Thoughts on: Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Review of Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Now Rousseau is getting interesting! Imagine yourself a man of intellect, before the Darwinian theory, speculating about man in his naturals state before the burden of civilization was put on his/her shoulders.
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In Rousseau vision, natural man was a carefree and happy loner, peacefully roaming the woods. Picking apples to eat from the trees as he went, slept when tired, and running in to a specimen of the opposite sex- they lay. A existence without a worry and a world of abundance.
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We are so used to the comparison of early mans conditions to chimpanzees that it becomes absolutely fascinating to hear another version of the story.
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📝 Sex, yes please? If men and women met in the forest, they had sex and then walked their separate ways. The women raised the child until it was old enough to take care of itself and he/she went of on their own; another noble savage free to roam alone in peace and fulfillment.
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📝 Inequality comes when man exits his natural state and come together with other people and starts to compare himself to the in terms of skill and possessions.
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🔥 4 ROUSSEAU-OIDS: 🔥
🥖 – Argued for a return to breastfeeding in an era where the activity was outsourced by the well to do. “Breastfeed, and morals will come by themselves” was his message.
🥖 – Emotions rather than deeds! Father of romanticism.
🥖 – The noble savage. Rousseau, like many people during the age of discovery, was fascinated by the native tribes found throughout the world. He also realized what civilization did to these “savages”.
🥖 – He invented the word “bourgeoisie”
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⚖️ VERDICT:
This book is much more interesting than The Social Contract; more entertaining, much less sober, and a certainty more naive!
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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:
I’m more of a Hobbesian view as it stands right now. Rousseau’s Noble Savage with it carefree existence sounds too utopian to me. Life in its natural state described as “nasty, brutish and short” sound more plausible. Maybe I’m just having a bad day? Also, I haven’t read Hobbes (yet!)
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3/5
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⁉️Rousseau or Hobbes?⁉️

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