Whereas in the past greatness was identified with asceticism and virtue, an ability to resist and will, in our days the ideal has shifted towards a life of entertainment, consumption, and laisser-allez, one identified cynicism and vice. What was admired was the man who was able to raise himself above himself, to overcome and control himself, whereas now, a voice hums in his ear, telling him to suckle all he can from the bosom of this moment, for that is all he can ever hope to have.
The ascetic moralism of religion regarding sex tends to sever it from the sphere of emotions. Sexuality, being repressed, the need for it does not go away, but suffers a degradation and acquires, when it surfaces, an urgency and paroxysm. Much of the modern liberalism in sexuality is precisely such an urgency and paroxysm that does not recognize its origin, is a prolongation of the rift at the heart of the human soul between sexuality and emotion. A man still fighting a ghost who is no longer here.
Freedom is not a letting go; it is a feeling of fullness that is only possible for those who subjugate themselves to a strict discipline and a regimen for the soul. Freedom is a feeling of greatness arising from channeling one’s energy into one or two things at the expense of many others. It is saying No to many things that one may wholeheartedly say Yes to the one or two things that one desires to rise through. Otherwise one stays mediocre as much of modernity is.