A sense of reading ON THE ORIGIN OF HUMAN INEQUALITY
Nobody can provide convincing evidence to tell when human kind started their inequality. We do believe that man born free and equal, however, he is everywhere in chains. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who was considered as the pioneer of French revolution, had had a great deal of deep thought on the source of human inequality. He believed the way that contracts protects people was to limit freedom but reach a proper level of freedom.
In his paper, ON THE ORIGIN OF HUMAN INEQUALITY, or translated as Discourse on Inequality, which was written two hundred years before our republic’s establishment, as its title said, had a meaningful try to find the origin of human inequality. Meanwhile, he introduced his political ideal in the book, a bit. Though his work was not approved by people in that time, his deep thought gradually got the lead of the trend of revolution and eventually detonated the French Revolution which gave birth to the first complete democratic regime.
People are clever and rational, which is believed to be the reason why human rule the earth. However, Rousseau thought in a whole different way. He believed that people who lived in a natural condition was strong in body but weak in mind, especially lack of rational. But human are just the opposite now, strong in mind but weak in body. How did the change happen? And why did the change happen? After reading the book, I was disappointed to find that it was nobody but human themselves who have spoiled the beauty of strength and turned to the dirt of mind. Since the first man came out of the cave they once lived, since the first man declared he owned something, since the first tribe developed their characters and law, the human, who were once the pride of the Creator, have started to rot their pure soul. All this desperate changes, in fact, were caused by the evil capitalism and people’s greed.
But how and why we brought up our greed? Rousseau said people’s greed and other inferior characters have the same source: private ownership. It is private ownership that makes people consider too much on gains or lost. It is private property that give people envy. It is selfish society that robbed the poor, enriched the rich and destroyed our natural beauty. Deception and betrayal build up human society, especially capitalist ones.
Through Rousseau lived in the end of the feudal period, he had probably foreseen the rise of capitalism and the revolution. But obviously he didn’t approve the continuous existence of private property, even in a new and much better society. He was crazy about the natural status of human, which means a man who has nothing but his life to care about, who is totally free when he makes a choice and who is the real ruler and owner of the earth. So the human inequality will be gone, we only have difference in body, not in soul.
Beyond all doubt, Rousseau’s conclusion was great and irreplaceable. His thought and guidance lead the democratic process all over the world. However, in my opinion, his ideas are still incomplete. He did not point out the real way, the true way and the right way to beat the evil private property on behalf of the nobles and the church. Also, he could not give up the opinion that there was a Creator, which makes his opinion more unscientific. Due to the limitation of his class, it was unmissable for him to have some wrong ideas, but it is still proper to respect him as a giant of democratic thought and political instruction.