domingo, 3 de setembro de 2017


Étienne de La Boétie (15301563) was a French humanist and philosopher, contemporary and friend of Michel de Montaigne (15331592). La Boétie translated from Greek into French the works by Xenophon and Plutarch, and also wrote some original works. His most famous work is the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, written after the defeat of the French people against the army and the king's procurators, who established taxes on salt. The book shows itself as almost a hymn to freedom, with questions about the causes of the domination of many by the few, the indignation of oppression, and the ways to overcome it. Already in the title a contradiction of the term appears; voluntary servitude, because how can someone sacrifice his own freedom with spontaneous will? And La Boétie explains this sense of accommodation as a fundamental factor of this loss of conscious freedom, as a gift given on a tray to the oppressive government.  

In our daily lives, a similar phenomenon is increasing in all countries and is spreading like a contagious disease - the comfort zone,  where people settle, accommodate, enjoy the blessing offered by Technological progress, immerse themselves in their mobile phones and tablets and simply disconnect from the world around them, as if the virtual world is more fascinating and attractive.    

Gabriel Delanne (1857-1926), an engineer and one of the first spiritist researchers, says with emphasis, in a message from 2004, by the medium Raul Teixeira, that we live today a ferocious individualism that isolates us from other human beings, taking away the capacity of us to sensitise ourselves to the pain and suffering of others, becoming servants of technology.   

The question remains: is it that the collective dramas that we live with today be a way of awakening our dormant consciousness?  

The feeling of fraternity so intensely worked on by writers, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, could also be summed up in another feeling, compassion. This can be widely felt and experienced in the way that NGOs like Doctors Without Borders, WWF and many others operate, without the guarantee of the human losses that make us suffer so much.

Sonia Theodoro da Silva
The Journal of  Psychological Studies  -  Year X l 53rd Issue  l July and August l 2017