Pity

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.

 

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