The development of each human fate can be represented as an uninterrupted alternation between bondage and release, obligation and freedom. This initial appraisal, however, presents us with a distinction whose abruptness is tempered by closer investigation. For what we regard as freedom is often in fact only a change of obligations; as a new obligation replaces one that we have borne hitherto, we sense above all that the old burden has been removed. Because we are free from it, we seem at first to be completely free-until the new duty, which initially we bear, as it were, with hitherto untaxed and therefore particularly strong sets of muscles, makes its weight felt as these muscles, too, gradually tire. The process of liberation now starts again with this new duty, just as it had ended at this very point. This pattern is not repeated in a quantitatively uniform manner in all forms of bondage. Rather, there are some with which the note of freedom is associated longer, more intensively and more consciously than with others. Some accomplishments that are no less rigidly required of some than of others and that are generally no less demanding on the powers of the personality none the less seem to allow the personality a particularly large amount of freedom. The difference in obligations which leads to this difference in the freedom compatible with obligations is of the following type. Each obligation that does not exist with regard to a mere idea corresponds to the right of someone else to make demands. For this reason, moral philosophy always identifies ethical freedom with those obligations imposed by an ideal or social imperative or by one’s own ego. The other person’s demands can consist of the personal actions and deeds of the person under obligation. Or they can be realized at least in the immediate outcome of personal labour. Or, finally, it need only be a

certain object, the use of which someone can rightly lay claim to, although he has no influence whatsoever concerning the manner in which the person under obligation procures this object for him. This scale is also that of the degrees of freedom that exist with the performance of a duty.