Freedom implies responsibility. A free man takes responsibility for his actions, for if he has the freedom to choose his path, he is responsible for the consequences. We cannot foresee the consequences of our actions, but wise men can foresee the future, intuitively, said Suki Sivam.

Greek philosopher Diogenes was considered eccentric, but that is what the world says of all those who think differently from the majority of people. One day, Alexander went to see Diogenes to take leave of him before embarking on his conquests. There would always be a dog near Diogenes. Alexander told Diogenes that he was going to conquer the world. The philosopher asked him what he was going to do after his conquests. Alexander replied that he was going to rest after his conquests. Diogenes laughed and said he and his teacher rested even without conquering the world. He referred to the dog beside him as his teacher! What was the need to conquer the world in order to rest? Alexander could rest without waging war on anyone, he said.

Alexander was amused that Diogenes considered a dog his teacher. What a dog could teach anyone, he wondered. Diogenes said: “This dog, when it first came to this river to slake its thirst, went close to the water, but came back in fear. Every time it went near the water, it panicked. I realised that the dog was scared of its own reflection. But the dog did not give up. After many tries, it mustered enough courage to drink water from the river. That was when I realised that I too must muster courage to move to a higher plane of thought. That is not easy, and there are many obstacles. The journey can seem impossible, but we must move onward.”

Once, a slave trader auctioned off Diogenes at a market. Diogenes told the man who bought him that he, Diogenes, would only be a master, never a slave. The man laughed. But Diogenes said: “Ask your wife what she thinks of me vis-a-vis you.” The wife said that besides Diogenes, her husband was like dust. Taken aback, the husband set Diogenes free. Thus, it is that great thinkers can read our minds, and they cannot be tied down.