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November 9, 2016 / Congau

Free to Be a Slave

Are people free to sell themselves into slavery?  http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/phil/101q.php

A human being is free to do whatever is physically and socially possible. (That is the only restriction, but of course it is a huge restriction.) Freedom or lack of freedom is a reality, not some imagined or ideal entity like this question seems to suggest.

It does sound flattering for us enchained creatures to think that we possess certain freedoms that are inalienable, but that matters little when we in fact are impeded by all kinds of social and personal constraints.

In this situation no one should of course give away the last piece of freedom that he does have, but of course he can. We are not free, but at least we are free to be self-destructive (if that’s a comfort).

Slavery is the most extreme condition of lacking freedom, but other than that there are many degrees of dependence. We constantly give away parts of our freedom. Actually we do it every time we get into any kind of relationship with other people and often we think we gain something from it. If we can give up a little freedom and sometimes a lot, there is no logical reason why we cannot give up all the freedom we have.

That being said, not even a slave has lost all his freedom. As long as he is human and not a machine, no master can completely control him. We are all more or less in that situation. We are free to be slaves.

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