Oh is it Tuesday already?

Rousseau is a fantastic writer and I am super happy that after weeks of looking at Leviathan…and to be honest, not even reading more than 10 pages of it, that we got to read this book.
Rousseau is such a smooth writer and before the lecture, I agreed with everything he was saying and admired his writing skills, his points, and how he supported his points.

As Crawford pointed out though, Rousseau can get a¬†little confusing and after the lecture, I don’t know if I really like Rousseau anymore. Saying that, I have to admit that I absolutely love this quote:


“It became customary to gather in front of the Huts or around a large Tree: song and dance, true children of love and leisure, became the amusement or rather the occupation of idle men and women gathered together. Everyone began to look at everyone else and to wish to be looked at himself, and public esteem acquired a price. The one who sang or danced best; the handsomest, the strongest, the most skillful, or the most eloquent came to be the most highly regarded, and this was the first step towards inequality and vice: from these first preferences arose vanity and contempt on the one hand, shame and envy on the other; and the fermentation caused by these new leavens eventually produced compounds fatal to happiness and innocence.”


It really speaks to me because it says how pleasurable things such as singing, dancing, playing music, etc. became something of competition rather than amusement and something to do for fun and to relax yourself with. Instead of being a fun activity, it became something that people stress out over. Something that people have grown envious over. I think that this quote really did support his argument. Look at singers and dancers all over the world now. All of the countless reality tv competitions and how much drama and envy that the media has supported through this. Instead of being merely a passion, these leisurely things became something much more…something that craves attention from others and constantly asks to be admired. People have spoiled the initial beauty of arts like that and instead use it for their own selfishness. It kind of makes me sad because I absolutely love singing and dancing as well, and when I was younger, I would write music, sing, dance and play instruments by myself without caring about who was listening, and when I grew older, I started to face competitions and get all of this attention from everyone and now I’m super selfish about my music and talents and constantly want people to admire it…. It’s really sad how passion for something can turn into something different such as just wanting attention from it. Don’t get me wrong, my passion for the art is still strong, but I feel like I’ve been focusing on who is listening rather than what I’m doing more lately. I really want to change that.

One thought on “Oh is it Tuesday already?

  1. Excellent reflections, Jocelyn! I think Rousseau is right about this aspect of human life today, for certain. This quote is from the discussion of nascent society, where he says that the emotion of “pride” first began to develop. Pride is the desire to have others value you, the sense of living your life in the eyes of others rather than yourself. He returns to this point in the last couple of pages of the text, and it’s one of the main problems in civil society, according to Rousseau. It’s one of the drivers of inequality (among other things, of course, like wealth).

    And I agree that it can be detrimental in more than one way, including to one’s own well being. It seems to me it would be better if we could be content within ourselves rather than relying so much on what other people think. But that may be impossible at this point in our social development. And maybe living a little in the eyes of others is not bad, because one should pay attention to some degree to how one appears to others, at least so as to make sure one is coming across as respectful and that sort of thing.

    So I guess a balance might be best after all.

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