Paths for freedom and progress
SOCIETY AND POWER - 23/09/2021

It’s only very recently in history that we’ve been able to buy more than the bare necessities. Society takes the business of making money very seriously indeed. Much of our education system is geared towards giving people the skills to get a good job and a steady income. By contrast, very little attention is given to how to spend money to achieve permanent happiness, wisedom and enlightment.


Jean Jaques Rousseau asserted that the stage of human development associated with what he called "savages" was the best or optimal in human development. Nothing is so gentle as a man in his primitive state, when placed by nature at an equal distance from the stupidity of brutes and the fatal progress of civil man.  According to Rousseau, as savages has grown less dependent on nature, they has instead become dependent on each other, with society leading to the loss of freedom through the chase for perfectionism.

When living together, humans would have gone from a nomadic lifestyle to a settled one, leading to the invention of private property. As long as differences in wealth and status among families were minimal, the first civilization level was accompanied by a fleeting golden age of human flourishing. The development of agriculture, metallurgy, private property, and the division of labour and resulting dependency on one another, however, led later to economic inequality and conflict. As population grew, people underwent a psychological transformation: they began to see themselves through the eyes of others and came to value the good opinion of others as essential to their self-esteem.

As humans started to compare themselves with each other, they began to notice that some had qualities differentiating them from others. Themn,when moral significance is attached to these qualities, esteem and envy flourish, and thereby, social hierarchies.

Rousseau noted that the savage lives within himself but the sociable man, always outside himself, can only live in the opinion of others. This then results in the corruption of humankind, producing damage to innocence and happiness.  Rousseau said in “The Social Contract”:"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed the greater slaves.”
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