In his book A Discourse on Inequality, Jean- Jacques Rousseau turns to the state of nature in search of the real “essence” of man. What made humans to be humans? Rousseau is trying to determine the prodigious events, such as the acquisition of knowledge and errors, the mutations that took place in the constitution of the body, and the constant impact of the passions that eventually led to the separation of man between the state of nature and society (67). He describes how as time change, humanity change as well. He figures that if by first looking into the origin of man, it can lead to the “source of inequality among men” and the unnatural ways man has evolved to become (67).
According to Rousseau, in the state of nature, man resembles the image of a savage. The human animal does not have a language or self awareness. Man simply dispersed among the beasts by imitating and assimilating their instincts for his own self preservation, since nature treats its creatures the same as “the Law of Sparta treated the children of its citizens: it makes those who are well constituted strong and robust [while] makes the others die” (81-82). As well, nature takes care of its own species, with no need for any remedies or of any physician to restore a broken bone, or any medication that only intoxicates the body (85). In the state of nature, the solitary savage man is not conscious of its own “self conscience” he simply lives in the present moment in desire for food, shelter, sex, sleep and protection against any predators (89-90).
The first event that led man out of the state of nature was the creation of technology. When man began to be conscious of his surroundings, the height of the tre...
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...ture works on its own, providing all the necessities its creatures depend on, then the nature of man was to become unnatural. This then concludes that state of nature never existed, and it “was necessary for men to make much progress, to acquire much industry and knowledge, to transmit and increase it from age to age, before arriving at this final stage of the state of nature”(109).
In contradiction with the denotation of the word “progression,” Rousseau argues that man’s progression fell into misery. The equilibrium between man and the state of nature fell apart once man begin to progress into civilization. However, those factors succeeded in improving human reason while at the same time worsening the human species, making man wicket, yet making him sociable; at the end it carried man and the world from its primitive state to the current state man now is (107).
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