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The Ecology of Freedom (1982)


Murray Bookchin


“A hierarchical mentality fosters the renunciation of the pleasures of life. It justifies toil, guilt, and sacrifice by the ‘inferiors’, and pleasure and the indulgent gratification of virtually every caprice by their ‘supe­riors’.

[…] This mentality permeates our individual psyches in a cumulative form up to the present day – not merely as capitalism but as the vast history of hierarchical society from its inception. Unless we explore this history, which lives actively within us like earlier phases of our individual lives, we will never be free of its hold.

We may eliminate social injustice, but we will not achieve social freedom. We may elimi­nate classes and exploitation, but we will not be spared from the tram­mels of hierarchy and domination. We may exorcize the spirit of gain and accumulation from our psyches, but we will still be burdened by gnawing guilt, renunciation, and a subtle belief in the ‘vices’ of sensu­ousness.”

Murray Bookchin

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