— 239 —
Liberty what.       §12. As it is in the motions of the Body, so it is in the Thoughts
of our Minds; where any one is such, that we have power to take it
up, or lay it by, according to the preference of the Mind, there we
are at liberty. A waking Man being under the necessity of having
some Ideas constantly in his Mind, is not at liberty to think, or not to
think; no more than he is at liberty, whether his Body shall touch
any other, or no: But whether he will remove his Contemplation
from one Idea to another, is many times in his choice; and then he is
in respect of his Ideas, as much at liberty, as he is in respect of Bodies
he rests on: He can at pleasure remove himself from one to another.
But yet some Ideas to the Mind, like some Motions to the Body, are
such, as in certain circumstances it cannot avoid, nor obtain their
absence by the utmost effort it can use. A Man on the Rack, is not
at liberty to lay by the Idea of pain, and divert himself with other
Contemplations: and sometimes a boisterous Passion hurries our
Thoughts, as a Hurricane does our Bodies, without leaving us the
— 240 —
liberty of thinking on other things, which we would rather chuse.
But as soon as the Mind regains the power to stop or continue,
begin or forbear any of these Motions of the Body without, or
Thoughts within, according as it thinks fit to preferr either to the
other, we then consider the Man as a free Agent again.
Locke Hum II, 21, §12, pp. 239-240