Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Freedom and Oppression

“Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift.” ~ Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire in his 1968 book Pedagogy of the Oppressed. This is a thought provoking line from Freire. Throughout history, it is the conquerors and enslavers who have philosophized about the glories of freedom. They have philosophized about freedom even as they used their army to conquer other civilizations and impose their will on the conquered people.

When you subdue another man, force him to become your slave, you realize the importance of freedom—freedom is what you (the conqueror) have and he (the conquered) doesn’t. The fruits of freedom belong to the conquerors. Those who are conquered find it difficult to conceive of the possibility of freedom—they have no alternative except to keep striving until they can themselves become the conquerors. Till they make their own conquests, they cannot be free.

Liberation is not enough. A slave cannot feel free before he has enslaved his master.

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