The Opposite of Autonomy

This morning, a topic of Sunday brunch conversation concerned determining the opposite of such words as “autonomy” and “abandonment.” My friend and I wanted equally precise and forceful words that denote the antidotes to these terms without these being too vague or all-encompassing.

In considering this, I came upon not a word, but a paragraph that I do consider to quite aptly describe the opposite of autonomy. And since it took an entire piece for Marina Keegan to beautifully explore “the opposite of loneliness“, we can certainly afford to take a look at this paragraph from Paul Quenon’s book, In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk’s Memoir.

This is a book I read a few years ago that I find myself recommending to more and more friends often these days.

It is in the epilogue, where the author is describing what he has found monastery life to be, that I consider somewhat of an exposition of the opposite of autonomy:

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