In one of my most favorite classes I have ever taken, Environmental Literature, my teacher introduced me to the idea of “Found Poetry.” The idea of Found Poetry is to take quotes and phrases from a piece of prose and turn it into a poem. So, I wrote a poem found in A Discourse on Inequality that aligns on some fronts with Rousseau’s ideology and romantic nature. It reflects my favorite part of A Discourse on Inequality that I wish Rousseau had elaborated more on…
Rousseau – A Discourse on Inequality:
Nature- Value Self
Our ills are of our own making,
Strengthen the power which Subdues –
sociable and a slave, he grows feeble.
His imagination paints no pictures;
his heart yearns for nothing.
Makes man in the end a tyrant over Himself –
man will not be born a man. Neither
foresight nor curiosity,
They speak of savage man,
they depict civilized man –
wear chains for the sake of imposing chains.
Once a people is accustomed
to Masters, it is no longer in a condition
to do without – not obliged to make
a Man a philosopher before we can make him
But let us return to their foundation –
in Nature which Never lies.
Understanding owes much to the passions.
If we do not first have knowledge
of men themselves,
render ourselves incapable of knowing
Him. I would
have sought as my own country,
less fortunate or wise too late:
happy and peaceful commonwealth
of which the history was lost so to speak,
in the darkness of time. I would
have wished to Live and die free, that is to say,
subject to Law in such a way.
Such, Magnificent and Most Honoured Lords,
are the citizens – make your happiness endure
by the wisdom of using it well.
Wish not to live in a republic
newly founded, more dangerous
than the actions they report – exhibit
some love for the earthly city. What is more, this precious liberty
separate the original from that which is artificiality.
The activity of self-love contributes,
to the mutual preservation of the whole species.
It will be easy for others
to go down further the same path
– only after clearing away sand and dust,
where love is never seasonal,
for there is in freedom:
clash of passion, cry of nature.
Where there is no love, what would be the use of
beauty? Presages and guarantees
or a sincere and permanent reconciliation. No
Greater Felicity for Himself
than that of seeing You all happy.