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Single Idea 19766

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / f. Compassion]

Full Idea

Every day one sees in our theatres someone affected and weeping at the ills of some unfortunate person ...Nature, in giving men tears, bears witness that she gave the human race the softest hearts.

Gist of Idea

The fact that we weep (e.g. in theatres) shows that we are naturally compassionate


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1754], Part I)

A Reaction

Lovely. Of course, tears in infants are for their own misfortunes, but adults more commonly weep over the sufferings of others. But we somewhat laugh at people who easily cry over dramas about suffering.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.54