Eduk wrote: ↑
August 4th, 2018, 9:12 am
Yes wisdom and knowledge are separate (though linked). As ever defining concepts (definition in general) is extremely tricky. So for example you could use your knowledge that you don't know any purpose to life to therefore conclude that you know there is no purpose in life. Knowing there is no purpose in life you could go further and decide the universe is some horrible bleak abyss of nothingness where nothing you do or think could possibly matter (even to yourself). Problem with the above though is that knowledge that you don't know there is purpose is not knowledge that you do know there is not. Furthermore wisdom (in my book) does not ever lead to a path of unhappiness (otherwise it's not wisdom by definition) so with knowledge that I know I don't know I am perfectly able to operate without assumption that existence is in anyway bleak. This is why I said you were pessimistic. If you had said wisdom concludes the universe is bright and wonderful I would say you were optimistic.
I actually agree with you that wisdom does not lead to unhappiness. Ignorance is bliss, knowledge leads to a dark place, but wisdom allows you to choose to be happy. But, perhaps most people bounce back and forth between the first two, learning terrible truths and practicing harmful methods of avoiding the truth.
Eduk wrote: ↑
August 4th, 2018, 9:14 am
Oh and I don't agree with Rousseau at all. The world of humans is nowhere near that simple. Thinking you could somehow magically remove some concept and it have universally positive results without effect on the nature of being seems foolish in the extreme to me.
Actually, Rousseau is not nearly that simple. There is a lot of "dot dot dot" between those quotes I threw out, and he makes some points that are hard to refute, if you read the text.
The beginning of property soon led to the need to protect it and the desire to take it from each other. Without having changed, people became impoverished by others becoming wealthy. People began to set different values on each other, and to expect others to treat them with respect, and to take offense if they did not get the respect they thought they deserved:
Men no sooner began to set a value upon each other, and know what esteem was, than each laid claim to it, and it was no longer safe for any man to refuse it to another. Hence the first duties of civility and politeness, even among savages; and hence every voluntary injury became an affront, as besides the mischief, which resulted from it as an injury, the party offended was sure to find in it a contempt for his person more intolerable than the mischief itself. It was thus that every man, punishing the contempt expressed for him by others in proportion to the value he set upon himself, the effects of revenge became terrible, and men learned to be sanguinary and cruel.
Men came to be in need of each other, rather than to be free in a state of nature. They had to serve or be served to get by in the new reality.
...man, heretofore free and independent, was now in consequence of a multitude of new wants brought under subjection, as it were, to all nature, and especially to his fellows, whose slave in some sense he became even by becoming their master; if rich, he stood in need of their services, if poor, of their assistance; even mediocrity itself could not enable him to do without them.
As more people formed societies, it became unsafe, and nearly impossible, to avoid joining, and eventually preparing for war.
We may easily conceive how the establishment of a single society rendered that of all the rest absolutely necessary, and how, to make head against united forces, it became necessary for the rest of mankind to unite in their turn. Societies once formed in this manner, soon multiplied or spread to such a degree, as to cover the face of the earth; and not to leave a corner in the whole universe, where a man could throw off the yoke, and withdraw his head from under the often ill-conducted sword which he saw perpetually hanging over it.
Survival now necessitated accepting being subject to one master or another. People chose or accepted, or had forced upon them, chiefs and kings for protection at the cost of their freedom.
Now in the relations between man and man, the worst that can happen to one man being to see himself at the discretion of another, would it not have been contrary to the dictates of good sense to begin by making over to a chief the only things for the preservation of which they stood in need of his assistance? What equivalent could he have offered them for so fine a privilege? And had he presumed to exact it on pretense of defending them, would he not have immediately received the answer in the apologue? What worse treatment can we expect from an enemy? It is therefore past dispute, and indeed a fundamental maxim of political law, that people gave themselves chiefs to defend their liberty and not be enslaved by them. If we have a prince, said Pliny to Trajan, it is in order that he may keep us from having a master.
In the end, he sees an endless cycle of corruption leading to revolution which begins the process again. Even the most proper forms of society are eligible to be usurped, and power corrupts, and you can see where that leads. When the usurping and corruption carry on far enough, force is required to retain the power. The government begins to threaten the security it was put in place to protect, and becomes the enemy. His predictions have been quite accurate if you set them against the time between his writings and today.
This is the last term of inequality, the extreme point which closes the circle and meets that from which we set out. 'Tis here that all private men return to their primitive equality, because they are no longer of any account; and that, the subjects having no longer any law but that of their master, nor the master any other law but his passions, all notions of good and principles of justice again disappear. 'Tis here that everything returns to the sole law of the strongest, and of course to a new state of nature different from that with which we began, in as much as the first was the state of nature in its purity, and the last the consequence of excessive corruption. There is, in other respects, so little difference between these two states, and the contract of government is so much dissolved by despotism, that the despot is no longer master than he continues the strongest, and that, as soon as his slaves can expel him, they may do it without his having the least right to complain of their using him ill. The insurrection, which ends in the death or despotism of a sultan, is as juridical an act as any by which the day before he disposed of the lives and fortunes of his subjects. Force alone upheld him, force alone overturns him. Thus all things take place and succeed in their natural order; and whatever may be the upshot of these hasty and frequent revolutions, no one man has reason to complain of another's injustice, but only of his own indiscretion or bad fortune.
Before you dismiss him, consider that he helped to inspire the American and French revolutions. These are not perfect forms of government, obviously, but they are arguably among the best so far, despite their faults. It remains to be seen if he helped inspire us to break the cycle he predicted. But, his writings were compelling and influential, and his assertions were not 'so simple'.
I'm not sure my quick summary does him any justice, but I had to assume from your response that you had not read this and did not intend to read it. So, maybe this gives you more context, or even inspires you to check out the source:
http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/111 ... mages.html