Rousseau’s argument concerning the natural man’s motivation struck me as interesting. He argues that without pity the human race would have long since died out. We need self-preservation, obviously, no need for further explanation. However I found the mention of pity to be unexpected. Why would the natural man be motivated by pity of all things? What does pity provide him/her with that would cause them to die out if they did not possess it?
I don’t know why but for some reason I started to think about Silence of the Lamb. Hannibal, the cannibal, has no pity, remorse, or empathy. Not a good characteristic traits. If a human being has none of the qualities (pity, remorse, or empathy) the likely hood that they are possible psychopath’s increase. I don’t know what this has to do with Rousseau, but that is what i imagined. Naked, hairless, natural man running around viewing everyone else as a possible rivals.
What exactly would humanity be like without our ability to feel pity? Rousseau thinks we, as a race, would die out and understandably so. I don’t really know. Scratch that, i have a thought. Rousseau explains that the woman has a capability above those of other animals. She can physically pick up and carry her offspring. If she had pity she would grab the child when in possible danger in order to save it. If she had no pity wouldn’t she leave the kid for the predator and save herself due to self-preservation? Okay, yes the race would die out.
When I first picked up Hobbes, I wasn’t initially worried. I had (miraculously) survived Plato, so I didn’t think Hobbes would be an issue. If you had previously talked to me about Plato’s Republic you would know the extent of my hatred for that particular philosopher. Unfortunalty having to read and than look up definitions in the Leviathan is slightly annoying, but it does make sense as to why the book is written in such as way. The quote “thee being nothing in the world universal but names; for the things named are every one of them individual and singular” (p17) places Hobbes in stark opposition to Plato. As soon as Robert Crawford said that Hobbes was agitated by Aristotle, and by extension Plato, I knew that if I didn’t love Hobbes already I definitely loved him now!
Hobbes’s theory is understandable (In my opinion. At least after the lecture). The book is about us wanting desperately to be alive, according to Crawford. And this surprisingly makes sense. As long as our government doesn’t outright kill us, or place us in the position of imposing death, why go against it when we created it? Logic, I missed you. Every point in the book is connected leading to the end. Obviously I didn’t notice until lecture, but by going back and rereading bits I saw it.
This particular part stuck out to me in the lecture:
The story about when Persian kings died, it was a custom to leave the people without law or king for 5 days.
This explanation clicked Hobbes’s points in my brain and all of a sudden it began to make sense.