3 April 2013
To develop the constitution of a man while he is still a child is of the utmost importance. It is from this early age that he is most adaptable to formation. If a child learns a dirty habit (s)he is unlikely to lose it without proper discipline and it could lead to social disorders in the future, disabling the person’s functionality as a unit for the whole. It is necessary for man to learn interaction with one another as humanity is interdependent. “God makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil.” So opens Rousseau’s treatise on Education, Émile (Émile 11). Rousseau did not fully agree with enlightenment values as will be discussed in this essay, specifically that the idea of developing logic or reason was not true unto itself but corruption rather than moral purification (Norton 53). He felt it was also necessary to build the character of one’s natural side as well as the reasoned side, so that one could have a pleasurable balance of both. “Plants are fashioned by cultivation, man by education” (Émile 11). This training of Emile is likely to be derived from Aristotle as Rousseau had a great passion for early Greek and Roman writers (Norton 53). At least so far as seeing the necessity for enjoyment in early development, “. . . we should introduce amusement only at suitable times, and they should be our medicines, for the emotion which they create in the soul is a relaxation, and from the pleasure we obtain rest” (Politics 205). In an edition of Literature Criticism, it is said that the work, Emile, is the most influential since Plato’s Republic (Schoenberg and Trudeau 241). Rousseau says, “Good social institutions are those best fitted to make a man unnatural, to exchange his independence for dependence, to merge the unit in the group, so that he no longer regards himself as one, but as a part of the whole, and is only conscious of the common life” (Emile 3). This is to state the necessity of society over the necessity of the individual. “The citizen should be moulded to suit the form of government under which he lives. For each government has a peculiar character which originally formed and which continues to preserve it” (Politics 203). The enlightenment thinker James Beattie would contest Aristotle believing him to, “have inferred man’s natural and universal right to liberty, from that natural and universal passion with which men desire it, and from the salutary consequences to learning, to virtue, and to every human improvement, of which it never fails to be productive” (Norton 131). This is to believe that man would not be free if he were to be part of the whole. Man should be educated so that he is properly fit to his own nature. In Emile, Rousseau argued, “that children should be allowed to develop according to their senses and lived experience. . . This idea inspired numerous educational programs, including Montessori schools” (Norton 54). The Montessori program is characterized as such: “One basic idea of Montessori philosophy is that carried unseen within each child is the person the child will become. To develop to the fullest physical, spiritual, and intellectual potential, the child must have freedom – achieved through order and self-discipline” (Philosophy 2013). Aristotle declares, “Amusement is for the sake of relaxation, and relaxation is of necessity sweet, for it is the remedy of pain caused by toil; and intellectual enjoyment is universally acknowledged to contain an element not only of the noble but of the pleasant, for happiness is made up of both” (Politics 209). It is important that man be brought up in vocation that suits him, so that he will be happy in his work. It is otherwise likely that you, by hating your work, you will also hate your life. Goethe’s Faust is the perfect example of this. In turn for hating his work and his life Dr. Faust stumbles down a road of terrible...
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