Rousseau And Human Nature Essay

Rousseau And Human Nature Essay-9
People did not have the drive to acquire more possessions.There was plenty to go around, an absence of reliance on others, and no real need for extensive social interaction.

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Evil, greed, and selfishness emerged as human society began to develop.

As people formed social institutions, they developed vices.

For Rousseau, civil society resulted from the degeneration of a basically good state of nature. He believed that the state of nature changed because it was internally unstable.

For example, because talents were not distributed equally among persons, the balance that existed in the state of nature was disturbed and with inequality came conflicting interests.

Because man is by nature a saint, it must be the corrupting influence of society that is responsible for the misconduct of the individual.

The fundamental problem for Rousseau is not nature or man but instead is social institutions.However, there did exist an unreflective sympathy and general compassion toward others that was indiscriminate and not based on merits.In the state of nature egoism was absent and compassion was present.Rousseau saw compassion for the undeserving in particular and for mankind in general to be the greatest of the virtues.He regarded contempt of another, which could lead to hurt feelings, as a vice and as always bad. He felt that a proper society had no place for blame, criticism, judgment, comparison with others, and the distinction of worth among men.Rousseau observed that although life was peaceful in the state of nature, people were unfulfilled.They needed to interact in order to find actualization.Rousseau asserts that man's natural goodness has been depraved by the progress he has made and the knowledge he has acquired.He proceeded to attack the Age of Reason by emphasizing feeling, the opposite of reason, as the key to reality and the future.Civil society thus was born when people began fencing off their property, claiming that it was theirs, and finding that other people agreed with them.Depravity is due to the corruption of man's essence by civilization.


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