Revisiting Rousseau

For my essay rewrite, I plan to revisit Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality. In my original essay, I argued that Rousseau successfully convinces his readers that the nascent man was happy than both the natural or modern man. However, as I reread and investigate his argument with new outside scholarly sources, I’m beginning to find faults in Rousseau’s claim.

While it may be true that nascent man was the”golden mean” in societal advancement, a happy medium between the natural, isolated protohuman and the modern, egocentric man, technology and the creation of a collective human experience through established society has actually proven to increase satisfaction in the general population. Studies conducted on modern happiness find that even though the complexity of the current era has created an excess of stress, we are more able to address and move on from stressors and are overall happier people than those in the past. The world is not as black-and-white as Rousseau would like to make it seem: though nascent man achieved a level of self-actualization that he could be satisfied in his existence without becoming susceptible to vice or corruption, the development of corruption and vice actually allows us to better ourselves as people. These things do contribute to civil unrest, but our ability to overcome and learn from past grievances and/or mistakes is what has allowed us to transcend and improve societal relations overall. If there was no dissatisfaction, how could we possibly better ourselves? Nascent man may have comfortable in his own blissfully ignorant existence, but in order to be the best we can, we must allow for some strife.

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