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Social Sciences: Religious Individualization

Seneca does not object to slavery in and of itself, and there are several reasons for it. The author sees the reality as slavery as he explains that the society has a hierarchical structure, therefore, there is always someone with higher status or a bigger amount of power. On top of the society stays God, and people can be considered as his slaves. According to Fuchs et al. (2019), Seneca’s advocacy of respectful treatment for slaves does not include the demolition of slavery as an institution. Hence, Seneca does not protest against slavery as the society is based on this master-worker relationship.

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However, in his letters, Seneca concentrates the attention on the treatment of slaves and their discrimination due to their social status. He objects to the disrespect for slaves, unfairness concerning their working conditions, and the feeling of superiority over the slaved workers that is usually felt by masters. Seneca explains his objection through the idea of this hierarchical structure of society. For example, slaves can later turn into masters or the masters will be required to perform some duties inappropriate for their status. The author insists on the idea of equality among all people regardless of their social status or performed jobs. People were born in the same way, under the same sky. They breathe the same air, live almost the same lives, end up the same, therefore, there is no need to concentrate on such criteria as slavery. Everything in people’s lives is decided by fate, and the master could be born a slave and vice versa. Those are the ideas that Seneca supports with his arguments, and it is the reason why he objects inequality and arrogance.

Although Seneca’s understanding of total equality may seem exaggerated, I agree with it. Regardless of their status, people should treat one another as if they were equal, and it will help establish a fair society where people are estimated by their moral qualities instead of financial situation. I think that the topic discussed in the letters is essential in the modern world as well, regarding not slavery but the question of equality and respect for one another.

Reference List

Fuchs, M., et al. (2019). Religious Individualization: Historical Dimensions and Comparative Perspectives. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.

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