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Single Idea 19792

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / c. A unified people]

Full Idea

Men have no other means of maintaining themselves but to form by aggregation a sum of forces that could gain the upper hand over the resistance of obstacles, so that their forces are directed by means of a single moving power and made to act in concert.

Gist of Idea

To overcome obstacles, people must unite their forces into a single unified power


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], I.6)

A Reaction

I prefer the Aristotelian view, that men are naturally gregarious and social (like bees and ants), so this act of solidarity in superfluous. A human people is only broken up by violence or disaster, like kicking over an ants' nest.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.147

Related Idea

Idea 19793 We need a protective association which unites forces, but retains individual freedom [Rousseau]