What is a slave? From Wyrms * Orson Scott Card


There are people who do things for fear of the lash.

There are people who do things for fear they will lose their families or their lives. There are people bought and sold. Are they not slaves?

“They are slaves to their passion. Their fear rules them. What power do you have over me if I am not afraid of your lash? Am I your slave, if I am not afraid to lose my family? I obey you, faithfully, completely, because I choose to; am I your slave? And when you come to hate me for my freedom, which is greater than yours, and you command me to do what I will not do, then I stand before you in disobedience. Punish me, then; I choose to be punished. And if the punishment is more than I am willing to accept, then I will use such force as is necessary to stop the punishment, and no more. But never, for a moment, have I done anything but what I choose to do.”

“Then no one is as strong as you.”

“Not so. I’ve given my obedience to God, and use my best judgment to carry out his purpose, when I have some understanding of it. But those who have chosen to give their obedience to their passion, or to their memory, they freely choose to obey. The glutton freely overfills his belly, the pederast feeds on innocence, and the fearful man obeys his fear-freely.”

From Orson Scott Card’s Wyrms

Caged Bird – Poem by Maya Angelou

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