Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Society's Invention: Self Loathing


Marie Osmond's son who recently committed suicide made me wonder about Rousseau's discourse on the natural man. Our mental complexity now exposes us to vanity that silences our compassion. Society has developed the natural man into the man of reason; one that is constantly compared, made distinct, and judged. The man of reason is cruel, envies, shows contempt, and feels shame. What it means is that society does not only force us to judge the value of other people's merit or beauty, but also forces us to judge the value of our own self. If the man of reason is a man capable of killing himself, the natural man is its reverse. The natural man does not engage with the self, and hence cannot experience self-loathing. The natural man is thus incapable of committing suicide.

Rousseau doesn't seem to believe that the natural man exist anymore because there cannot be any undoing of what has already been developed -that is, reason. The misery in my agreement to Rousseau is resolute, for now. As a man of reason, I change my mind all the time to suit my discourse. Ayn Rand says that reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it.
Are you convinced?
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