Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28/6/1712 -2/7/78) - Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains.


" MAN was born free, and he is everywhere in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater than they. How did this transformation come about? I do not know. How can it be made legitimate? That question I believe I can answer.
If I were to consider only force and the effects of force, I should say: 'So long as a people is constrained to obey, and obeys, it does well;  but as soon as it can shake off the yoke,  and shakes it off, it does better; for since it regains its freedom by the same right as that which removed it, a people is either justified  in taking back its freedom, or there is no justifying those who took it away.' But the social order is a sacred right which serves as a basis for all other rights. And as it is not a natural right, it must be founded on covenants. The problem is to determine what those covenants are. "

The powerful opening lines from  the social contract,  the brilliant poltical treatise  which earned the authoand philosopher exile from his home  in Geneva and a place in the Pantheon in Paris, that went on to inspire the French Revolution. In it he wrote  that man is naturally good, but becomes corrupted by the pernicious influence  of human society and institutions. He preached that mankind  could be improved  by returning to nature and living a natural life of peace with his neighbours and himself.
Mankind must learn to break the chains that attach themselves to our lives.


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