Trying to make sense of this this proverb, one might find handy a deeper understanding of ‘it’.

I’ll be arguing in a future post about the synthetic nature of equality. A concept we came up with, based on things found in the natural world. But the concept itself has no natural precursor. It was invented by us and exists exclusively in our minds.

On the other hand, liberty – the ‘it’ I’m writing about right now – is ‘artificial’. Another concept we’ve came up with, based on things found in the natural world.
But one which has evolved from a natural precursor. It still exists exclusively in our minds – like all other concepts, but we didn’t actually invent it. We only noticed its natural precursor and built on in.

Orangutans are freer than us. They live individualistic lives, depending on no one but themselves. They are strong enough to do this and they live in such a manner and place that they don’t have to face any natural enemies. We, humans – their cousins, are the only agents powerful enough to represent a real danger for them.
Gorillas are less free than us. They live in strict autarchies, where they need nothing but what already exists in their domains – the plants they feed on, and where they respect the strict discipline imposed by their strictly authoritarian male leaders. Which are the only free(ish) members of the groups.
Chimpanzees and bonobos, each in their own way, are the closest to us. Some freer than others but none as free as the orangutans.

None of our cousins have the concept of liberty. As far as we know, they long for it – for freedom, that is – when they lose it. Hence they feel (for) it. But they haven’t, as far as we know it, came up with the notion of it. This being the reason for which the concept of liberty might be synthetic – like all other concepts, but liberty itself is artificial.

Our experience of liberty has a lot in common with what our cousins feel when they lose theirs. When they lose theirs to us!
We being the only agents who, after synthesizing the concept of liberty, have taken the process a step further.
Have started to take prisoners. And to justify our actions!