I have already made the claim that a liberal education is an education that frees a person from something and it also frees a person for something. At present we are only speaking about what it frees a person from. And the short answer is that it frees a person from specifically four kinds of slavery.
Now, you might wonder about why I say “four?” You might be wondering about the process by which I arrived at the specific number “four?” That would certainly be a legitimate cause for concern. If I has said “two” or “three” you would most assuredly have found that more convincing.
My favorite living philosopher asserts that there is a “rule of two or three.” One should not be overly enthusiastic about divisions into say nine or fourteen or even, say, seven.
It turns out that the four kinds of slavery do, as a matter of fact, arise out of a prior division into two,and subsequently one of these is divided into three. So the four kinds of slavery are in fact a result of “the rule of two or three.” This should be a great comfort for anyone who is concerned about the significance of division! Allow me to make this clear.
One might say that there are at first two kinds of slavery:
- The slavery that is caused by things outside of the mind.
- The slavery that is caused by an erroneous mind.
But the first sort of slavery is divided into three:
- The slavery to the passions
- The slavery to fashion
- The slavery to custom
There you have it! A prior division of something into two. And a posterior division of one of these things into three.
Thus four kinds of slavery!
Now you might be asking “what are we to call the slavery that is caused by an erroneous mind?
We will simply call this fourth type “The slavery to error.”
As it turns out there are at least six cause of slavery to error (the first three kinds of slavery as well as pride, false imagination, and illogical thinking!) But we will talk about these things later.