POLITICAL THEORY – Jean-Jacques Rousseau


POLITICAL THEORY – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Modern life is deeply attracted to the
idea of progress in the 18th century as European societies became ever richer
and more technological, the conventional view was that mankind was firmly set on
a positive trajectory from savagery and ignorance toward prosperity and
civilization. But there was at least one eighteen century philosopher who
violently disagreed and who continues to have very provocative things to say to
our own era. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born to an educated watchmaker in Geneva in 1712.
when he was 10 his father got into a legal dispute and the family was forced
to flee Geneva. From that point on Rousseau’s life was marked by deep
instability and isolation. As a young man who went to Paris and there was exposed
to the opulence and luxury that was the order of the day in Austin regime Paris.
It was a far cry from his birthplace of Geneva a city that was sober and deeply
opposed to luxury goods. Then one day in 1749 he read a copy of a newspaper, The
Mercure de France that contained an advert for an essay on the subject of whether
recent advances in arts and sciences have contributed to what was called the
“purification of morals” in other words was the world getting better? Rousseau experienced something of an
epiphany. It struck him that civilization and progress had not in fact improved
people. Instead they’d exacted a terrible destructive influence on the morality of
human beings who had once been good. Rousseau took this insight and turned it
into the central thesis of what became his celebrated discourse on the Arts and
Sciences. His argument was simple: Individuals had once been good and happy
but as people had emerged from their pre social state and join society they had
become plagued by vice and sin. In this work and its twin, The Discourse on the
Origins and Foundations of Inequality, Rousseau went on to sketch what it would
have been like at the beginning of history, an idyllic period that he
called “the state of nature.” A long time ago when men and women lived in forests and had never entered a shop or read a newspa per the philosopher pictured people more
easily understanding their own minds and so being drawn toward
essential features of a satisfied life, a love of a family, respect for nature, an awe at the beauty of
the universe, curiosity about others and a taste for music and simple
entertainments. The “state of nature” was moral and guided by spontaneous pity,
empathy for others and their suffering. So what was it about civilization that
Rousseau thought had corrupted people and led to moral degeneracy. Rousseau
claimed that the march toward civilization had awakened in people and
unhealthy form of self-love, amour-propre, he called it, something that was
artificial and centered around pride, jealousy, and vanity. Rousseau argued that
this destructive form of self love had emerged as people had moved into cities
and there had begun to compare themselves to others and created their
identities solely by reference to their neighbors. Civilized people had stopped
thinking about what they wanted and they felt and merely imitated other people,
entering into ruinous competitions for status and money and losing sight of
their own sensations. Rousseau is forever associated with a term “noble savage” because it was his work
that describe the innocence and morality of our ancestors and contrasted it with
modern decadence. At the time Rousseau was writing, European Society was fascinated
by the plight the native North American tribes. Reports of Indian society drawn
up in the 16th century had once described the Indians as materially
simple but psychologically very rich and interesting. Communities with small,
close-knit, egalitariam, religious, playful, and martial.
However within a few decades of the arrival of the Europeans the status
system of Indian society have been revolutionized through contact with a
technology and luxury of European industry. Indians now longed for guns
alcohol, beads, and mirrors Rates of suicide and alcoholism had risen, communities were fracturing, and factions were squabbling. The modern world had
ruined the lives of people who’d once lived happily in the “state of nature.” Rousseau’s
interest in natural goodness made him very interested in the idea, though not
quite the reality, of children. In 1762 he wrote Émile, or On Education, perhaps the
most successful book ever written about how to raise children. Rousseau suggested that
children were born naturally good and that the key to raising them was therefore always to prevent their corruption by society. This idea was widely influential.
Parents who had before this time seen their children as wicked or at best as
blank slates now viewed them as founts of wisdom and tried to give them a
childhood full of play and visits to forests and lakes. Rousseau became the
inventor of child-centered education. He was also a great proponent of
breastfeeding, declaring “Let mothers deign to nurse their children, morals will reform themselves, nature’s sentiments will be awakened in every heart and the state will be repeopled.” It was, he knew, a bit of hyperbole but its spurred a
wave of breastfeeding even among the wealthy who had long disdained the practice.
Artists rushed to paint and honor the new vogue for breastfeeding. Because Rousseau so
closely valued human beings in their original state, it followed that in the
novels he wrote, Rousseau also constantly celebrated intense feelings rather than
great deeds or social events. In his novel, Julie, written in 1761, Roussseau depicted
the excitement and anguish of an upper-class women caught in a love
triangle between her sensitive tutor and her boring but socially sanctioned
aristocratic match. Rousseau’s contemporaries might have seen Julie as
unwise and her feelings as a passing fancy, but Rousseau painted her love in a higher light. He urged us to see its grandeur, depth and honor. In his writings about
his own life, Rousseau was similarly romantic or, what one
might unkindly call, self-absorbed. In his famous Confessions, one of the first ever
autobiographies, Rousseau spend pages exploring his inner life: How frustrating
he found shopping, the surprising feeling of tenderness for his ex’s new partner, or
the joys of gardening.To him, these weren’t trivial or self-absorbed
topics, they were part of an important task: to show is like on the inside. “I have
conceived of a new genre of service to render to man,” he boasted, “to offer them
the faithful image of one amongst them in order for them to learn to know
themselves. Rousseau died in 1778 age 66. His reputation has continued to grow. He was
from beyond the grave one of the heroes of the French
Fevolution and he became an icon to a great many artists and writers of the
19th century. Rousseau can be considered as one of the founding figures of what we
now know as the Romantic Movement, an ideology responsible for valuing the
primitive over the civilized, the child over the adult

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100 thoughts on “POLITICAL THEORY – Jean-Jacques Rousseau”

  1. Nadia Sparkling says:

    can i use this as academin reference?

  2. Dar-Kunor's Journey says:

    Ah que bien, otro idiota que creía que los nativos eran la última coca-cola del desierto

  3. Kunal Gaurav says:

    Vasco Da Gama was an asshole, should have left India alone. Materially simple and psychologically rich. 😀

  4. Man of Destiny says:

    Could barely hear 👂

  5. Raturagutulei Moses says:

    The political science students of today are lucky to have such videos. If I had these in my time I would have fooking got A grades without having to spend hours reading thick books that written in such a way that is hard to understand today.

  6. Rick Meyer says:

    The state of Nature= High infant mortality, life expectancy of 35 years, zero care for mentally and physically disabled…sounds like paradise

  7. George Varnerin says:

    This man was a mirror of his society, i respect his honesty

  8. Rashad says:

    Did he have a religious view of life?

  9. Sir Nils Olav says:

    What I agree with Rousseau on: Mothers should be allowed to breast feed their infants
    What I disagree with Rousseau on: Everything else he had to say

  10. Vini Cardi says:

    I was hoping to see something related to Rousseau's Social Contract, meeh

  11. Linguistico says:

    Am I the only one watching these videos high as fuck and feels like he’s back in time?

  12. Linguistico says:

    And those maracas at the beginning are the shit!

  13. godwantsplastic says:

    There has always been sexual competition… All human conflict stems from this.

  14. godwantsplastic says:

    Just another variety of xtian apologetics.

  15. Lisaaa x says:

    Writes a book about how to raise children, gives away his own 5 children from birth

  16. Jonas says:

    Ahh yes, let's just leave out The Social Contract, his most important work where he imagines an ideal society that is build on complete obedience. To "ensure freedom", everyone is supposed to give up their freedom to form a collectivist, totalitarian state, lead by the Grand Legistlateur that has the duty to destroy dissidents. The Jacobins and their rule of terror was hugely influenced by Rousseau. But all of that would not fit your narrative, would it?

  17. brian' says:

    Hobbes had it right all along.

  18. Misty Rousseau says:

    And I’m related to him…. how?

  19. Samir says:

    Rousseau was not intelligent at all. His entire premise that uncivilized people (tribal peoples that had no written language, education, historical knowledge etc,) were peaceful and intelligent is incredibly false and all written accounts of tribal ethnic groups are proof of this. Look at what Julius Ceaser wrote of tribal Celtic people or Tribal Germanic people especially. They were Barbarians in the truest sense of the word. Primitive, ignorant, and incredibly violent and war-like.

  20. ntp 035 says:

    6:58 who are the guys on far left and far right?

  21. Ike Evans says:

    The concept of the "Noble Savage" is cute, but devoid of reality.  Rousseau got away with thinking this way because he never understood what was really going on in the Americas before the white man showed up.

  22. Natiman Alex says:

    Can you make video about pushkin

  23. SP says:

    I'd heard the Rousseau is the genesis of all the worst ideas being put forth in the modern world, this video convinced me..

  24. Fite-4-Ever says:

    does anyone else think of him as a proto-socialist?

  25. CountKilroy Graf says:

    Oh, what's so great about progress? It's a violent, penetrative act that scars whatever it reforms. What you call progress, I call the rape of the natural law.

  26. Blacksheep Bear says:

    Why did YouTube tell me this might be “inappropriate for some people?”

  27. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Why didn't you mentioned 'The social contract'

  28. N. Lidar says:

    Why the age restriction?


    Can we blame Rousseau for modern conservatism?

  30. Palzor Lepcha says:

    His thought does seem relevant today. We call it modern day but we seem to be more sick in the way we do things today.

  31. Xu Shwu says:

    rousseau on education bahahahahahahaha

  32. dʒeɪms says:

    ride the tiger

  33. K R says:

    That breastfeeding bit was interesting. I didn't realise that Rousseau had promoted it. It's always best to breastfeed, whenever possible. …Makes you wonder how he managed to be such an awful parent himself.

  34. Will says:

    Great on the discourses, not much is said about them, but how do you expect to teach people about Rousseau without talking about the Social Contract?

  35. مہخہتہصہر says:

    رجائآ ترجمه إلى العربي

  36. NEVER MIND says:

    It gave me knowledge thanks for this video

  37. Evan Embree says:

    Rousseau is like your aunt who talks about how safe, happy, and morally upright America was in the 1950’s, ignoring all of the issues of the time.

  38. Youness SAAIDI says:

    Thank you thank you

  39. Ethan Brasseur says:

    PeePee juice

  40. Roxanne says:

    the virgin rousseau vs. the chad voltaire

  41. Franklin Falco says:

    There has never been a group of people living in a pure state of nature without any culture.

  42. arbitrarysequence says:

    Youtube: "This video may be inappropriate for some users."

    I guess the AI filters don't much care for political philosophy?

  43. Spencer Francis says:

    If Rousseau's "Confessions" (AD 1782) is one of the first autobiographies, then what is Augustine's "Confessions" (AD 400).

  44. Stupid Gorilla says:

    Why is ur voice so boring

  45. Tate Hamilton says:

    (Native americans were in constant genocide between tribes)

  46. razumfrackle says:

    All Rousseau had to do was travel to one of the thousands of pre-technology Stone Age cultures that existed in his own time to realize his idealized notions about the 'noble savage' were crap, assuming he survived the experience without being eaten.

  47. nika kobaliani says:

    Why is this age restricted?

  48. Christine Jessica Reyes says:

    pls reply who are the inlightenment thinkers?

  49. generalnawaki says:

    so in answer to the native issue, ignorance is bliss.

  50. scared for life says:

    I came here to learn my family history and I wrote at least 15 paragraphs. Thank you

  51. Adam Carroll says:

    Rousseau reminds me a little bit of ovid or virgil from Roman times. "Teaching people to know themselves"

  52. Edward Cheetham says:

    This guy is a nut job.

  53. AduryanT says:

    Ok i know this is far off-topic, but why does Rosseau looks an awful lot like Justin Trudeau

  54. alex unger says:

    This is probably the worst video ever on Rousseau. The narrator mentioned everything about Rousseau but his most important and enduring idea: Social Contract. Either the narrator made a mistake in not mentioning it or did it deliberately for reasons I can't think of at the moment. And I do believe that this channel is definitely trying to put a spin of its own on various philosophers which they may arguably have the right to do so but is quite disingenuous and misleading.

  55. Eray Yılmaz says:

    türkçe altyazıyı kim hazırladıysa annesine teşekkür ediyorum

  56. antidepressant11 says:

    I blame Rouseau now. For all the screwed up idealistic ideologies that exist today. Especially in education. He was an anarchist in disguise. He promotes anarchy, selfishness and lack of responsibility. he seduced too many with his ideas.

  57. General Grievous says:

    Sir, could you speak english

  58. Jajel22 says:

    Lol this video is age restricted

  59. Rafi Nyx says:

    Why is this age-restricted?

  60. mariana cubillos says:

    this video has nothing bad

  61. Andra Barcan says:

    I had no idea that in the 18th century, the aristocracy and maybe the middle class were so distanced from "warmth" in their lifestyle (I had no idea that it was common for rich moms not to breastfeed their babies)! His ideas were great, because it is true that technology and urban life can distract people from the simple beauty of life.

  62. hazel says:

    Turkish translation also has trouble in a few videos. please correct?

  63. Dill Dough says:

    Natives have always been garbage. Way before they met a European

  64. Julian Terlecki says:

    I stand corrected, but didn't this 'great man', who professed a love of nature and family a hypocrite? I have read that he dumped his illegitimate children at the doorstep at government orphanages , which were a guaranteed death sentence at the time. ref. Paul Johnson ~ The Intellectuals.

  65. Kaemee Portillo-Reyes says:


  66. B H says:

    Why is this video marked "unsafe for some users" – #Censorship

  67. Aiman Rafi Mashudi is the best says:


  68. 0x404 says:

    Had a pop quiz on this guy today. I went into the bathroom and watched this video. Took the quiz and got an A-. Would've gotten an A if you discussed the social contract 😛

  69. Matteo Papola says:

    we are living naturally. As the nature of our people is to progress technology and art.

  70. Hans Vriend says:

    6:44 Does anyone know the Original French of this qoute?

  71. Nathan Fielure says:

    Did Rousseau discovered Confucianism on his own?

  72. Vaimast says:

    People are easy influenciable, this guy esa a real profesor

  73. VGO VGER says:

    Why is it that all of these philosophers seem a little out of touch?

  74. QJAndra says:

    This video was age restricted??????

  75. Tshewang Yelmo says:

    Kanye tho…

  76. Patrick Star says:

    Where's the piano and the hands at?

  77. Donde Merlin says:

    Joni-Jacki… are fabulous….absolutely fabulous!

  78. K. Theodos says:

    He concocted a philosophy built on the premise of his concocted fantasy of the past.

  79. Robert B. says:

    Yet another Troglodite! Humans are social animals. Our very survival depends upon membership, and interaction within our contemporary culture, and society! All this "Back to Nature" stuff is nonsense, unless it restricts itself to things like Yoga, diet, and jogging! His "State of Nature" is utter fantasy.

  80. baladev b. says:

    just as the Haredi Orthodox jews raises their child- best way

  81. Maria Callous says:

    The idea of a stone age people living in a utopia is absurd.

  82. Maria Callous says:

    failure to progress is not an original trait…

  83. Merc Y says:

    rousseau was constantly was with women he never married, his 5 kids were born out of wedlock. all 5 kids died in orphanages cuz he abandoned all his kids. his name is used by govt cuz he was evil. his ideologies are convoluted n here to reengineer society. reading ppl like rousseau has brought art the moral demise of western countries. he was a reprobate in his time and even by current studs he should be denigrated .

  84. Prince Cristian Petrocochino Mavrocordatos Savoia says:

    Morals are defined, and redefined, by the flowing exchange between economy and its output – technology. Morals, unlike the object of religion, does not exist separately from society but is constantly molded and reconstituted by economy and technology. The previous a summary (my interpretation) of the section of "The Sovereign" from the book: On The Social Contract.

  85. jels lince says:

    don't you think that this conception of the "I", which is Basic for the views tha the romantics have as an ideology are highly related with what, he argues to corrupt people in Society?

  86. monika borkowska says:

    This is missing a mention of his well known works: The Social Contract!

  87. aem says:

    yo your voice is so relaxing

  88. Emily R. Krichati says:

    Where is the social contract?

  89. jhfuahbguawhgs Doozoo says:

    Well yes, but will he play HR2??

  90. joao marcio garcia says:

    Unfortunally the personal life of Rousseau dont reflect his philodophy . He abandoned all his children to his all devices .

  91. OmahaLite360 says:

    This is the most clear explanation about Rousseau’s political thoughts than how my political 10 professor explains it…

  92. Nrth east India Vxym says:

    India is still struggling deciding which one to accept. own culture or modernization.
    At home culture is taught. And at school western culture.

  93. l l says:

    These videos are in kinda sorta reverse chronological order. Not really but close. They should go from the oldest to the newest.

  94. Doctor Proteus says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that Jean Jaques Rousseau was guilty of immense projection and unrealistic romantacism? There is no way for him or anyone to know that "Noble Savages" were inherently virtuous at the dawn of Mankind, and to think a popular philosopher automatically knows is wrong.

    Take those idealistic paintings of naked Humans frolicking in the wild. They depict an overly idealistic setting where Humans are not hunted, not beset by constant hunger, not beset by bacteria and disease and infection, not struggling to survive, not beset by the raw elements that forced them to shield themselves with furs and clothing and shelters, not harassed by endless droves of insects and natural filth, in a world of permanent plenty where the sun always shines warmly and Humans are never threatened by the cold. In reality, this is not the case, living within the natural state of the world is a permanent struggle for survival and filled with perpetual suffering unless Humans fight back.

  95. Sonam Pelden says:

    Isn't the "noble savage" wrongly attributed to Rousseau?

  96. Maressa SL says:

    This channel is communist

  97. NL Expat says:

    largesse will be the death of western christian societies. #RedPill Human nature

  98. Darth Revan says:

    NNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOO Rousseau was prorgessist, and believe mankind was set on on that progressist path. He just spotted the problem abouyt believing taht everything was good and dandy is that mankind could fall below the animal. Animal is below the moral good and evil. But mankind abuse of the civilstatus can put it below the animal…. Otehrwise civil status is good.

  99. Darth Revan says:

    3:10 You make me puke….. Diod you evenr ead Rousseau?

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