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Beyond Master and Slave

In viewing the multimedia presentation, it becomes possible for spectators to grasp their simultaneous roles as slaves and slavers, thereby attaining self-realization. By working to free others, spectators are able to grasp freedom themselves.

To explain how this works, we need to revisit Hegel's dialectic of the master and the slave. In this narrative, two individuals confront each other. In so doing, each comes to an awareness of his or her self by seeing how the other perceives them. As a result of the encounter, one individual becomes dominant, the master, and enslaves the other. The master comes to think of the slave as a mere tool to be used, a deficient self, living only to satisfy the master's needs. In time, however, the master grows dependent on the slave, relying on him or her for every need. Meanwhile the slave, depending only upon his or her own wits and skill, slowly frees himself or herself from any dependency on the master. Even if in shackles, the slave comes to understand that the work he or she does affirms his or her nature as an individual. Lacking that affirmation, the master winds up empty, without identity.

If today we are both masters and slaves, it is only through realizing those dual roles that we free ourselves. Only when we understand that we create not freedom but our own alienation and enslavement by exploiting others can we move forward.

Upon viewing the multimedia presentation, the individual comes to self-awareness, understanding that true inner freedom only occurs through acknowledging the enslavement of others and the need to fight for their freedom. Liberating others is a prerequisite to liberating oneself.