Could you be happy as a slave?

I’m still working on grad school apps so I’m holding off on publishing my “real” posts, but a question came to mind this morning that I thought would be interesting to pose to my readers.

Much of modern advice is predicated on the idea that your current life situation is shitty, or at least, unsatisfactory, and that you will be happy if you can improve your external or material circumstances.

However, it appears as if most ancient religion and philosophy assumes that there is often little you can do to improve the external circumstances of your life. As a result, they provided wisdom that taught you how to live a good life regardless of your circumstances.

So, my question to you is: Do you think you (or anyone) could ever live a happy and meaningful life as a slave?

If not, do we have to assume that everyone who ever lived in a state of slavery, or equally horrid conditions, and didn’t escape it, lived sad and meaningless lives?

If you think you could be happy as a slave, how would you do it?

Feel free to leave your responses in the comment box or e-mail me directly at dale [at]