The Primitive State Of Man Vs The — страница 2

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brought about a satisfying quality that gave a feeling of self-worth, a presence. During these prehistoric times there was hardly a great variety of means for attaining something desired, and what modern men find odd is that there was hardly any attempt to correct this for quite some time. Emphasis was rather on the application of the old means, which, with the arousal of a new need, were extended, refined, and perfected. Perhaps people were content with their inefficiencies due to this implied presence. Furthermore, this presence was responsible for the maximum efficiency of man s talents. It was the technique of skilled know-how that counted, and had none of the characteristics of the instrumental technique we know today. (Ellul, 67, 68) It would be delusional to think that

because modern man no longer needs to climb trees for safety and seems to have broken through the prohibitions of primitive times, that we are free. Modern man instead is now bound by the confines of his social structure and technological civilization (Ellul, 320). As primitive man progressed into the social creature he is today, more weaknesses besides medical conditions and age (too young or too old) were incorporated into society. Illnesses and other sicknesses were a product of modern man and the extreme inequality located within this social structure incubated these problems. Primitive man did not know of comforts, sophisticated or spoiled foods, excesses of various kinds, mental exhaustion, depression and other mental anguishes. Rousseau explains that these perils are our

own doing and would have been avoided had man abided by the solitary lifestyle prescribed to him by nature. Rousseau s point is most certainly evident where the ills of society such as our technological addictions and inescapable diseases that plague modern man are cruxes to his theme even more so today in the 20th century then during his time. (Rousseau, 42) After his discussion on the physical state of man Rousseau takes a turn in his discourse to the metaphysics and moral state of primitive man. When compared to animals, wild or domesticated, man, more often than not, is able to contribute and control his own actions. The animals to which he is compared do not possess such control and their operations and actions are controlled instinctual. Some philosophers have stated that

there is perhaps more difference between a man and another man, than between man and animal. It is not so much the fact that man is smarter or more skillful than the animals that distinguishes them then, but rather the fact that has just been mentioned. Having this free will and the power to know what your instincts are enable man to choose your own path regardless of what your intuition tells you to do in various circumstances. Animals have no choice but to obey what nature has told them to do; man feels the same stimulus, but knows he does not have to comply. (Rousseau, 45) The needs of primitive man, combined with the power to overcome instinct are the roots of passion. Man can only desire and fear the things that they know or have ideas about, where without these passions why

would man bother to reason in the first place? Rousseau explains that we seek to know only because we desire to find enjoyment. With our search for the things that bring about enjoyment, knowledge is obtained as man remembers the things he likes and also the things he does not like. Our passions are able to progress with this knowledge further separating primitive man from the beasts to which he is oftentimes compared. In fact, Rousseau believes that with this knowledge eventually the horrors of death come about, for animals, like humans, are capable of feeling pain, but do not know what it means to die. He explains that knowledge of death is one of the first major steps man makes in his withdrawing from the animal condition. However, for primitive man to attain such knowledge

will take much more understanding of the world around him, for his means to find his enjoyment are still easily found at hand. Because of this he remains far from the degree of knowledge he needs to understand what curiosity and foresight which are in essence the building blocks to attain more knowledge. (Rousseau, 46) The sarcastic tone of Rousseau clearly becomes evident as he discusses how primitive man was ever able to overcome such huge obstacles and gaps to turn into a social creature. Because of the lack of these building blocks, that is lacking curiosity and foresight, and knowing only whether something is only good or bad, Rousseau questions how man was able to cross such a wide gap to the being he is today without language or the frustration necessity. He argues that it