return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 19771

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / b. The natural life]

Full Idea

Imagination, which wreaks so much havoc among us, does not speak to savage hearts; each man peacefully awaits the impetus of nature, gives himself over to it without choice, and with more pleasure than frenzy; then all desire is snuffed out.

Gist of Idea

Savage men quietly pursue desires, without the havoc of modern frenzied imagination


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

A Reaction

Interesting to identify imagination as a source of trouble. The idea that the savage lacks imagination seems implausible. Better to say that modern imagination has been poisoned by competition.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.56