Tolstoy Morris and Forster Term Paper

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Tolstoy, Etc

Most people seek after what they do not possess and are thus enslaved by the very things they want to acquire -- Anwar El-Sadat

The Egyptian leader Anwar El-Sadat spoke in condemning terms, towards the end of his life, of the enslaving nature of every human being's impulse to better him or herself through acquisition. He did so, not as a detached observer, but after personally wrestling with one of the most formidable and intransient struggles over land that the human species has waged during modern history. In his own lifetime, before being assassinated, Sadat was able to reach some state of accord with the Israeli leader Begin at Camp David. The two leaders created an equitable arrangement about the land under dispute, but only after their people had endured many years of conflict.

However, Sadat spoke as a man leading a country that already had a certain level security in the territory his people possessed, unlike the Palestinians who currently struggle over the Israeli's land. Furthermore, Sadat was still quite zealous in his own people's claim to the land under consideration for
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most of his leadership and lifetime in Egypt. A desire for land can be enslaving to a people, true, and can form a fixation and a source of crippling hatred. Yet what is the alternative, one might ask -- to be stateless, wandering without a home or a national identity? Land and the possession of land also offers a certain level of security, perhaps one of the reasons human beings are particularly willing to be enslaved to this desire, as opposed to desires for possessions such as fame or wealth.

The desire for home and a homeland, or for land in general, may in fact have biological origins. For instance, the biologist Desmond Morris' discussion of "Territorial Behavior" offers a Darwinian caveat to Sadat's condemnation of the enslaving nature of land. Although Morris might acknowledge the potentially enslaving potential of a desire for land, Morris also states that the survival of human beings as a species lies in our primitive, primate's territorial urges for dominance and species self-preservation. The desire to possess the land for one's biological…

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