Friedrich Nietzsche and the Definition of a Slave: Are You a Slave Too?

In today’s modern world of materialism, corporatism, and reckless chasing of wealth and luxuries, man has forgotten himself. He has forgotten his basic instincts, undermined his emotions, and lost interest in the simple pleasures of life. Entrapped in a vicious cycle and running after the material goods and commodities, scarcely does he question his being, responds to the call of nature, or contemplates the purpose of his life.

Every day, all of us keep running and running; we have so much work to do, and we can not waste our time. We indulge in so much business that we do not even give time to our families and friends and ourselves. Whatever success we achieve and however hard we try to earn what we want to earn, there is always an ambition and a craving for more: for more success, for more wealth, for more luxuries, and more facilities.

Of course, there is no harm in craving and working for more. The problem, however, starts when this extortionate ambition turns into a smoldering desire and drags us to such a place where we fail to fix our priorities and strike a balance between primal and inessential things of life.

In this regard, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has something to say, which may enforce us to question our routines, and may serve as a touchstone against which we may determine the direction of our lives. Nietzsche says:

“Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.”

Now the question is posed before all of us: do we have two-thirds of the day for ourselves? Do we have sixteen hours in a day for ourselves wherein we may indulge in such activities which are salubrious to our physical and mental world? Do we have two-thirds of the day to enjoy with our families, learn something new, associate ourselves with recreational activities and do things that we like? If not, it’s time we thought again and set our lives on the correct course.

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