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Just finished reading his second discourse....
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You are currently reading a thread in /his/ - History & Humanities

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Just finished reading his second discourse. What are your thoughts on him and his works /his/? Was humanity better off in the state of nature? Is the idea of property really the root of our strife?
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I haven't read his works but I think it would be cool to talk with him about the pleasure that comes from being spanked by a cute girl.
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>>546546
Discussing the important things in life.
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Do a quick check on Rousseau's childhood.
You'll understand more about his ideas that way.
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>>546866
From what I understand he had some pretty shit luck regarding family and opportunities.
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>>546493
It's basically the earliest, most original, and most undiluted and concise explanation of the condition of modernity. Say what you will about the Revolution and the Terror he inspired, the guy was one of the smartest and most skillful people to ever hold a pen in the history of humanity.
I fucking love JJ.
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Notre Jean-Jacques national. He's very moving even in his excess. His theories are obsolet but played a role of major importance in the development of the modern world and then must be studied. Some aspects of his reflexions, like his insistance on the faculty of critical mind or the need to educate rightly the children, assure him to stay eternally remembered. Also, sort of exemplary life, not dumb as a saint's one but colored as a Lights Philosopher's one, full of contradictions, of intimate failures and of persecutions (real or fantasmed) by the powerfull.
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>>547367
What parts of his thought would you consider obsolete?

By the way Les Lumières is commonly translated as the Age of the Enlightenment.
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>>547379
The idealism that traverses his work : by exemple, while the idea of a social contract is still appealing, the fact that it's based on arbitrary principles of good and bad anchors it in the past. It's not particular to Rousseau and the most notable is that some other parts of his thought escape it. Marx got beyond this point.
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>>547440
OP here. I don't quite follow. Does the idea of the social contract categorize the participants into good and bad?
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>>547238
I completely agree, the guy was very smart. What makes you say that he specifically caused the bloodshed and terror?
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>>547440
Don't you think any association with some significant solidarity requires those notions?
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>>547458
Well there is a lot of writing about how his 'geometrical' rationalism and insistence on the coercive power of the General Will led to the excesses of the Revolution. Of course it's more complex than that, but the thesis does have a point.
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really smart and sensitive man, but he loved being spanked! (in Confessions)
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>>547470
So the idea of the General Will convinced people that revolution was inevitable?
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>>547494
I mean, who doesn't?
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>>547496
No, but according to said thesis it provided the intellectual, moral and constitutional basis for the radical regime of 1791-1794. See: "The People can do no wrong"
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>>547508
Cool stuff. Definitely will pick up that book in the future.
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>>547452
No, no, it's not the goal of it and not the terms either. But in the idea of the social contract it is necessary to define what is supposed to achieve the effort of passing such a contract. There takes place the arbitrary definition of general good, which is the goal of the social contract.
After Marx, we can say that establishing a generical (so, ideal) man hides the class divisions of society and the contradictory interests of the different social classes. In the case of Rousseau, it was the interests of the bourgeoisie (it was revolutionnary at the epoch, hence his personnal problems with various authorities).

>>547460
Why sharing the same interests wouldn't be sufficient ? A "social contract" doesn't need all this moral pageantry.
Also, there can't be a social contract where there is no shared interest : hence the necessity of coercion to maintain the cohesion of such society, hence the existence of State (that can be reduced to the use of the so-called legitimate violence, i.e. the organization of special bodies of armed men).
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>>547572
>Why sharing the same interests wouldn't be sufficient ? A "social contract" doesn't need all this moral pageantry.
>Also, there can't be a social contract where there is no shared interest : hence the necessity of coercion to maintain the cohesion of such society, hence the existence of State (that can be reduced to the use of the so-called legitimate violence, i.e. the organization of special bodies of armed men).
Well, but if every person in society would look only after his own private interest no real cooperation will be acquired. It's like in the Prisoner's Dilemma, you need some sort of coordinating body to keep everything from falling apart.
Anyway, regardless of that, Rousseau's point at least that when you become part of the citizen body you are subject to a higher form of reason. You are liberated from your merely egoistic interest (which is also emulative in nature and causes misery and conflict) and turn to the common good, which is also your own authentic good. The state/nation/authority/whatever is not just a means for public order, it's also a way to accomplish yourself. The stakes are entirely different for him. It's a very ambiguous idea to be sure, but a powerful one, and Rouseau's reasoning is very attractive.
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>>546493

I want to believe yes, but I can't. I'm a hopeless romanticist, though.
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>>547643
>you need some sort of coordinating body to keep everything from falling apart
I totally agree.
I disagree with your consequence : this coordinating body hasn't to be necessary a State. One flaw of the dilemma you're presenting resides in the existence of an obstacle preventing the required coordination. But some of the usefull teaching of this dilemma should be extracted from a reflexion about the origin and reason of this obstacle. Back to the start of the chain of consequences, we get to this question : are the own private interests of men necessary conflicting each other ? At this point, some will answer with moral, "nature of man", maybe religious beliefs. That's equally unfounded. All we can say, it's that today, technology makes possible the satisfaction of the material needs of each man on Earth. And still it's not the reality : there resides the fundamental political problem, the inegality between men. We can also see that the existing coordinating bodies tend to conserve this situation, not reverting it.

>The state/nation/authority/whatever is not just a means for public order, it's also a way to accomplish yourself.
We could call this coordinating body "State", if you want, or "trade-union", or "x" indifferently, but the words have a signification. In the current days, one difference between these organizations is the possession of the "regalian powers" (police and army), which belongs to the State, not the trade-union. It's in this aspect that I use the word "State".
So, the State would be a way to accomplish yourself, to establish a greater good to believe in, to change the behavior of men. Maybe... After all, this is confined to the level of the private person. But in order to speak about societies, it's irrelevant (and impossible) to consider each individual separately, in all its particularity. Moreover, one private doesn't have a direct influence on society, but an indirect one, through the social class he belongs to, following the...
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>>547848
...shared or opposed interests of each. The interests of a person are numerous and of various nature. The ones related to the satisfaction of the vital needs interest us, because that's what the society is about : organizing the production of goods.
Then, if you say that the man need to belong to a State to accomplish himself, you firstly suppose that this ideal man exists over the economical divisions inside this State, and secondly you suppose that accomplishing itself is a thing. There lies the absolute belief that it is good or bad to act in a way or another.
At the contrary, in the communist utopia, it is supposed that the division of work doesn't involve economical differences anymore and that the needs of everyone are satisfied. Then, the coercion isn't necessary anymore. In fact, we could say that the social contract is still present, but contrarily of Rousseau, the actor of this contract isn't anymore an ideal subject, but a real one.

Of course, the problem of reaching such situation remains and leads to more practical and urgent reflexions. This is the question of the socialist stage of the communist revolution, also called the proletarian dictature, where a State still exists to exerce coercion.
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Wasn't JJR kind of a garbage human being in his personal life
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>>547985
He did herbalism and musicology, among other things, in his free time.
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>>547985
Each time he had a baby he would drop them at the local monastery, which happened like five times. France/Switzerland is crawling with Rousseau's bastards apparently. Not that it prevented him from ragging on about the importance of family life in education of course.
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>>547960
>At the contrary, in the communist utopia, it is supposed that the division of work doesn't involve economical differences anymore and that the needs of everyone are satisfied. Then, the coercion isn't necessary anymore. In fact, we could say that the social contract is still present, but contrarily of Rousseau, the actor of this contract isn't anymore an ideal subject, but a real one.
This is an important point. I think that Rousseau begins with the division of labor in the economic sense, which is the cause of all troubles, misery, poverty, etc. But his solution isn't to suppress it directly or to reconstruct the economy, but rather to transcend it by means of politics. In other words, he substitutes (or rather supplements) the unequal economic division of labor with an egalitarian political one.
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>>550263
>I think that Rousseau begins with the division of labor in the economic sense, which is the cause of all troubles, misery, poverty, etc.
which shows how rationalist, therefore miserable, is rousseau. those hedonistic people do not question their thesis of ''everybody's desires must be satisfied'' which leads once more to a sterility once you try to formalize this into a social structure. the best part is that they wish to impose their hedonism on others and still manage to whine when people do what those call misery/poverty.
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>>550456
Well, for Rousseau misery originates from the very fact of living in society, which leads to comparison and competition with others and therefore to envy. People fight over bullshit, that is his point. It's something which is simply inevitable when you get more than two people together.
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Hobbes was right
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Anti social man, does not getting along well with anyone, makes new enemies every place he comes, Therese cucked him with Boswell.
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