Book Club Questions

The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril

1) Do you have a better understanding of nonviolent conflict after reading The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril? Were you surprised to learn that nonviolent efforts to relieve violent oppression have been almost twice as successful as violent insurgencies the last hundred years? Can you see yourself participating in a nonviolent campaign if you concluded that the normal institutional channels were no longer working for the people?

2) What do you think of Étienne de la Boétie’s idea that servitude is voluntary—in other words, that tyrants need our cooperation to oppress us? Do you think his ideas could apply to a global empire encompassing most of the world, or that they are no longer relevant?

3) In The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril, the author identifies three popular myths he feels are being promoted to manipulate people into accepting perpetual war as normal. Were you aware these beliefs were incorrect? Do you agree that they are? If so, do you feel we have an obligation to expose these myths and withdrawal our cooperation from people promoting them?

4) What do you think of Luke’s idea to be a bridge between the academy and the real world? Or, do you even see a distinction between those domains? Do you have any ideas on how we can better integrate the knowledge acquired in the academy with the experience garnered through daily life?

5) Jo’s sexual problem: were you aware that a significant percentage of women find post-menopausal intercourse painful? Did you know it was treatable? How do you feel Jo and Luke handled the situation? Did the erotic element in The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril, add to or distract from the story? Would you like to see similar themes—where explicit sex is used both to stimulate and inform the reader—in future books?

6) The author switched points of view back and forth between Jo and Luke within scenes in The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril. Do you feel this technique added to or distracted from the story?

7) What do you think about the idea of human sovereignty—the right of humanity to have the ultimate say in how the world is run? Is this feasible? If not now, do you think it ever will be? What do you think about bringing together humanity’s greatest thinkers to create a People’s Global Mandate (PGM) to frame general guidelines for how governments and corporations conduct our business? If we did this, do you think the PGM could be enforced through a decentralized international nonviolent campaign?

8) What do you think about the ideas on human development brought forth in The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril? Do you believe people can continue to develop more complex thought as they age? If so, do you think that allows them to move past the superficial differences that have defined humanity in the past and instead embrace our deeper commonalities? If people can continue to develop as they age, and if age (time on planet) is required to reach certain levels of thought, should we rely more on our elders for guidance?

9) In The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril, Luke is in search of his unique contribution—that one thing that based on his matrix of genetics, personality, cultural experience, environmental factors, physical make up, etcetera—that he can best contribute to the world. Do you believe we each have a unique contribution to offer the world? What do you think about Luke’s explanation that the immortal soul results from the melding of the perfect and eternal personality of Spirit with the partial and mortal personality of the individual?

10) In The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril, Luke questions the traditional idea of enlightenment (reached upon the realization of oneness), and suggests that holding to that partial view can result in inertia and an ineffectual approach to life. Instead, Luke describes enlightenment as being first the understanding of oneness, and then the subsequent move to the realization of our uniqueness. Do you see a contradiction between the two?

11) When you think about change, in this case global transformation, do you believe the end is conditioned by the means, or they are separate and distinct from one another? In other words, do you think we could use violence to create a less violent world?

12) Are you looking forward to a sequel to The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril? Would you like to read other writings by Robert A. Kezer? Will you recommend The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril, to other readers?

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People Power, Civil Resistance, and Social Transformation: An Introduction to Nonviolent Conflict
The Boétie Legacy, and a World in Peril
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