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Discourse on the Origin of Inequality Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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“The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“The extreme inequality of our ways of life, the excess of idleness among some and the excess of toil among others, the ease of stimulating and gratifying our appetites and our senses, the over-elaborate foods of the rich, which inflame and overwhelm them with indigestion, the bad food of the poor, which they often go withotu altogether, so hat they over-eat greedily when they have the opportunity; those late nights, excesses of all kinds, immoderate transports of every passion, fatigue, exhaustion of mind, the innumerable sorrows and anxieties that people in all classes suffer, and by which the human soul is constantly tormented: these are the fatal proofs that most of our ills are of our own making, and that we might have avoided nearly all of them if only we had adhered to the simple, unchanging and solitary way of life that nature ordained for us. ”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Peoples once accustomed to masters are not in a condition to do without them. If they attempt to shake off the yoke, they still more estrange themselves from freedom, as, by mistaking for it an unbridled license to which it is diametrically opposed, they nearly always manage, by their revolutions, to hand themselves over to seducers, who only make their chains heavier than before.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying 'this is mine', and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“It is reason which breeds pride and reflection which fortifies it; reason which turns man inward into himself; reason which separates him from everything which troubles or affects him. It is philosophy which isolates a man, and prompts him to say in secret at the sight of another suffering: 'Perish if you will; I am safe.' No longer can anything but dangers to society in general disturb the tranquil sleep of the philosopher or drag him from his bed. A fellow-man may with impunity be murdered under his window, for the philosopher has only to put his hands over his ears and argue a little with himself to prevent nature, which rebels inside him, from making him identify himself with the victim of the murder. The savage man entirely lacks this admirable talent, and for want of wisdom and reason he always responds recklessly to the first promptings of human feeling.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“I can discover nothing in any mere animal but an ingenious machine, to which nature has given senses to wind itself up, and guard, to a certain degree, against everything that might destroy or disorder it.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind
“Such is the pure movement of nature prior to all reflection. Such is the force of natural pity, which the most depraved mores still have difficulty destroying, since everyday one sees in our theaters someone affected and weeping at the ills of some unfortunate person, and who, were he in the tyrant's place, would intensify the torments of his enemy still more; [like the bloodthirsty Sulla, so sensitive to ills he had not caused, or like Alexander of Pherae, who did not dare attend the performance of any tragedy, for fear of being seen weeping with Andromache and Priam, and yet who listened impassively to the cries of so many citizens who were killed everyday on his orders. Nature, in giving men tears, bears witness that she gave the human race the softest hearts.] Mandeville has a clear awareness that, with all their mores, men would never have been anything but monsters, if nature had not given them pity to aid their reason; but he has not seen that from this quality alone flow all the social virtues that he wants to deny in men. In fact, what are generosity, mercy, and humanity, if not pity applied to the weak, to the guilty, or to the human species in general. Benevolence and even friendship are, properly understood, the products of a constant pity fixed on a particular object; for is desiring that someone not suffer anything but desiring that he be happy?”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Now it is easy to perceive that the moral part of love is a factitious sentiment, engendered by society, and cried up by the women with great care and address in order to establish their empire, and secure command to that sex which ought to obey.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“The first sentiment of man was that of his existence, his first care that of preserving it.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“In fact, the real source of all those differences, is that the savage lives within himself, whereas the citizen, constantly beside himself, knows only how to live in the opinion of others; insomuch that it is, if I may say so, merely from their judgment that he derives the consciousness of his own existence.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind
“It is difficult for an education in which the heart is involved to remain forever lost.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Political writers argue in regard to the love of liberty with the same philosophy that philosophers do in regard to the state of nature; by the things they see they judge of things very different which they have never seen, and they attribute to men a natural inclination to slavery, on account of the patience with which the slaves within their notice carry the yoke; not reflecting that it is with liberty as with innocence and virtue, the value of which is not known but by those who possess them, though the relish for them is lost with the things themselves. I know the charms of your country, said Brasidas to a satrap who was comparing the life of the Spartans with that of the Persepolites; but you can not know the pleasures of mine.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“...an animal, at the end of a few months, is what it will be all its life; and its species, at the end of a thousand years, is what it was in the first of those thousand years. Why is man alone subject to becoming an imbecile?”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Though it may be the peculiar happiness of Socrates and other geniuses of his stamp, to reason themselves into virtue, the human species would long ago have ceased to exist, had it depended entirely for its preservation on the reasonings of the individuals that compose it." Par 1, 36”
Rousseau, Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes
“But in some great souls, who consider themselves as citizens of the world, and forcing the imaginary barriers that separate people from people...”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“In fact, the real source of all thosedifferences, is that the savage lives within himself, whereas thecitizen, constantly beside himself, knows only how to live in theopinion of others; insomuch that it is, if I may say so, merely fromtheir judgment that he derives the consciousness of his own existence.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind
“The first man, who, after enclosing a piece of ground, took it into his head to say, "This is mine," and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Politiek onderscheid leidt noodzakelijkerwijs tot onderscheid tussen de burgers. De toenemende ongelijkheid tussen het volk en zijn leiders doet zich weldra ook voelen tussen de individuen, en neemt naar gelang de hartstochten, talenten en omstandigheden duizend gedaanten aan.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Het is heel moeilijk iemand tot gehoorzaamheid te brengen die niet zélf zoekt te bevelen. Ook met het handigste beleid slaagt men er niet in mensen te onderwerpen die slechts vrij willen zijn.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“ The spectacle of nature, by growing quite familiar to him, becomes at last equally indifferent. It is constantly the same order, constantly the same revolutions; he has not sense enough to feel surprise at the sight of the greatest wonders; and it is not in his mind we must look for that philosophy, which man must have to know how to observe once, what he has every day seen." Jean Jacques Rousseau, On the Inequality among Mankind, Ch. 1, 20.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Government in its infancy had no regular and permanent form. For want of a sufficient fund of philosophy and experience, men could see no further than the present inconveniences, and never thought of providing remedies for future ones, but in proportion as they arose.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“It is pity in which the state of nature takes the place of laws, morals and virtues, with the added advantage that no one there is tempted to disobey its gentle voice.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Social man lives always outside himself; he knows how to live only in the opinion of others, it is, so to speak, from their judgement alone that he derives the sense of his own existence.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“الواقع يقضي بأنني إذا كنتُ لمزمًا بألَّا أصنع أيَّ سوءٍ لمثيلي فذلك لأنه كائنٌ ذو إحساسٍ أكثر من أن يكون ذا عقل, وبما أن صفةَ الإحساس مشتركةٌ بين الحيوان والإنسان, فإن من الواجب أن تَمْنَحَ أحدَهما, على الأقل, حَقَّ عدم معاملته بسوءٍ من قِبَل الآخر على غير جَدْوَى.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“The imagination which causes so many ravages among us, never speaks to the heart of savages" Pt.1, 41”
Rousseau, Discours sur l'origine et les fondements de l'inégalité parmi les hommes
“From this moment there would be no question of virtue or morality; for despotism cui ex honesto nulla est spes, wherever it prevails, admits no other master; it no sooner speaks than probity and duty lose their weight and blind obedience is the only virtue which slaves can still practice.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“But if the abberations of foolish youth made me forget suc wise lessons for a time,I have the happiness to sense at last that whatever the inclination one may have toward vice,it is difficult for an education in which the heart is involved to remain forever lost.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Since nothing is less stable among men than those external relationships which chance brings about more often than wisdom, and which are called weakness or power, wealth or poverty, human establishments appear at first glance to be based on piles of shifting sand.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“Het nietsontziende despotisme van de huidige maatschappij heeft volstrekt niets van doen met de zachtaardige gezagsuitoefenng van een vader, die meer gericht is op het voordeel van degeen die gehoorzaamt dan op het nut voor degeen die beveelt; dat krachtens de natuurwet de vader slechts zolang het gezag over het kind heeft als het kind zijn bijstand nodig heeft, dat zij daarna op gelijke voet komen en het kind volstrekt onafhankelijk wordt van zijn vader.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
“La extrema desigualdad en el modo de vivir, el exceso de ociosidad en unos y de trabajo en otros, la facilidad de excitar y de satisfacer nuestros apetitos y nuestra sensualidad, los alimentos tan apreciados de los ricos, que los nutren de substancias excitantes y los colman de indigestiones; la pésima alimentación de los pobres, de la cual hasta carecen frecuentemente, carencia que los impulsa, si la ocasión se presenta, a atracarse ávidamente; las vigilias, los excesos de toda especie, los transportes inmoderados de todas las pasiones, las fatigas y el agotamiento espiritual, los pesares y contrariedades que se sienten en todas las situaciones, los cuales corroen perpetuamente el alma: he ahí las pruebas funestas de que la mayor parte de nuestros males son obra nuestra, casi todos los cuales hubiéramos evitado conservando la manera de vivir simple, uniforme y solitaria que nos fue prescrita por la naturaleza. Si ella nos ha destinado a ser sanos, me atrevo casi a asegurar que el estado de reflexión es un estado contra la naturaleza, y que el hombre que medita es un animal degenerado.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discurso sobre el origen de la desigualdad entre los hombre

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