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Showing posts from July 26, 2009

It is not good for man to be alone

The fifth book of Emile begins the “last act of Emile’s youth.” Which is described as follows: “Il n’est pas bon que l’homme soit seul, Émile est homme ; nous lui avons promis une compagne, il faut la lui donner.” This borrowing from Genesis, with Rousseau as the “we” and Emile as Adam presents us with a problem that is traditionally solved by simply extracting the concepts, here, connecting them to this “we”, and making out as if Rousseau were writing a treatise. The literary is a sort of small bend in the fall of the conceptual atoms, but nothing to worry about, if we go at this narrative as a thing that can be reduced to an exempla derived from the principles of practical reason. However, enough - I've beaten this subject enough in the last post. Rather, here's the point: meditating on this not exceptional allusion to the creation story, we find we are faced with the true oddity of the project outlined in this book: this is a re-creation story in which Emile is and c

narrative and nihilism

We could run this as though on a television screen, in the background. Andre Amar from the Committee of Public Safety stands up to address the Convention. He is known as the “most elegantly dressed man in the Convention.” (Bire, 312) It is October 31, 1793 – the month of Brumaire – and he has been appointed the speaker for a committee that investigated the ‘woman question’. This is after Charlotte Corday answered that question by putting a knife very neatly in Marat’s heart. This is after Marie Antoinette cried out to the mothers at her trial to rise up, as she had been accused of incest. This was after Charlotte Corday had said, to her judges, that she was a “republican before the revolution” and remained one. This was after one of the judges had asked Do you suppose you have killed all the Marats – to which she answered, that one dead, maybe the rest will tremble. This was after David had drawn Marie Antoinette in the cart that drew her to the guillotine, no wig on her head, in a b

A stele is found in the desert: what kingdom was this?

You say we're almost all alone together... “…il doit se dire d’avance que ceux qui les écrivent ne sont pas des Français, des beaux-esprits, des académiciens, des philosophes ; mais des provinciaux, des étrangers, des solitaires, de jeunes gens, presque des enfants, qui, dans leurs imaginations romanesques, prennent pour de la philosophie les honnêtes délires de leur cerveau.”- from the introduction to La Nouvelle Heloïse When I talk about my happiness thesis to people who aren’t necessarily readers of LI, a spark of recognition will appear in their eyes, even if they disagree with me. But that spark dies when I try to explain the human limit. My thesis is built upon these two themes. One of those themes is the emergence of a happiness culture, defined as a culture that adopts happiness as a norm by which to judge one’s life and expectations (on the individual level) and the success and intents of one’s collectivity (on the social level). That the happiness culture is a backg