Alkidamas of Elaia about Freedom

In this post we present and analyze a very interesting quote of the ancient Greek rhetor and sophist, Alkidamas of Elaia (Asia Minor), 4th century B.C., student of Gorgias:

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In ancient Greek: ’ἐλευθέρους ἀφἢκε πάντας ὁ θεός οὐδένα δοῦλον ἡ φύσις πεποίηκεν

In English: «God has left everyone free. Nature made no one a slave»

NovoScriptorium: The first interesting thing we notice is that Alkidamas refers to ‘one god‘ instead of ‘many gods’. He seems to identify freedom (ἐλευθερία) with this ‘one god’. Clearly, Alkidamas must have belonged to those ancient Monotheists (for example, see our articles 1, 2, 3, 4). In other words, one of the idioms of the Divine Being, the Creator, the ‘one god’, appears to be ‘freedom‘. He also states that it is not a natural thing for Man to be a slave. In other words, enslavement is not only an unnatural process, but also an act against the Divine Will.

Let us consider now the two different types of ‘enslavement’.

a) One human being depriving another human being of its freedom, very often in a bad and brutal way. This is what first comes to everyone’s mind when hearing the word ‘slavery’ or ‘slave’.

b) The various ‘passions’ can certainly ‘enslave’ a human being and deprive it of its freedom.

Various examples through History and countless quotes from both ancient Greek Philosophers and Orthodox Saints suggest that ‘freedom’ is fundamentally an internal state. In other words, one can be bodily enslaved, even tortured to death, and still be free inside. The opposite can be equally true; one who apparently is free ‘outside’, i.e. is not directly enslaved by another human being, can very well be ‘enslaved from within’.

What enslaves Man from within always has a reference to Evilness (Κακότης) or/and to something unnatural/against nature (παρά φύσιν). Evilness always has to do with strong personal Will (Thelema), strong Desires (almost absolutely linked to Pleasures), strong Egoism/Selfishness.

Now, let’s take a look around us in the Modern World.

We will notice that Powers of this World cultivate, with all possible means, everything that spreads Evilness, Will, Desire, Pleasures, Egoism. No need to wonder ‘why?’ anymore; exactly because they know very well that Freedom is an internal state. Hence, they promote everything that can ‘take the castle from within’. Because then people are much easier to manipulate and control.

We know what you want, we know what you think, we know what you desire because WE told you what to want, think and desire‘.

And this is the easiest way for Power to expand its authority in space and time.

No wonder why true Philosophy and God are systematically expelled from Society, no wonder why the original Philosophical and Chistian doctrines are systematically distorted. Because ‘God has left everyone free‘; And He wants every single one of us to be genuinely free. ‘Without God’, everything is ‘permitted/allowed’. But also, ‘without God’ enslavement becomes a ‘certainty’.

Another parameter in this discussion is Man’s effort to ‘enslave’ Nature around him. As Alkidamas says, ‘Nature made no one a slave‘, i.e. slavery of any kind is not complying with the laws of Nature, it is something unnatural/against Nature. But deeds against Nature/unnatural deeds were considered by the Philosophers as Hubris. And Hubris brought upon Men very specific consequences as ‘punishment’ of their unnatural deeds, in various forms (Άτη, Νέμεσις, Ερινύες etc.). Instead of harmonize with Nature, Man chose greedy exploitation. No need to present here measured results of this practice which everybody knows already.

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Research-Analysis for NovoScriptorium: Isidoros Aggelos

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