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Quote of The Day Jean- Jacques Rousseau:" Nature Never...

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Uploaded on May 24, 2011

Quote of the day.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 -- 2 July 1778) was a major philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy heavily influenced the French Revolution, as well as the American Revolution and the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.
His novel, Émile: or, On Education is a seminal treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. His sentimental novel, Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse, was of great importance to the development of pre-romanticism[1] and romanticism in fiction.[2] Rousseau's autobiographical writings: his Confessions, which initiated the modern autobiography, and his Reveries of a Solitary Walker were among the pre-eminent examples of the late 18th-century movement known as the Age of Sensibility, featuring an increasing focus on subjectivity and introspection that has characterized the modern age. His Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and his On the Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought and make a strong case for democratic government and social empowerment.
Rousseau was also a successful composer and made important contributions to music as a theorist. During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophes among members of the Jacobin Club. He was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death.
In common with other philosophers of the day, Rousseau looked to a hypothetical State of Nature as a normative guide.
Rousseau criticized Hobbes for asserting that since man in the "state of nature . . . has no idea of goodness he must be naturally wicked; that he is vicious because he does not know virtue". On the contrary, Rousseau holds that "uncorrupted morals" prevail in the "state of nature" and he especially praised the admirable moderation of the Caribbeans in expressing the sexual urge[18] despite the fact that they live in a hot climate, which "always seems to inflame the passions".[19] This has led Anglophone critics to erroneously attribute to Rousseau the invention of the idea of the noble savage, an oxymoronic expression that was never used in France[20] and which grossly misrepresents Rousseau's thought.[21] The expression, "the noble savage" was first used in 1672 by British poet John Dryden in his play The Conquest of Granada.[citation needed]
Rousseau wrote that morality was not a societal construct, but rather "natural" in the sense of "innate", an outgrowth from man's instinctive disinclination to witness suffering, from which arise the emotions of compassion or empathy. These were sentiments shared with animals, and whose existence even Hobbes acknowledged.
Contrary to what his many detractors have claimed, Rousseau never suggests that humans in the state of nature act morally; in fact, terms such as "justice" or "wickedness" are inapplicable to prepolitical society as Rousseau understands it. Morality proper, i.e., self restraint, can only develop through careful education in a civil state. Humans "in a state of Nature" may act with all of the ferocity of an animal. They are good only in a negative sense, insofar as they are self-sufficient and thus not subject to the vices of political society. In fact, Rousseau's natural man is virtually identical to a solitary chimpanzee or other ape, such as the orangutan as described by Buffon; and the "natural" goodness of humanity is thus the goodness of an animal, which is neither good nor bad. Rousseau, a deteriorationist, proposed that, except perhaps for brief moments of balance, at or near its inception, when a relative equality among men prevailed, human civilization has always been artificial, creating inequality, envy, and unnatural desires.
In Rousseau's philosophy, society's negative influence on men centers on its transformation of amour de soi, a positive self-love, into amour-propre, or pride. Amour de soi represents the instinctive human desire for self-preservation, combined with the human power of reason. In contrast, amour-propre is artificial and encourages man to compare himself to others, thus creating unwarranted fear and allowing men to take pleasure in the pain or weakness of others.[citation needed] Rousseau was not the first to make this distinction. It had been invoked by Vauvenargues, among others.
In Discourse on the Arts and Sciences Rousseau argues that the arts and sciences have not been beneficial to humankind, because they arose not from authentic human needs but rather as a result of pride and vanity. Moreover, the opportunities they create for idleness and luxury have contributed to the corruption of man. He proposed that the progress of knowledge had made governments more powerful and had crushed individual liberty; and he concluded that material progress had actually undermined the possibility of true friendship by replacing it with jealousy, fear, and suspicion.

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