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Rousseau and Voltaire hated each other...

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posted on Nov, 28 2015 @ 11:30 PM
Today I learned about Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I've learned that "Rousseau and Voltaire hated each other. In fact, it would be hard to ever envision the urbane and suave Voltaire and the radically democratic Rousseau ever seeing eye to eye on much: Voltaire believed that through education and reason man could separate himself from the beasts while Rousseau thought that it was precisely all this which made men "unnatural" and corrupted. As Betrand Russell put it so eloquently: "It is not surprising that Rousseau and Voltaire ultimately quarreled; the marvel is that they did not quarrel sooner." Like many intellectuals, Rousseau was a great lover of mankind as a collective but singularly unable to appreciate or get along with any individual persons who he encountered in his life. On the other hand, Voltaire was not a person you wanted to engage in a literary tête-a-tête as his scorn and ridicule were lethal."

I like both of these men, albeit for different reasons.

I have long believed as Rousseau, that man is basically good and that the evils we see in the world are the result of political and religious power structures which one my call society. At the same time I also agree with Voltaire that human beings are basically flawed with fear and greed which cause much suffering for themselves and those around them.

I think both things are true.

Voltaire was a "liberal" by today standards because he wanted to move forward with the society we have, and attempt to reform, improve on, or work around humanities flaws. Rousseau it seems took the classical "conservative" approach and pined for a return to humanity romantic period when the People of the First Nations lived of the land in small communities without the need for property rights.

I find myself holding on to both the "liberal view" that we must move forward with technology and the "conservative view" that humanity was happiest living in community. That dual-view is not liberal or conservative, and I happen to believe both are true. I see no way to turn back the clock for all of humanity, society does corrupt us all, but time travel isn't the answer. If we are all in a conspiracy against one another, or if the society is in conspiracy against each one of it's members. What difference does it make? Here we are.

The way I see it, we can watch "Democracy Now" all day and point out all the things going wrong in the world, or we can ignore it. I choose to ignore it. That doesn't mean I value ignorance, on do not. On the contrary, I think we all need to educate ourselves about Big History and not get bogged down in the details of recent events. I suggest we have a general philosophic view of the world while we avoid adopting any dogmatic ideologies about what SHOULD BE done about it.

We need to have a Big Picture world-view that is honest about what is does not know and remains open to new information. This Big Picture world-view would not be an dogmatic ideology which would promotes one theory over another, but rather we OUGHT TO question the conventional wisdom. It bothers me to see scientist screwing data on Global Warming to push a political agenda. I wish that when they taught the Big Bang theory the would not ignoring contrary evidence that argues against that theory.

The Big Picture World-View would like people to adopt is the non-political and non-conventional collection of inconvenient facts. More that that, it would anti-ideological, meaning that the enemy of the Big Picture is well defined, not as ignorance, but rather as narrow-minded dogmatic ideology itself. "Convictions are greater enemies of truth than lies."

In the Big Picture we are not native born sons of the Milky Way, we are refuges of Sagittarius Dwarf (Sgr) Galaxy. We the product of a Super Novel that took place a long time ago and a different region of space. The Milky Way is sucking our Galaxy into her vortex of gravitational tidal forces. In addition to our native homeland there are 9 other known spheroidal galaxies that orbit the Milky Way.

Oddly, Sagittarius Dwarf's orbit indicates that is has been through our the Milky Way several times before, and survived! The current theory on how that may be possibility is that Sgr contains a great deal of low-density dark matter that hold it together gravitationally during these collisions. How do we know this, we don't. Remember, we don't know what we don't know, and just a few moments ago you didn't know your were from a different Galaxy which is invading the Milky Way.

This is the kind of paradigm shift one can expect when they look to a Big Picture World-View, rather then hold on to an romantic idea of the past or an idealized vision of a bright and better future.

posted on Nov, 28 2015 @ 11:45 PM
They were both a festering boil on humanity begging to be pinched, albeit for different reasons.

posted on Nov, 28 2015 @ 11:46 PM
My cynical side says humans at their very nature are savage brutal beasts though my idealistic side says they can be redeemed. Think of Anakin's fall to the Dark Side and his redemption.
edit on 28-11-2015 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 29 2015 @ 12:08 PM
a reply to: wasaka

"The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said 'This is mine', and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."

— Rousseau 1754
edit on 29-11-2015 by wasaka because: (no reason given)

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