, but I think it is different from working under someone. And due to that difference they are not getting regular paychecks, health insurances, or paid vacations.

I think what Sanders is trying to say is, "money should be fairly distributed". If we collect money from all the billionaires and distribute them among poors, many of the needs can be fulfilled (well, it may not be a long lasting solution since poverty is not a problem that can be addressed easily). Yet, they do provide jobs for thousands of people, and I see like I am seeing a paradox here.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
User avatar
Sushan
Book of the Month Discussion Leader
Posts: 887
Joined: February 19th, 2021, 8:12 pm
Contact:

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Sushan »

Sy Borg wrote: May 9th, 2022, 2:21 am
Sushan wrote: May 7th, 2022, 10:10 pm
No man is free who is not a master of himself
- Epictetus

I see many hindrances to fulfil this quote in today's world since 'me' is not the only factor that determines how I should be. This is similar to  the concept of 'free will' which can raise issues when trying to apply practically.

But I would like to direct this topic to a recent trend that I noticed. People used to work under employers for quite a long time. There have been (and there will be as well) many conflicts between employers and employees regarding rights of each other, working hours, salary, etc. But today many people have become gig workers / freelancers who are employed under no one, but work by themselves. So you are the boss of your own self. IMO It is not a very safe way to have an income since you are not guaranteed a fixed pay, and you do not have a job agreement or a payslip to forward to a bank to get a loan, which can be very crucial at times. Yet more and more people choose this path.

Is it because people feel like being their own masters is better than good financial security? Are people that much reluctant to be or work under someone else?
It's often not a choice. For years employers have been reducing full-time positions and replacing them with casual ones. Most in hospitality, for instance, are not choosing to be casual workers. It's the only work they can get.

Meanwhile, with corporations and big businesses increasingly outsourcing or replacing human staff with automation, many fewer positions are available. Some of those discarded corporate workers will use their knowledge to start a small business.

There are significant problems faced by both gig workers and small business owners. The former are beholden to circumstance. If a worker is needed at short notice just as they are about to attend a friend's wedding, too bad. If they don't drop what they are doing and go to work, they may be dropped off the call list. If one worker says no, another will say yes. Not such a free existence.

As for small business owners, it can be a perilous life. Often owners will be unable to take leave for years at a time and, given that most small businesses fail, there are many financial pressures.
I think you are correct. Like traditional employees undergoing periodic efficiency evaluations, gig workers are constantly under such a evaluation. They need to complete their tasks and quickly grab new opportunities to be in the business. I think they are under more pressure than a traditional worker in that aspect. But they have the freedom of getting a leave whenever they want without asking anyone (given that they have earned enough money to last the holiday).

But for small business owners, yes, the situation is too bad and the stress levels are much higher.

I think the best option is to go for gig work while doing a traditional job to have a higher income along with job security and other benefits. But the shrinking of the job market is quite a problem nowadays.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
User avatar
Sushan
Book of the Month Discussion Leader
Posts: 887
Joined: February 19th, 2021, 8:12 pm
Contact:

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Sushan »

LuckyR wrote: May 9th, 2022, 4:10 am
Sushan wrote: May 7th, 2022, 10:10 pm This topic is about the May 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, The Maestro Monologue: Discover your Genius, Defeat your intruder, Design your destiny by Rob White


No man is free who is not a master of himself
- Epictetus

I see many hindrances to fulfill this quote in today's world since 'me' is not the only factor that determines how I should be. This is similar to  the concept of 'free will' which can raise issues when trying to apply practically.

But I would like to direct this topic to a recent trend that I noticed. People used to work under employers for quite a long time. There have been (and there will be as well) many conflicts between employers and employees regarding rights of each other, working hours, salary, etc. But today many people have become gig workers / freelancers who are employed under no one, but work by themselves. So you are the boss of your own self. IMO It is not a very safe way to have an income since you are not guaranteed a fixed pay, and you do not have a job agreement or a payslip to forward to a bank to get a loan, which can be very crucial at times. Yet more and more people choose this path.

Is it because people feel like being their own masters is better than good financial security? Are people that much reluctant to be or work under someone else?
Free? Free from what? When one has desires and needs there is internal pressure to meet them. In the modern world money is the medium by which we acquire goods and services. For most the source of money is income and income generally come from working. The popularity of the gig economy is a by-product of the drop in real wages in the current economy. In the past workers usually chose employment since the monetary compensation was higher, though answering to a boss was undesirable. With real wages so low, why not make a similar pittance in the gig economy and get time off whenever you want and make your own hours.

Those who do not require an income are free from working and are not subject to the whims of others. That is the best part of retirement.
Until you have your desires you are not free, that is what Lord Buddha said, and that is quite true. As you said, we do all the stuff to make money and achieve our desires and goals. So we are bound to do our jobs, whether they are gigs or traditional stuff.

But keeping that aside, going to a job has its own benefits. You meet friends, you travel from home to your workplace, you can getaway from the household conflicts 😉, etc. When you are retired, yes, you do not have to work but you will continue to get some money. But all the other benefits of working are lost, along with some amount of money because pension is much less compared to salary unless you have some other pension plan.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
User avatar
Sushan
Book of the Month Discussion Leader
Posts: 887
Joined: February 19th, 2021, 8:12 pm
Contact:

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Sushan »

Belindi wrote: May 9th, 2022, 4:53 am Mastering oneself means mastering one's passions. This is a mental health issue. Mastering one's passions is done via the use of reason which informs you why you experience that passion and what strategies you can use to help you not to react to it.

True, there are some means of earning a living that are hard work, immoral, or demeaning. In all of these, as well as in personal relationships, to master reactive passions is a very useful life skill.
I think we have to be psychologically very much advance to rationally think about all our desires and choose what is really necessary. It is true that it will make our lives easier if we spend only on basic needs, and we will need only a small amount of money. But OTOH what is the meaning of life if we do not care even make ourselves happy? I think we live only once and that one time should be utilized at its best.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
User avatar
Sushan
Book of the Month Discussion Leader
Posts: 887
Joined: February 19th, 2021, 8:12 pm
Contact:

Re: No man is free who is not a master of himself

Post by Sushan »

stevie wrote: May 9th, 2022, 5:20 am
Sushan wrote: May 7th, 2022, 10:10 pm Is it because people feel like being their own masters is better than good financial security? Are people that much reluctant to be or work under someone else?
To associate the concept of "freedom" with individual "feelings" is a dead end. "Freedom" can only be talked about when connecting this concept with its political definitions.
Political freedom is one concept related to freedom. As I see democracy is the highest level of political freedom. Yet, with the high population counts we have gone for representative democracy, which is theoretically free for its subjects. But can we experience a real freedom in any sort of political agenda?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Post Reply

Return to “The Maestro Monologue: Discover your Genius, Defeat your intruder, Design your destiny by Rob White”

2022 Philosophy Books of the Month

Emotional Intelligence At Work

Emotional Intelligence At Work
by Richard M Contino & Penelope J Holt
January 2022

Free Will, Do You Have It?

Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral
February 2022

My Enemy in Vietnam

My Enemy in Vietnam
by Billy Springer
March 2022

2X2 on the Ark

2X2 on the Ark
by Mary J Giuffra, PhD
April 2022

The Maestro Monologue

The Maestro Monologue
by Rob White
May 2022

What Makes America Great

What Makes America Great
by Bob Dowell
June 2022

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!
by Jerry Durr
July 2022

Living in Color

Living in Color
by Mike Murphy
August 2022 (tentative)

The Not So Great American Novel

The Not So Great American Novel
by James E Doucette
September 2022

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches
by John N. (Jake) Ferris
October 2022

2021 Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts
by Mark L. Wdowiak
September 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021