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Single Idea 19778

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

Full Idea

People developed leisure pursuits, and wanted esteem, which was the first step towards inequality, and at the same time towards vice. Vanity, contempt, shame and envy were born, and acts of revenge. This is the stage of savage people we know of.

Gist of Idea

Leisure led to envy, inequality, vice and revenge, which we now see in savages


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

A Reaction

[very compressed] This is important in understanding Rousseau, because his happier 'state of nature' is prior to what is described here, which is the violent warlike state which impressed Hobbes.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.64