My reason is not framed to bend or stoop: my knees are.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
The sovereign being is burdened with a servitude that crushes him, and the condition of free men is deliberate servility.
—Georges Bataille (1897–1962) French Philosopher, Writer
Slavery is no more sinful, by the Christian code, than it is sinful to wear a whole coat, while another is in tatters, to eat a better meal than a neighbor, or otherwise to enjoy ease and plenty, while our fellow creatures are suffering and in want.
—James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851) American Novelist
There’re two people in the world that are not likeable: a master and a slave.
—Nikki Giovanni (b.1943) American Children’s Books Writer, Poet, Activist, Author
Most people seek after what they do not possess and are enslaved by the very things they want to acquire.
—Anwar el-Sadat (1918–81) Egyptian Head of State, Political leader
Progress and reaction have both turned out to be swindles. Seemingly, there is nothing left but quietism — robbing reality of its terrors by simply submitting to it.
—George Orwell (1903–50) English Novelist, Journalist
To relive the relationship between owner and slave we can consider how we treat our cars and dogs — a dog exercising a somewhat similar leverage on our mercies and an automobile being comparable in value to a slave in those days.
—Edward Hoagland (b.1932) American Essayist, Novelist
Slavery is a system of the most complete injustice.
—Plato (428 BCE–347 BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, Educator
It is better to be high-spirited, even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent. It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love, is well done.
—Vincent van Gogh (1853–90) Dutch Painter
If every day a man takes orders in silence from an incompetent superior, if every day he solemnly performs ritual acts which he privately finds ridiculous, if he unhesitatingly gives answers to questionnaires which are contrary to his real opinions and is prepared to deny his own self in public, if he sees no difficulty in feigning sympathy or even affection where, in fact, he feels only indifference or aversion, it still does not mean that he has entirely lost the use of one of the basic human senses, namely, the sense of humiliation.
—Vaclav Havel (1936–2011) Czech Dramatist, Statesman