From the comments to one of my older pieces on education that I have had reason to link to recently:
I’ve long held that the darkest truth I know is that men are enslave-able.
It is a detail of this fact that their bodies can be beaten and broken, molded into a twisted parody of their rightful glory. We rightfully hide far from our daily awareness, in a special place of screaming horror the fact that their minds can be warped into a place where gibberish replaces reason.
Humanity celebrates the man whose spirit triumphs over such abuse, who rises above the physical and mental infirmities imposed upon him to know and live his own mind and spirit, and desperately wants to believe that this is the norm, and not the exception.
Surrounded by proof to the contrary, we are thus presented with a painful dichotomy. What is man? Is it the transcendent, triumphant glory of spirit that strives against all adversaries on behalf of its own autonomy? Is our being entirely conditional upon the forces that mold and warp it, some occasional victories being contingent upon some lucky factor? (And what of the adversaries? Are they also not men?) Can we avoid splitting the camp of mankind, into those men who would rule only themselves, those are/will/can not be, and those who would rule others? How shall we regard the many flavors of Failed, who may have never even understood the need to lift a finger in their own defense, or who, having strived, failed of strength or endurance?
I submit that we can hold the Failed in compassion, but that compassion would be misplaced if applied to those who would Rule us.