The Primitive State Of Man Vs The

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The Primitive State Of Man Vs. The Modern State Of Man Essay, Research Paper The Primitive State of Man vs. The Modern State of Man: From Grunts to Gregorian Chants Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his discourse on the origin of inequality begins a new transition in philosophy regarding the natural laws and state of man. The question of our own existence and awareness as described by Descartes, Hobbes, and Hume now takes a bit of a turn as Rousseau begins to discuss his ideas on what might have been the original state of man during a primitive era. Distinguishing between modern and primitive man is a starting point for Rousseau where with the labeling of the two classes he can begin, and perhaps even remove himself from the world he is part of and hypothetically take on the identity

of another to help with his argument. Primitive man, usually thought of as savage and beast-like by modern men, lived in a very different world filled with constant struggle and uncertainty. Our ancestors of ancient times lived at the mercy of nature where natural selection, the survival of the fittest, took place unavoidably. Children were raised in very different ways that those of today where they took on the foundations and character of their parents and then strengthened these traits creating a stronger drive that will get passed along to the next generation. With this type of human interaction one can see that only the strong survive, creating a human race dependent upon only what their body will allow them to do. They knew of no tools or machines to assist them in their

activities of human survival. However, with this utter reliance upon their bodies to achieve any goal, one can imagine the strength these people must have possessed to continue living. Rousseau speaks of modern man surrounded by tools and machines to aid them in what otherwise would be a ruthless struggle for survival. The creation of government and society allowed for more interaction among men, and a civility where even the weak were able to prosper as the stronger paved the way to an easier, more luxurious life. Men, although still at the mercy of nature, were more prepared and better protected than their ancestors from mother nature. However, with the creation of the tool, modern man also lost agility and the ability to survive without it. Take modern man and put him back

into the environment from which he came, without tools and machines, most would perish. There is an obvious advantage that can be seen here in having all of one s forces ready for any event that may transpire. This is an important deduction about the state of primitive man that will be used to discuss the natural laws by which he lives. The strength and force of primitive man is something that has been taken for granted as modern man creates an image of a naked ferocious beast living in trees incapable of developing or attaining any type of intelligence or progress. However, Rousseau offers a different image where, although rugged and uncivilized, primitive man did possess skills and enough intelligence to learn from experiences. Primitive man when placed against a wild animal

would have probably proved to be that animal s equal as his skill surpassed the beast s strength. With this skill man was able to choose his battles as there were always two alternatives: run or fight. Modern man in his habituation to society has become weak and dependent upon technique outside of his bare hands. (Rousseau, 43) Even with this knowledge regarding the life of primitive man, modern men still refer to their ancestors as degenerate and refuse to see them as anything other than savages. Ironically our own reduction, which is seemingly less obvious, contains an implied absence that binds us to the tool and other people versus the implied presence primitive men had from reliance upon only themselves. Using personal technique as primitive man did to accomplish things