One of the most famous thinkers of all time is the French philosopher Jean Jacque Rousseau. One of his most famous quotes is “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”. Just think about it. People come into this world and are thrust into all sorts of expectations, duties, norms etc. Does it really have to be that way? A later french thinker, Jean-Paul Sartre, expanded on this idea with his notion that our existence precedes our essence. In other words that we, as a free human being, just by existing precede any sort of essential characteristic given to us by society. The idea is that we are born free with a blank canvas before us and it is ours to paint however we want. It’s the classic romantic picture of the free human spirit!
But is man really born free?
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