In my essay, I disagreed with Rousseau. I found that his opinions were not valid nor well justified, and overall too thin to persuade me that the savage man was, in fact, happier than us, civil men. I felt that it was irrelevant for him to compare the savage man to the civil man especially because of the several very important external forces that delegitimize his claim.
The savage man, is to him, happy because he has fewer needs. Us, on the other hand, are unhappier than the savage man because we have more needs. To be fair in the comparison, we have to ensure that the only thing differing between the savage man and the civil man would be the number of needs. But life is never ideal. There are a lot of things, besides the number of needs, that we need to look at when we analyze Rousseau’s hypothesis—how easily can these needs be fulfilled, the environmental forces that affect our perception of ‘needs’, how educated we are, how technologically developed we are, how we define needs and most importantly, how we define happiness. I found it difficult to comprehend this concept because I find that happiness is not constituted plainly by the number of needs. Further, I find that most ‘needs’ that we think we need, are not true needs, just ‘wants’ that our brain convinces us we need. So technically, it is unjustified to compare the savage man, one with true needs, to us, civil man, with artificial needs.
Rousseau is arguing on the fact that needs have a direct correlation with happiness. In my essay, I talked a lot about how the term ‘needs’ should be broken down to prove that Rousseau was in fact, comparing an apple to an orange. Today, I shall once again, attempt to rebut his hypothesis
Assuming I only had one need in addition to breathing, eating and sleeping, which is a good-looking husband. Technically, I would have the same amount of needs as a savage man (I swapped out sex for a good-looking husband). However, will finding a good-looking husband really make me happy? (no.)
There are many things in the civil life that make me almost completely certain that the civil man is happier than the savage man. The one that stood out to me most would be, human interaction. There are a lot of ways we can go about explaining why human interaction makes us happy but a recent scientific study reported that the more people we interact with, the happier we are, or at least we feel we are. This is so because it creates a sense of belonging in the community and the acknowledgment we get from other members of our community makes us happy. This is key because savage man does not get the human interaction we can get. They barely cross paths with the same person twice because of how scarcely spread out they are.
All in all, I am still, till this day, unconvinced by Rousseau and this blog posts is to supplement my essay in shaping my argument.