Rousseau1 Essay

This essay has a total of 828 words and 4 pages.


Man's transition from the state of nature into society is a topic that mercy, and pity. He
helped his fellow man and animals every chance he got whenever he saw them hurt, as long
as he saw no threat to himself in helping them. "Nature, in giving men tears, bears
witness that she gave the human race the softest hearts." Man was initially a happy
hermit. He lived by himself. He was independent and lived off the fruits of the land. He
ate when he wanted, he drank when he wanted, and he slept whenever and wherever. He didn't
have to worry about the food and water supplies because they were bountiful. Man basically
had unlimited resources. When man encountered fierce creatures, he could choose whether to
flee and escape the animal by climbing a tree or he could fight the animal with a stick or
branch. Gradually, fierce creatures tended to stay away from man because they learned that
he was not worth all the work and risk they took to get a meal. Hence, man had no natural
predators and was essentially carefree. Once in a while, man had chance sexual encounters
with woman. Once both their sexual needs were satisfied, they both parted. Man had no
memory and never remembered which fruits he ate, which streams he drank from, and which
women he had had sexual experiences with. Therefore, he was a man with no preference, no
tastes, and all of his experiences were satisfying and made him contented. He never had
any motive to commit suicide, unlike society today where suicides are common. To make his
life easier, savage man invented tools. He gathered strong sticks, branches, and stones to
use as weapons against fierce creatures. One way or another, man discovered the many uses
of fire and found ways to duplicate it. This same type of ingenuity led to man building
crude huts to live in as opposed to sleeping under a tree or in a cave, exposed to the
elements. According to Rousseau, this was the turning point in savage man's history where
the first sort of property was introduced. This would be the start of a perpetual conflict
between man and other men. But according to Rousseau, savage man did not have memory. He
was not capable of remembering where he had built the hut, or how to produce fire. Also,
why would he want to build a hut? Man is intrinsically tough. Small discomforts such as
rain while he was sleeping was not such an obstacle as it is among today's man. Man was
fine eating his meat raw and uncooked. According to Rousseau, he did not have preference
or tastes, so why would he want cooked food? These inconsistencies speak ill of Rousseau's
arguments. "The first developments of the heart were the effect of a new situation that
united the husbands and wives, fathers and children in one common habitation. The habit of
living together gave rise to the sweetest sentiments known to man: conjugal love and
paternal love."

Why would there be "husbands and wives?" According to Rousseau, savage man did not have
memory and didn't even have the capacity to remember who he had had sexual intercourse
with. The sexual bonds between savage man and woman were chance and brief, driven only by
sexual lust and natural urges. Man did not have concern for his children. He never saw
them. Woman took care of the children until they were old enough to fend for themselves,
and then she abandoned them. Given these conditions, why would man, woman, and children
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