Rousseau’s Natural Man Favors His Sustenance

862 words - 4 pages

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s natural man is a creature characterized by self-pity and self-preservation. Rousseau speaks towards his natural man’s kind and virtuous being, but also makes mention of his need for survival. While Rousseau expresses a clear and firm sensitivity toward animals in his text, in his Second Discourse he does not make a solid case for vegetarianism.
Rousseau begins his discourse through a conceit regarding the difficulty of reconstructing the primitive man faultlessly. Much like the corroded status of Glaucus, over time man evolved to a barely recognizable state, and because of this Rousseau is only able to provide his judgment of the natural man (Rousseau 91). Some may ...view middle of the document...

So while the natural man may be carnivorous it is not with the intention of harming fellow organisms, but with the sheer intention of survival.
His desires do not exceed his physical needs, but the necessity of his nourishment takes some precedence over his gentle nature (Rousseau 116). Each animal looks after himself, as self-preservation is of the utmost importance, however while harmless the natural man does not have a true focus on the preservation of his environment. “A quality that, being common to beast and man, ought at least to give the one the right not to be uselessly mistreated by the other,” through this statement Rousseau accentuates man’s nature to refrain from harming inessentially, but rather in a manner which assures sustenance (Rousseau 96).
Eventually as some level of competition becomes present, there is a branching out for survival and competition over resources (Rousseau 143). Some may argue that Rousseau presents a theme of vegetarianism in his text, but it is important to cite his feelings that nature did not destine man to be healthy (Rousseau 110). Domesticated animals become stagnant in the state of nature, “and it might be said that all our cares to treat and feed these animals well end only in their degeneration,” (Rousseau 111). Rousseau claims that nature favors animals that are in its care, which is why they have a greater inclination of being strong and healthy. Part of nature’s care and keeping animal’s from their unfortunate conclusion...

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