Live and let live is a principle of tolerance and freedom. This was the motto of the Habsburg Monarchy, perhaps the most influential family in the medieval and early modern history of Europe. The House of Habsburg held the throne of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation from 1440-1740 and 1765-1806. They also produced kings, emperors or regional rulers for Austria, Austria-Hungary, Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia, Galicia, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Netherlands and Italy. The following are common interpretations of this principle.
ToleranceThe Habsburg Monarchy ruled over the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. This was a vast and complex multi-ethnic region in Western and Central Europe. The principle of live and let live was designed to produce peace and civility in an Empire with multiple ethnic groups, peoples, minorities, religions, cultures and languages. This would call for a multicultural society where peoples retain their own culture but cooperate as a unified society.
FreedomLive and let live is referenced in a 1622 legal journal entitled Ancient Law‐Merchanti by Gerard de Malynes. It refers to the phase as being an ancient Dutch proverb. As a legal principle, live and let live was adopted in support of the economic freedoms of the merchant class. This can be extended to any freedom as the basis of freedom is to live as you see fit and allow others to do the same.
HumilityThe origin of live and let live is likely the ancient teachings of the religion Jainism. Specifically, the phrase "Live and let live. Love all - Serve all" is attributed to the spiritual leader Mahavira from the 6th century BC. In this context, it may be viewed as a call to humility. For example, working on your own faults before aggressively calling out the failings of others.
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ReferencesJain, DuliChand. "English version of" Baghawan Mahavir ki Vani"–Thus Spake Lord Mahavir." Chennai, Sri (1998).Malynes, Gerard de. "1622. Lex Mercatoria: or, the Ancient Law-Merchant."
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