It used to be that you could stroll round the market place in Athens and listen to the philosophers talk to their pupils and then just pick one you fancied. You sat and learned all they had to teach you. You might have had to undergo a lifetime of privation and despair after that, but at least you got a free choice of how bad you wanted to feel.
It was different with the religions. You were generally born into one and had it attached to you for life. Whatever it said to do you did…or else. Later, people could go around choosing fresh ones when they were invented, but here again it was largely a matter of where you were at the time the missionaries opened fire.
Nowadays this latter approach is generally reserved for the less-developed parts of the globe. It still works, but not quite to the same extent as before. People in many areas have started to decide that they just don’t believe any more – or just don’t care.
The missionary position is now assumed by political parties and various powerful rulers. They compel obedience using the modern versions of the or else and can do very well at it until they are shot by their successors. Politics abhors a vacuum so there is always someone to fill the place of the last Fearless Leader.
Philosophies are now pretty well free to anyone – free as to the right to think about things and keep quiet. The books that teach them are about $ 39.95 at all good bookstores and if you fancy an old one the prices can be even cheaper.