Where Did the Live and Let Live concept come from?

Where Did the Live and Let Live concept come from?


The concept of live and let live influences our social behaviors and ethical values. It refers to respect for other people’s beliefs, decisions, and ways of living. This concept promotes Peace, love, happiness, and understanding between people, regardless of their opinions, lifestyles, or backgrounds.

As per the Cambridge Dictionary “Live and Let Live” means that People should accept the way other people live and behave, especially if they do things differently.

In this article, we explore where the Live and Let Live concept originated in ancient civilizations and its presence in Historical texts and cultural practices.

Did the Roman Empire believe in the ‘Live and Let Live’ theory?

In the 2nd century when the Roman Empire was at its peak, extended from Scotland to the borders of Armenia and from the Sahara to the Euphrates. The empire covered an estimated 5 million square kilometers. The true pillars of this imperial system were the great Mediterranean urban centers (Carthage, Alexandria, and Antioch).

British Museum says that Slavery played a significant role in Roman society. Scholars estimate about 10% (but possibly up to 20%) of the Roman Empire’s population were enslaved. This would mean that 5 to 10 million of the 50 million Roman population (first century AD) were enslaved.

The Roman Empire was entirely based on slavery. Romans also traded enslaved people across and within the borders of Roman territories like Ireland, Scotland, Eastern European countries bordering the Rhine and Danube, the Black Sea area, the Arabian Peninsula, and Africa.

So, the Roman Empire didn’t believe in the Live and Let live theory, see the detailed article on the Harsh realities of Slavery in Ancient Rome.

Successful military campaigns provided many Roman slaves
Successful military campaigns provided many Roman slaves. Credits: https://roman-empire.net/society/roman-slaves/

What about Society in the Greek Empire:

In Ancient Greece, Slavery was a widely accepted common practice.

The slaves also appear to be mostly female in the Greek epic poem Odyssey, which was written by Homer and is attributed to him. These slaves served as servants and sometimes as concubines.

Michael’s Carlos Museum says how Millions of people confronted Slavery in the Greek Empire. They were considered the property of their Masters and could be sold off in the blink of an eye. They were denied basic civic rights and treated as animals.

So, Greek civilization had also not treated others as human beings.

Read a detailed article on the Slave Market of Greece, their Price list, and duties.

Men bid on women at a slave market in Greece
Men bid on women at a slave market in Greece. Credits: https://www.greecehighdefinition.com/

Did Abrahamic Religious Texts believe in this philosophy?

Then came the Holy Books, these religions of the Book are also called People of the Book.

After the fall of the Greek and Roman empires, they relied on religious books. All three of these books encourage the slavery of men through writing and violence. Books were used officially to enslave men all over the world until the nineteenth century.

In a society where the philosopher Socrates is poisoned and Jesus is crucified for speaking the truth. In a world where the Italian Astronomer Galileo, who said that the Earth is round and spins around the sun, is severely punished.

The societies of Europe and the Arab world couldn’t even imagine functioning without making people slaves.

Everybody who supported the Live and Let Live philosophy has paid a price.

The most ugly face of human civilization: Mongols

The death toll from Genghis Khan’s 13th-century conquests is estimated to be between 40 and 60 million, mostly in China (and what is now Iran), making it the deadliest mass murder in human history.

According to one estimate, 11% of the global population was killed during or immediately after the Mongol invasions.

Read the detailed article on destruction under the Mongols.

The Mongol Empire, Genghis to Kublai Khan
The Mongol Empire, Genghis to Kublai Khan. Credits: www.ck12.org/ Created by: Karen L

What about the Turk and Arab world?

In the Arab world, the task of cleaning latrines was mainly done by Ethiopians and Yemenis, who are still considered untouchable today. They are referred to as Al-Akhdam. If you read the history of Al-Akhdam, you will find that they were originally Christians but were defeated by the Arabs in war.

Taimur, Gauri, Ghaznavi, and the Mughals painted the pages of history in the Indian subcontinent with red color. Taimur is considered as the History’s one of the deadliest Monster. Here also you can not expect the Live and Let Live Philosophy from these barbarians.

Timur- One of History’s Biggest Monsters
Timur- One of History’s Biggest Monsters. Credits: https://historycollection.com/

Ethnic cleansing of original inhabitants in USA and Serbia:

Book-owning peoples engaged in war, looting, and conquest among themselves.

Spain and Portugal wiped out 90% of the Native population in the Americas before anyone else even got there. The native population in the Americas in 1492 was over 60 million, and it was only 6 million in 1600. Modern data suggest that by 1985 population size had reached 2.5 million.

The research by scientists at University College London found that European colonization of the Americas killed so many it cooled Earth’s climate. Historians have called this death era as Little Ice Age.

Wherever the Portuguese, Spanish, or English arrived and could subjugate, they wiped out the entire population.

Countries like Germany and Italy also enslaved people, and even today, the Slavic country of Russia is known as Serbia. The word “serf” comes from the Old French word serf “servant, slave”, from the Latin “servum” meaning “slave”.

Deaths in European wars of religion:

When England’s King Henry decided to divorce his wife, he established a new faith distinct from Roman Catholicism, known as Protestantism.

Subsequently, Protestants and Roman Catholics began to clash with each other in the 16th and 17th centuries. Which is referred to as the European wars of religion.

When the Protestant English arrived in India, the Roman Catholics (French and Portuguese) were engaged in looting and riots. Protestant English couldn’t conceive of any system running without enslaving people.

Small Recap of human slavery and killing History:

Till now, we studied that, Human slavery has been around us since ancient times. From the Roman Empire to the Greek Empire, from the British Empire to the Arabian world, humanity has been seen as an animal rather than a human being.

Mongols and Taimur constructed towers made of millions of human skulls. Meanwhile, England, Spain, and Portugal carried out ethnic cleansing of the native inhabitants in the Americas and the Indian subcontinent. And this condition remained the same until a century ago.

Just a few decades ago, Europe was persecuting and expelling the Jewish community. At the same time, the Parsis were being persecuted and exterminated in present-day Iran. In the twentieth century, the Hindus, the Sikhs, and the Kashmiri Hindus in Pakistan and Kashmir were ethnically wiped out without anyone noticing.

Then Where Did the ‘Live and Let Live’ concept come from?

In such a scenario, the question arises here, can we expect them to uphold values like “Live and let live”?

Which civilization’s people have never hated others based on religion, skin color, or beliefs? So, which civilization has never attacked or never enslaved others?

Let’s Check.. 

In a world where the original inhabitants of Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand were nearly wiped out, the original inhabitants of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are still alive today. It’s not strange, it’s the beauty of Dharma and their culture which spread Peace Love, and Happiness.

See the Original Inhabitants of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

When Jews were being killed and driven away all over the world, India was one of those very rare societies where Jews never had to face prosecution and Hindu society accepted them as one of its own. This is something that anyone who visits Israel will tell you.

See the Mini Isreal in India


Parsi community is the original inhabitants of Iran, and when they were being persecuted and forced to flee, it was India that provided them with permission to reside and establish their religious places of worship on its land.

See the acceptance of the Parsi Community in India


The world’s oldest civilization has a code of conduct called “Be Human” which is considered to be the leading teaching. After performing the evening rituals in all the temples, they recite the following daily prayers:

May righteousness prevail, and may evil be destroyed.

There would be compassion towards all living beings.

May there be the well-being of the world.

The principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The whole world is a family) exists only in their religious philosophy. It is based on the concept of live and let live. Its inclusive nature and past examples of acceptance emphasize the importance of living together.

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