Rousseian Happiness

Topics: State of nature, Happiness, Political philosophy Pages: 3 (919 words) Published: May 2, 2006
What is it to be happy? A dictionary may define it as being content and sufficiently pleased with the situation you are in. But this definition in accordance with Rousseau is one that lacks the true depth to define actual happiness. Rousseau might rather say that happiness is something only possible when man is completely free. With the freedom to choose, man is a creature of contentment. In his Second Discourse Rousseau describes the world and societal pressure that the world bears upon us. As soon as we leave Rousseau's Garden of Eden, his natural state of man, we give up that ability to be happy. So with society man cannot be justly happy? But I sit here now with a smile on my face; I go to the movies and hear people speak of bliss, I read the paper and understand certain article to be "good news," so I must ask Rousseau how this is not happiness?

The key here is to find a way to differentiate between the happiness Rousseau is talking about and the happiness we have come to accept today. Happiness, like so many things in the state of modern man, is born and created through subjectivity. Just like Plato's cave, whether we are those shackled or those that run free, we all see the rock. And maybe to some that rock is projected, but why does that matter? The shackled ones see that projection and that is their reality, just as the philosophers see a rock in the shining sun and that is their reality. So who's to say which reality is better? In terms of Rousseauian happiness we are content until we break from our savage man and began to search for something more. When we question our reality we break free of happiness, when we wonder what more there is to know we take ourselves from the simplistic contentment of savage and complicate our lives with useless cocktail knowledge. Since it is obvious that the Republic is a piece of literature that Rousseau often refers back to and appreciates; we find hypocrisy. That is to say that the Philosophers...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • What Is Happiness Essay
  • Aristotle vs Plato's View on Happiness Research Paper
  • History of Happiness in Western Societies Essay
  • Happiness Essay
  • Happiness Essay
  • Happiness Essay
  • Essay on Happiness
  • Essay on Happiness

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free