Saturday, June 10, 2006

Misguided's Musings

I loved misguided's post on Estienne de La Boetie's essay, “Slaves By Choice”.

Written around 1548, La Boetie begins with: “My sole aim on this occasion is to discover how it can happen that a vast number of individuals, of towns, cities and nations can allow one man to tyrannize them, a man who has no power except what they themselves give him, who could do them no harm were they not willing to suffer harm, and who could never wrong them were they not more ready to endure it than to stand in his way. It is a grievous matter — and yet so commonplace that our sorrow is the greater and our surprise the less — to see a million men in abject servitude, their necks bound to the yoke, and in that state not because they have had to yield to some greater force but, it seems, because they have been mesmerized by the mere name of a single man, a man they ought neither to fear (for he is just one man) nor love (as he is inhuman and barbaric towards them).”

Misguided writes: … So begins one of my favorite essays. Written around 1548 by Estienne de La Boetie, “Slaves By Choice” reveals the intricate way in which tyranny takes hold of a nation, and citizens give up their freedoms. Like the writer, I am amazed at how an entire nation can be held in abject servitude to one man… I am puzzled as to why any man would wish such an existence upon himself or his human brethren.

5 comments:

Belle said...

Slaves by choice. Well said.

It happens over and over, and not just with nations.

Belle said...

Slaves by choice.

Well said. It happens everyday, and not just with nations.

Judy said...

Makes me think of the all the bad things that have happened , are happening in the name of religion.

Misguided said...

I am glad you enjoyed the essay. Thanks for the link.

judy: I have thought a lot about the role of religion in our past and present conflicts. I still believe that religion has a role in people's lives. As Kierkegaard said:

"If there were no eternal conciousness in a man, if at the bottom of everything there were only a wild ferment, a power that twisting in dark passions produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything, what would life be but despair?"

But I do agree that, throughout our history, religion has been used to ferment hate.

woman wandering said...

It does belle, I went searching for a quote I had by Erica Jong on the subject but it went unfound for now ...

I agree judy, religion and land-grabs seem to be the cause of so much.

Hi misguided, the link was a pleasure, thanks for posting the essay.