I call that mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which does not content itself to a passive or hereditary faith: Which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come; which receives new truth as an angel from heaven.
I call that mind free which is not passively framed by outward circumstances, and is not the creature of accidental impulse: Which discovers everywhere the radiant signatures of the infinite spirit and in them finds help to its own spiritual enlargement.
I call that mind free which protects itself against the usurpations of society, and which does not cower to human opinion: Which refuses to be the slave or tool of the many or of the few, and guards its empire over itself as nobler than the empire of the world.
I call that mind free which resists the bondage of habit, which does not mechanically copy the past, nor live on in its old virtues: But which listens for new and higher monitions of conscience, and rejoices to pour itself forth in fresh and higher exertions.
I call that mind free which sets no bounds to its love, which, wherever they are seen delights in virtue and sympathizes with suffering: Which recognizes in all human beings the image of God and the rights of God’s children, and offers itself up a willing sacrifice to the cause of humankind.
I call that mind free which has cast off all fear but that of wrongdoing, and which no menace or peril can enthrall: Which is calm in the midst of tumults and possesses itself though all else be lost."
- William Ellery Channing
Sermon on Annual Election, 1830
With thanks to Laura Liang for reminding us of it
Here is yet another image in my series, "The Appearance of Reality". It is the interface between the night sky and New Year's Eve fireworks in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, flipped upside down. The shapes that resemble birds are the wrappings of the fireworks as they were thrown into the air. This image was very much visually enhanced by removing the gamma (glare) many successive times. This brought out the rich silver texture in the background and the faces in the flames.
The Appearance of Reality: