An Asocial Philosophy of Life.- Translated by Tul'si Bhambry and Agnieszka Waśkiewicz. Editorial work by Tul'si Bhambry.
Chapter 5. Close to Oneself
Close to Oneself
Rousseau: otherness and alienation
The preceding chapters dealt with people who felt that they were ‘others’ or strangers without experiencing their otherness as a problem. Those strangers by choice voluntarily maintained a distance from others in order to remain where they felt they really belonged. Some wanted to live according to Reason, others strove towards their Heavenly Abode; one stranger longed to be close to deified Nature, another was bent on discovering its secrets without sanctifying it. For those strangers, keeping a distance from people is not a high price to pay – perhaps it is no price at all, because their existence at a remove from others and their values allows these strangers to live according to their own principles. In contrast to the strangers discussed in the previous chapters, Rousseau discovered a strangeness that goes hand in hand with alienation – a state in which one is not where one belongs, and therefore never at one with oneself. He realized with surprise that this state is a rather common one, that it is indeed the natural state of civilized people, regardless of their place of birth or social status. Rousseau sees this type of strangeness as a problem. To him it represents humanity’s fundamental predicament, so much so that in order to gauge a society’s alienation we only need to examine if the majority of people still notice that they are alienated, or if only a few ‘beautiful souls’...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.