Essay Sample: Do We Own Ourselves?

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626 words
Wesleyan University
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Freedom is a common desire for many people. The ability of human beings to think and reason brings about want to be free to speak and do as one wishes. From a young age, there is an inherent nature that causes a human being to yearn to break restrictions especially from parents and teachers at school. For instance, it is common for children to want certain luxuries such as toys and also have a need to be allowed to engage in fun activities. On growing up, the anticipation for freedom remains but the needs change. In history, many revolutions in regions around the globe are based on fighting against oppression and for freedom. This includes battle for sovereignty by countries under colonial rule as well as the famous fight to end slave trade. In as much as by law, we are all entitled to rights and freedoms, is there a limit to exercising such liberties or do we just own ourselves?

I believe that in order to maintain law and order, it is vital to respect other people and to ensure that as much as we are enjoying freedom, it should not be at the expense of others. Taking the case of the four English sailors, there is an element of dilemma. This is a representation of the normal society with Thomas, the captain as the person in authority followed by the other three: Edwin the first mate, Edmund the sailor and Richard the cabin boy. Richard represents the lowest level in society because he holds the least authority and therefore, he is not indeed entitled to decision making but he always has to follow orders he is given. The decision by the captain, the first mate, and the sailor to kill the cabin boy to eat him was the most obvious and an easy one for them because Richard's position in society is literally at the bottom of a food chain. This decision favored the other three who thought of themselves as more deserving to live than the cabin boy.

By killing and eating the cabin boy, the three survivors probably saved themselves, but at the same time, they created a precedent for the future. Had they stayed stranded on the lifeboat for more days and perhaps weeks, the chances are that another person would have to be killed to feed the other two. In this case, I believe that the automatic pick would be Edmund, the sailor because the death of Richard meant he was the lowest ranked survivor. This justifies that the decision to kill one of their own was not wise but was merely a complete abuse of freedom and privilege. It is sad that this case study is an accurate reflection of the society whereby some people have more freedom than others.

From a religious point of view, God sent human beings to conquer the nature of the earth. The human being is part of this nature, and therefore, the highest manifestation of power is when one has conquered fellow men and women. To do this, one has to limit the freedom of others. Given the opportunity to rule on the case of the four members of the crew, my ruling would be that the captain, first mate, and the sailor broke the law by taking matters of a human being's life into their own hands. Their decisions are morally unacceptable and instead, their actions exhibit curtailing someone else's freedom. I would even hold grudge with the captain because someone in his position should have prevented such from happening. All in all, freedom is not being free to act and say anything but instead, having the consideration to ensure that in the process, we do not deprive other people similar rights.

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