Thursday, December 28, 2017

Rousseau

 Digging a little deeper into Temet Nosce, I discovered Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, so I decided to add it to my library.  As far as I can tell, it matches up beautifully with my own discourse on having died at birth, but we shall see how primitive he really gets with it.  The Greeks, as much as they didn't understand science and biology, they understood soul.  18th century Europe only really understood soul as the Greeks defined it, and how philosophy and religion had since bastardized it.

"Because we are free, we may always change our minds, change our habits, and change our social institutions.  We can, in principle, start over again.  Resisting those who would have us renounce 'the most precious' of our gifts, we can refuse to surrender our freedom--'the most noble of man's faculties.'"

That's from the intro by James Miller.

He goes on to describe an interaction between Rousseau and Voltaire, whom had been sent a copy of the discourse by the author, and the latter responded with an apparently famous letter which contained: "I have received, sir, your new book against the human race; for which I thank you.... No one has ever used so much intelligence to try to render us beasts.  When one reads your works, it stirs a desire to walk on all fours."... feeding my love for Voltaire, but also stirring my curiosity for Rousseau's point of view.  Like I said, I wonder how primitive he takes it, and if it is the purer primitive based on human nature, or the terrifying primitive they scare us with to justify society's idiocies and necessitate "civilization" as one of the greatest of all oxymorons.
"Not in depraved things but in those well oriented according to nature, are we to consider what is natural."  ~Aristotle, the heading quote.

"...since all the progress of the human species continually moves away from its primitive state, the more we accumulate new knowledge, the more we deprive ourselves of the means of acquiring the most important knowledge of all.  Thus, in a sense, it is by dint of studying man that we have rendered ourselves incapable of knowing him." ~ in the intro, elaborating on aforementioned inscription on the temple at Delphi.

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