Social Question

poisonedantidote's avatar

Why do slaves start to believe they are free, when you simply allow them to choose their master?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21544 points ) October 19th, 2012

Yes, some of you are bound to disagree, but here it is anyway.

As far as I can tell, human beings used to live in anarchy. No laws, no government, living in caves, eating and raping.

At some point, some humans became smart enough to declare them selves leaders, or royalty, and so on.

This is when humans first became slaves, and it was how things were for a very long time.

Eventually the slaves figured out they were being ruled over by a boss, and realized they outnumbered their masters. They then started demanding to be free.

To fix this, voting was introduced, so the slaves could choose their masters, thus making them forget they did not want masters at all.

Now days, we have people working for annual wages that are smaller than what it would cost to house, feed and guard a real slave.

The entire world has been claimed by one asshole or another, with their precious made up flag and so called “offical” laws. The result being that there is no neutral zone for people to be able to opt out.

People are forced to obey the made up rules of the country they happen to be born in to, and the best they can do is choose their boss and master, with no neutral zone to opt out.

Why do people continue to accept this and tolerate it?

But more important, what is it about allowing a slave to choose a master, that tricks the slave in to thinking it has freedom?

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34 Answers

Qingu's avatar

Last I checked, my so-called “masters” couldn’t legally beat me within an inch of my life, rape my wife, or sell my children to other masters.

Small differences, I know. Anyway, I wonder if these differences have something to do with the fact that I have some degree of power over and protection from the authority figures in my life!

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Qingu Thanks for the response, but I have to disagree. They could beat you, rape your wife, and sell your children. They just have not done so, but they have the power to do so if they like.

Japanese Americans 1942, Occupy wall street beatings, etc.

If it was convenient to their cause to beat you or rape your wife they would. A police officer can pull you over and fuck with you any time he wants, and if he kills you, he will probably just get suspended with pay.

Qingu's avatar

If my boss or my landlord tried any of those things they would be arrested and almost certainly convicted. If a police officer randomly shot me there would be an investigation and, depending on the level of corruption in the local police department, probably a conviction, especially if there are witnesses (and cell phones help).

You are acting as if these differences are infinitesmal. When people have spent decades fighting for them and in some cases dying for them. I don’t think you appreciate the rights that you do have.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Qingu Your boss and landlord are slaves too, of course a slave that hurts the slave stock will be punished, they want ones that conform.

If the “government” did it, no one would be arrested.

The differences don’t really count, if you can’t opt out. A well kept slave with token luxuries is still a slave. These “rights” are only there because they lessen the amount of protests, and are a logical sacrifice to make in order to help keep control.

That is just how I have always seen it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t claim to be free for thinking this way, if anything, it just makes me more miserable.

Qingu's avatar

Sounds like you need some perspective. I suggest moving to Saudi Arabia and selling yourself into actual slavery, and see how it compares to your previous life.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Qingu How about ancient Roman slavery? where I get a wage just like todays slaves. There is more than one flavor of slavery.

However I will admit there is a difference between Saudi Arabia and the Western world, even if the difference is we are just more discrete about it.

wundayatta's avatar

I can leave my employer any time I want.

True fact. Many Soviets who were exiled to the Gulag discovered they had never been so free as when they had no choices whatsoever.

It seems that freedom is in your head. Just as slavery is. You may want to reevaluate just why it is you see yourself as a slave.

Mariah's avatar

I don’t get it, would you rather go back to “living in caves, eating and raping”?

wundayatta's avatar

^^ This is why women are responsible for civilization.

Qingu's avatar

Ancient Roman slavery was not like wage slavery. I’ll say it again: my boss cannot legally beat me. He cannot legally sell my children to another boss. If you don’t think these are rather important differences, I honestly don’t know what to tell you, other than to try out this lifestyle for yourself and see what you think then.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@wundayatta You can leave your employer any time you like, for another employer. That or you can go self employed, and pay tax to your government, you can’t opt out of the system.

@Mariah No, I would just like there to be 1 place on the entire planet, that is not under any form of control. Just to have the option.

@Qingu You boss can’t, your government can. Sure the slavery manager assistant can’t beat you, but the big boss can.

EDIT: and your government can extradite you on a bullshit charge without trial, to be sent for torture.

Mariah's avatar

If we aren’t ruled by government we’ll just be ruled by whoever has the most weapons anyhow. I do understand your desire to have the option, though.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Mariah That is true. I would even go as far as saying there is no such thing as government or law, just anarchy, and the ones with the most weapons have already taken over.

wundayatta's avatar

@poisonedantidote People can opt out of the system. I know many tax resisters. They earn a living off the books. They don’t own anything. Yet they have a house and a car and resources (but no savings). It is possible. It is possible to live off the grid.

On the other hand, since you and I are the system, I’m not sure why anyone would want to opt out of it. We get too much of an advantage from being a part of it.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@wundayatta You can try to opt out, but they can take it away at any time.

Sure, I can go out in to the woods, build a log cabin and hunt, but my cabin will be demolished the instant they want a road or stadium in that place.

If there was the option to opt out, I would seriously consider it, I don’t really see any great advantages, and there are less and less each day. Unemployment has recently vanished in my part of the world, and health care seems to be next in line.

I could replace every single thing my government does for me personally, with a private pension and medical plan.

Qingu's avatar

@poisonedantidote, put your money where your mouth is. Sell yourself into slavery. See if you notice any difference.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Qingu Why would I volunteer to make my situation worse to prove a point?

I am sorry if my opinion bothers you, those that have been in the matrix too long will fight to protect it. If you really think you are totally free, and not in some level of slavery, you are probably institutionalized.

EDIT: A well conditioned slave always fears the consequence of trying to run.

EDIT2: I think I will drop this topic now, people are just not going to get it.

Qingu's avatar

Oh weepin’ Jesus on the cross. The Matrix? Are you some pot-addled middle schooler who just discovered that humans live within systems of control?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Qingu It was a valid point. Just because something is in a movie does not make it worthless.

EDIT: Your attack on the the point is really only ad hominem. Maybe ask your self why this topic upsets you so much, if none of what I say is true.

Qingu's avatar

Lack of appreciation for progress and ignorance of nuance always upsets me.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I am not trying to pretend I have it as bad as a slave in Soudi Arabia, or that I have it as bad as an Egyptian slave or kidnapped African slave. However you can’t pretend we are totally free as a bird.

Yes, slowly walking towards the exit is progress, but not quite an escape.

Qingu's avatar

If your only point is that “freedom is not absolute” then yes, you are right. There are limitations to freedom in the so-called “free world,” and humans still exist within authority structures.

Characterizing this state of affairs as “slavery,” however, strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Qingu Yes, there are “limitations” to “freedom”, the same way your “unlimited” text package, is not quite “unlimited”.

To me, freedom can not have limits imposed on it, by definition. It is like saying your bottomless pit is almost bottomless.

jerv's avatar

By that logic, freedom cannot truly exist. In a society with no rulers, people will be enslaved by the necessity to make their own safety and wellbeing, and basically become slaves to their own survival needs. Not all masters are anthropomorphic.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@jerv I don’t disagree. I am not sure if it is a real thing at all. Even if I ruled over the entire planet, I would still be stuck on it like a prisoner.

Smart ass hehe :P, I knew you would throw a spanner in the works as soon as I saw you typing.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@poisonedantidote I believe you are right, but things are much better than they used to be with the advent of modern democracy and civil rights. I’m sure you will agree. But, as we’ve been warned time and again, these are fragile things and require protection by the citizen. IMO, I see the corporation as becoming more powerful than our elected governments and because of this we are in danger of losing every gain man has made in the last few hundred years. I think Zappa’s quote describes the situation best:

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

If you want to see a democracy gone horribly bad, spend your next vacation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. If you can get in to the actual city —not the fake one set up by the cruise lines. When you get back, be sure to kiss the tarmac. Then find a way to contribute to the protection of your own democracy.

tom_g's avatar

Can we bring the concept of “free will” into this discussion? (just kidding…kinda)

wonderingwhy's avatar

Let’s assume the purpose of society (which could be defined so basically as cooperation between individuals) is to provide better for the individuals than they can provide for themselves, particularly with regard to basic needs: air, water, food, shelter, safety. Our slavery is the price of maintaining society such that it is capable of enacting those provisions for its individuals. The degree of this slavery is defined by how much of an individuals time is spent in servitude (working for societies purpose) and freedom (working for each own purpose) not by the motive through which that time is acquired.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@wonderingwhy Cooperation between individuals, sure would be nice. The only problem with that definition, is it requires everyone in the plan to be as nice as you.

Why assume, just based on where someone is born, that they want to cooperate in the system at all. Why act, as if we have all agreed to this, democracy and government was here way before me, I never got a say in any of it.

As for having a say now, it extends as far as allowing me to pick what obviously amoral person I want to lead the freak show. (even then I probably wont get it)

I guess maybe I’m just bitter, that there is not a single spot on the planet for those who want out.

I also tend to suspect that a lot of people want out, just based on how many want more space exploration.

flutherother's avatar

I would disagree that human beings “used to live in anarchy. No laws, no government, living in caves, eating and raping.”

They used to live in tribes that were anything but anarchic. Human society has always been structured and people by and large like living within an ordered environment and you can find freedom within that order. What has been happening in recent human history is that society has become more complex and humans more specialised and more distant from the leadership. The invention of agriculture started the process and the industrial revolution continued it.

The result is what you see today, societies that are immensely complex but unstable, which go to war with themselves or their neighbours and which allow themselves to be ruled over by the most ruthless monkey in the pack. Evolution hasn’t caught up with the kind of societies we now live in and we don’t feel entirely at ease living in them.

jerv's avatar

@poisonedantidote No spanners; just a handful of sand.

Patton's avatar

“I would just like there to be 1 place on the entire planet, that is not under any form of control. Just to have the option.”

And who will enforce that option? Who will keep the area free from control? Won’t those be the controllers, and doesn’t that mean that what you ask is impossible? If people have reacted negatively to your question, it might be because it reflects a very juvenile sentiment: that any thing that prevents me from doing exactly what I want is slavery or some similarly immoral violation of my natural freedom. Gravity prevents me from doing things I’d like to do, too. That doesn’t make me a slave to the laws of nature. It just means that I have to learn how to live within my environment.

augustlan's avatar

I think I understand where you’re coming from, @poisonedantidote, but I wouldn’t call it slavery. It’s more like a mutually beneficial relationship, one that most parties enter into willingly. Besides, what is the alternative? Fending completely for yourself? You say that you could replace every single thing your government does for you with a private pension and medical plan. But:

A) Could you really? I think not. Unless you are the only person on the planet, you’re going to need roads to drive on, police and firemen to protect you and your belongings, schools to educate your children, medical research to treat your future ills and so on.

B) Where would your private pension and medical plan come from, if not from a society that has the structure for such things in place?

Symbeline's avatar

If you’re given the choice to decide what master you want, it gives you a sense of freedom. Slaves rarely get to decide on anything. I mean technically speaking. I have no idea if voting is legitimate or not, but ultimately, the masses must be pleased, else the masters will bleed. At least over here. It isn’t like that in places where if you believe in the wrong god or kiss someone, you get choked by your own ass tubes by some witch doctor, or your uncle. Politicians suck yeah, but we do have a say in what can happen, even if extremes and efforts need be made to change something. but if Romney wins I’m changing this whole answer

I agree we’re pretty much all slaves, in a way. But Auggie’s right, we pretty much need it. There is a difference between mutual exchanges and being a barbarian. Granted, shitty ass shit happens in the most civilized and technologically advanced places, but I do believe that mankind does revolve around chaos and hostility…so setting up systems that go beyond this so that we can have computers and Justin Bieber is a better alternative, as well as a far cry from having myself exchanged for cattle or rice. We’re ’‘slaves’’ because we’re in a society, and a society couldn’t work without rules and regulations. But I guess that depends on how far you want to take the word slave. The are options and choices to make things work, but not many deviations. In a way I’m not free, but really, I’m happy leading the life I have now, and if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t blame the whole of society about why I’m not happy. Thing is, I have choices. I can study to become an entomologist or a pathologist. The choice is mine. If I find out that I’m a lesbian, then nobody is gonna stop me from assuming this. If I want to play video games at three in the morning, I can do that. Granted, I may not have the money to pursue my studies, people may ostracize me if I’m a lesbian, and I’ll be really tired if I don’t put down the controller to go to sleep for work at seven in the morning. But these are things I can do or be or whatever. Slaves don’t get to chose anything though. This is the difference. I’ve got my irks with how things work, but I’m happy living in a country where I’m allowed to have irks. There is a lot of bad, but we do have it pretty good, man. At least for the most part.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily reflect any personal opinion of mine. Because as far as I’m concerned, I’d just go live in the woods. but I know I wouldn’t last long out there…
There are a lot of things about culture and society and the media that are said to cause a lot of convictions in people, convictions that are not necessarily true. But if this is how humans work, there isn’t much chance to go beyond that or find something better. It isn’t bad at all anyways. I can say whatever I want on Fluther, and speak against my masters, and I get to keep my head. It isn’t the same in other places ruled by tyranny, which, to me, draws the difference between really being a slave and being born in a system that attempts at a decent flow. There is plenty of exploitation and fuckbuggery and all, but I wouldn’t be so quick to call our kinds of systems and their problems as a slave and master thing.

Wasn’t like that back in 1592, when I was fighting the English and then my dad abandoned me because he thought I was possessed by some guy named Bôta.

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