I do not want to make a habit of listing quotes, but this observation – from The Choice of Hercules – is in need of being shared.
“Autonomy – self-governance – is the kernel of freedom, and such reveals what is implied: that the mind is freedom’s first theatre. No one can imprison it if it does not choose to be imprisoned, though of course most minds live in the narrowest of prisons – of convention, religion, ignorance, laziness. As one acutely perspective observer of the human condition put it, “Most people are other people” – that is, most people live borrowed lives because they borrow their opinions, their emotions, their goals and beliefs, from others, for they either do not know how to make and have their own, or are too timid to venture making and having their own. To dare to think for oneself, carefully; and to stand by one’s conclusions, bravely; and to change one’s mind in the face of better arguments or convincing evidence, honestly: these are the marks of freedom, the emblems of autonomy, and they are a constitutive part of meaning because they are its responsible and serious underpinning, which casts value on to the things chosen in that very endeavor.”
-A. C. Grayling