This week’s reading got me very excited! For one I am a self-confessed history nerd, and so knowing that we were going to A) read something that is somewhat current and B) written by someone who is not from Europe! (although I love Europe but its nice to switch things up.) As I began reading, so many things jumped out to me. I love how boldly he explains history’s many faults and interpretations. One thing that stood out to me was the idea that history is always written by the winner. History is taught with a bias, and as generation after generation is taught through only one lense, it begins to morph the actual event into fiction.
I find it very interesting that even today North America is so ethnocentric. We have such a fixed view of the world and other people, that any history told by another source is not credible. It struck me that even current problems in Canada right now like the true ‘history’ of the Residential Schools is only now being brought to light. Prior to the recent outcry from the Aboriginal communities, Canada excluded this horrific event in our history, and at the most depicted it in textbooks as less damaging than it truly was. The reason this event was so well covered up was most likely because of the ignorant way in which history is taught. If the truth does not make the story-teller look good, then it won’t be shown.
Just some tangents for now,
Let me begin with saying Rousseau could probably persuade me to believe just about anything. His style of writing is musical, and almost casts a spell on one’s own thoughts and ideas, somehow they become one.
I really really really preferred this to Hobbes’ Leviathan. As was mentioned in class, it helped that I felt like his sentences were clear enough for me to understand, and instead of meekly stepping through the linguistic hoops that Hobbes creates for the reader, I found myself swiftly running with Rousseau’s arguments, able to keep up with his line of thought, and way my thoughts alongside his.
It is an interesting argument that Rousseau makes, especially when comparing it to last week’s text. Being in an intro to Sociology class this year, I found it quite unique that Rousseau finds purity in people’s original state (although that state cannot particularly be proven). What we do know is that at one point we were not ruled by a government, nor were we as driven by the need for more. This ties into some of what I have learned in my other class. Land ownership is a key breaking point to peace and simplicity that we once had as a primal species, because all of the sudden we had something desired by others, and hoarded by ourselves. I tend to agree with Rousseau in that much of our current problems with power corruption have to do with land ownership and uneven distribution of wealth. It will be interesting to talk in seminar about whether other people see his views as profound or nonsense.