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
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