Johann Wolfgang von GoetheJohann Wolfgang von Goethe, (1749-1832) German writer, statesman

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quote

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

Johann Wolfgang von GoetheJohann Wolfgang von Goethe
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goethe's Opinions on the World, Mankind, Literature, Science, and Art
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Otto von Wenckstern · 1853, p.3

Ratings and Comments

Nichole, Austin

What does it mean? I am only in the Seventh grade pre-ap class.

Mike, Norwalk

Can we get all the American left, middle, and right, liberal, conservative, socialist, fascist, Democrat, and Republican to stand up and yell "I'm free", Amen. To Nichole, it means if you believe that your rights come from anywhere else but God (a faculty of birth) and you accept any governmental license; and, you give up the fruits of your labor, or a portion thereof, as mandated by your superiors; and, etc. etc. etc. and you call yourself free, you are infact, "hopelessly enslaved"

Mike, Norwalk

To Nichole, the hopelessly enslaved are those who want to make the traditional family a hate crime; and wall the entire country's borders while building internment camps for those that believe in a Representative Republic with a Constitution for which it stands.

"What does it mean?" would fill volumes with this forum not being able to even scratch the surface of that subject. I'll cease my opining on the subject after this. The 'hopelessly enslaved' are those that support victimless crimes where the accused is incapable of confronting his accuser (the injured party). The true victim (the accused), is then persecuted by alleged witnesses (vested and profiting parties) to the crime such as police officers, IRS agents, etc., and impartial (a lie) judges. (The persecutors receiving job security, salary, pension funding, robes, etc. support from their extracted booty) The 'hopelessly enslaved' are those that give up personal responsibility in favor of, and turn themselves over to their ever illusive, intangible, and all consuming social security safety nets (government). Benjamin Franklin may have said it best when he stated "Those who wish to sacrifice liberty for perceived security deserve neither."

E Archer, NYC

What it means, Nichole, is that we must never stop questioning. We must keep re-examining ourselves and our social systems because with time we can get so used to them and so dependent on them that our children cannot even imagine life without them. It means that sometimes freedom doesn't win, and unless we correct it, the chains get tightened -- even when we do not realize it. It means that just because we have a credit card and a job does not mean that all is well, good, or right. The truth, Nicole, is that those that believe their bondage is freedom are hopelessly enslaved.

Mike, NC
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Mike, NC    6/7/06

... like if you want to start a business but you have to get permission from the government first ... or if you want to build or modify a house but you have to get permission from the government first ... or if you want to educate your children yourself but you have to get permission from the government first ... or if you think you own your own land but the government can come take it away if you don't pay your property taxes ... those kinds of things ... see

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

Nicole: The isolated American mind, incapable of understanding thge difference between slavery and conventional regulation of behavior, claims that anything less than the right to do anything at all is a form of slavery. Slavery exists in the world today, where millions upon millions of people are truly enslaved by totalitarian governments. Slavery is not characterized by a requirement to govern oneself by certain rational rules of conduct. Freedom to act in any way at all is a distortion of reality, truth, and the concept of freedom.

Roger, South River

To David, Freedom doesn't mean to do whatever you want. You need to study this a little more. It simply means to do what you want without intruding on the rights of others. A European might not understand freedom because they never had it. We once had freedom here in the United States. Freedom from an oppressive government. But it's been so long that most people don't even know what it feels like to be truly free. But things are quickly getting worse and more and more people will soon see the lack of freedom they really have. The movie America: Freedom to Fascism would give you an idea of what the other posters meant by freedom and slavery. Think George Orwell and 1984, that world is fast approaching us all.

Zan, Hudson, MA

To understand that you are not free at least assumes awareness of said condition. With awareness there can be hope of change through the application of effort. To not even be aware of that which binds you to a given state or condition allows no hope of change. How can one act against a state they are unaware of? If you believe you are free yet are not you will never act against that which restricts you. That state of enslavement will go unchallenged.

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Anonymous    8/15/07

It is applicable to America today. Americans think they are free, but they are really controlled by the New World Order Globalists. Americans are told to enjoy their slavery. It is a deep subject. The left and right parties have the same satanic head.

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    Anonymous    8/15/07

    p.s. Only a small percentage of Americans know the truth of what is going on and the condition of America. The majority of Americans are hopelessly brainwashed by double think TV, Ballgames, and mindless fluff. The majority of Americans think that 911 was caused by Arabs, and common sense escapes them that metal fragments of the towers had thermite explosions. Their minds are so compartimentalized, even when there is proof, their minds reject the proof. This is how powerful the brainwashing is. Turn your TV off.

    mancenido, future

    the last person gets it. thank God. this quote is getting thought of too modernly. if you think of the general statement you'd understand that being able to be exactly you without the image of who you want to be or think you are. learning and experience makes you who you are. pursuing basic love makes you who you are. in america people have all been convinced to be something that is publicly displayed. tv, hollywood, glorified life, an image of being free although tradition that forces choices. pay attention to the world first youngster and not just what you've been told.

    Enlightened, Everywhere

    Good quote. Not many will understand it in today's media driven environment, people seem to derive all their beliefs (what they call 'facts') from TV and newspapers etc......

    Paul, Kelowna

    If you stop asking questions, and just accept things the way they are, you are enslaved. When you express your opinion, but you are really parroting something you read in the newspaper, or saw on TV, or heard from a friend, you are enslaved. Do you want to be free? To quote Morpheus in the Matrix, "After this, there is no turning take the red pill.....and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes...." Take the red pill. This was just the beginning for me, it started me asking questions. Don't believe anything in it just because they said so, but because it makes sense. Good luck.

    David, Reykjavik, Iceland

    This is so right with the freedom. Everyone is born into a series of institutions which program every child's brain and the parents must be alert to teach it's children to become free thinkers. I recommend everyone to see Zeitgeist Addendum.

    Jeff, Princeton BC

    To understand that you are not free at least assumes awareness of said condition. With awareness there can be hope of change through the application of effort. To not even be aware of that which binds you to a given state or condition allows no hope of change. How can one act against a state they are unaware of? If you believe you are free yet are not you will never act against that which restricts you. That state of enslavement will go unchallenged. -- Zan, Hudson, MA Zan has it right. There are some good points made in other replies, but remember that Goethe died long before 9/11. It's something that we do need to recognize and apply to our view of the world, but that application is for us to make, and isn't part of what Goethe meant.

    Sean, San Diego

    This is a great quote, but also a bit sort of suggests to never believe you are free in order to help avoid being hopelessly enslaved (but if you never believe you are free, what's the point!?!)

    Justin, Elkland

    One who knows that they are a slave, is apt to do something about it. And to those who think there are degrees of freedom, you are even more deranged than the other apathetic fools.

    Kimo, lahina

    Logan, you absolutally correct, you sir have a fine mind, NEVER let anyone tell ya ur wrong, because your right.

    jim k, Austin,Tx

    An example would be those who live by way of welfare. They are enslaved to Big Brother and don't even know it.

    Waffler, Smith

    The key word here is FALSELY and it is a big one. In a since we can never be free, we are a captive to whatever our mind dwells upon. Mike expresses thoughts that indicate that he is a slave to God. It has been said that we become what we fix our minds on or dwell upon. Are you free and open minded to fix your mind on different solutions, styles, decor, public policies. Most people are victims of their environment, thus they are Christian or Muslim based upon where they were born. A few escape their victimization, expand their minds and make a free and independent life for themselves. My wish for you all and me is that we can be one of these types of special and FREE people

    Waffler, Smith

    To be totally free is to be weird. To build an igloo looking house (even out of cinder block) in Tucson, Az. or a Southern antebellum mansion and decorate it with Magnolias in Nome, Alaska would be both statements of freedom but would be weird. Most of us I bet don't want to be that free.

    Judith, New Mexico

    We are all numbered. Years ago I had a savings account without being asked my SS number. Now they want it on everything and it is now your identification number. Even though the law said it cannot be required for identification, it is. When I protest giving my number, I get no service. Savings accounts were tallied in a paper book, now all you financial information is on a computer, available to the government who can go in your safety deposit box without your knowledge. Deposits and withdraws over a specified amount ($1,000) last I knew must be reported to the government. Privacy is more and more lacking. You should consider that all your email is monitored, and not use certain words which will draw attention to you as a potential terrorist. Information and words now on Google and Yahoo are bought by companies who wish to control the information you get. (BP bought the words "oil spill" so you will get their websites first). In my village all houses must have numbers and the government must know who is living in that house. This as most new "rules", then "laws" are initiated under the guise of safety to earn your compliance. I have nothing to hide, but privacy is right that I treasure. Our state now requires biometric photos on drivers licenses, an invasion of privacy and the "requirement" was sneaked in when the "bill" that proposed it failed, but the allocated money for the bill is being used now for the "requirement", millions of dollars for equipment. A university town in MI, near the capitol, has outlawed more than three people walking together and consider it to be a crowd. Libraries are asked to turn over the list of books that any person has checked out to gvmt officials. Comcast tells me around 1pm that I have to push a button or they will turn off my cable box. They have access to the list of all the movies that I record. Internet providers have access to all the internet web sites you have visited, as well as the email you get and send. These are but a few of controls that politics have slowly put upon our freedom. You can be arrested under the terrorist laws and be considered guilty until proven innocent and may not have access to an attorney, nor a trial and can be held for an indeterminate time. You property can be seized if you protest government activity (like the war - Executive Order by Pres. Bush not yet overturned best to my knowledge), or if you commit a crime like the man in Detroit whose wife's car was seized by the police because he had sex with a prostitute in her car. The Supreme Court ruled it was within the law. Just a few for Nichole. Keep the faith but stay vigilant. Don't accept everything you read in the paper or hear on commercial news channels. Try to ask the opposing question. Why? What if? Search the internet for responsible sources.

    Judith, Pecho

    Map and article
    Here are a couple you might like to look at, Waffler, when you asked about secret prisons. You even have a map from Google. Do you want me to send more?

    Judith, New Mexico

    Waffler, this is the video I had seen before, finally found it. It is at: You will find other related videos on the right side that you can also view. Imagine you know how to do that.

    Judith, New Mexico This video is very long but very interesting about who is controlling you. It is titled the Obama Deception HQ Full Length that I refused to see earlier but is really about the Bilderberg group and the NWO. Hope the address copied correctly. Or you can search it on YouTube

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    RBESRQ    6/9/10

    Love it!

    J Carlton, Calgary

    Whenever I hear this quote I think of High School kids at the Mall...and I just shake my head.

    Howard, Bangkok

    LOL, Looks like there is no hope for America then.

    Ronald Spooner, Port Arthur

    What this quote means depends on one's personal definition of freedom. But whatever those definitions may be, the quote suggests that the battle for freedom is never won for all times. There will always be those who want-- and seek--the freedom to impose their wills at the expense of the freedom of others. The battle to remain free from the dominating intensions of others must be continually fought.

    unholy1, iowa

    It's a commentary on free will. You believe that you are free because your life is the only context you know. If a person would be born and raised in a prison, without contact with the outside world, his entire belief structure would be based on his environment and his perception of it much like Plato's "Allegory of the Cave." Would this person not fee that he is free? Now expand the walls of the prison to the outermost reaches of the universe. Only the "size"of the prison and the nature of the rules have changed. Do you still feel free? Would a far-away observer looking upon your "universe" not conclude the same thing that you concluded about the prisoner?

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    AA    9/13/12

    Oh come on now people. America is NOT the only country exist in the world. And not the only country has this kinda problems. It's a universal problem, it's the biggest problem of our era. Im saying this cause some people here talking like they are the only one. Get over yourself. Because you know what? At the end of the day, we all ruled by the same certain people no matter where you live .

    Blurs, Washington DC

    It means that real and durable slavery can only be achieved when freedom is perceived by slaves but not granted by their masters. In other words, freedom of choice is meaningless, when the choices are chosen for you. In other words, being free is not freedom of choice, but freedom of creating choices/options.
    In other words, when you choose between a Samsung Galaxy or an iPhone, you might feel free to choose, but at the end of the day the NSA has access to Google Android as well as to Apple's IOS. got it? Oh, yes and if you think that you could simply choose not to have any of those, you have chosen not to choose. You are not hopelessly enslaved in this case if you choose any phone you like and knowing that you did not have another choice. And real freedom is to create a phone where the NSA does not have access to... I hope it is clear now. This is only one simple example...

    Vexari, VA

    Ignorance is not bliss

    It's Slavery!!

    Fred, Maryland

    Someone know in which book or work did Goethe said that? I can't find it.

    Editor, Liberty Quotes
    • Reply
    Editor, Liberty Quotes Fred, Maryland 3/31/21

    The source has been updated:
    Goethe's Opinions on the World, Mankind, Literature, Science, and Art By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Otto von Wenckstern · 1853, p.3


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