Kant was a big fan of Rousseau's. It's a, it's a curious thing because they were so different in temperament. Kant was the kind of guy that had such a regular life that people are said to have set their watches by that, you know, when, when he took his walk every day because he took it at exactly the same time. And the story goes that Kant one day didn't come out for his walk and everybody was shocked, they were worried about him. In his little village and they found out later on that he had received a book by Rousseau that day and he was so engrossed that he couldn't leave his chair. I don't know if that is true but it's a good story. Rousseau was an engrossing writer, an emotional writer. a man who wrote about being stirred by his passions. and and he stirred the passions of others as we'll see in the next few lectures. Our first text by Rousseau is called the often the first Discourse, it's the Discourse on, on the Arts and Sciences. And it is a great way to begin with Rousseau. Because it shows, what, most important thing for us in this course about John Jaques Rousseau, which is that he is the, the conscience of the enlightenment. Bad conscience of the enlightenment. He understand everything there is to understand about the enlightenment and he rejects it. He participates in the enlightenment and he turns against it. Rousseau is a thinker of, of radical contrasts, not trying steer a middle course. Not trying to steer a middle course like Conte but trying to dig to the bottom, and then often with extreme, extreme implications. I, I, I wanted to just read you a little bit of, of, from Rousseau's confessions about How he decided, to write the First Discourse. He says, One day I took the Mercure de France, and, that's a newspaper, and glancing through it as I walked, I came upon this question propounded, propounded by the Dijon Academy for the next year's prize. Here's the question, Has the progress of the sciences and arts done more to corrupt morals, or to improve them. The moment I read this, I beheld another universe, Rousseau wrote. And became another man. When I reached Vansend/g, he was going to Vansend to visit his sometimes friend Diderot, when I reached Vansend I was in a state of agitation bordering on delirium. Rousseau says later that he was lost after he took this step because he became then a writer. He became a man of reflection and that, that for Rousseau means that he, he was no longer a natural man. We'll come back to that in subsequent lectures. But Rousseau is this, person of enthusiasms a person who embraces passion. even as he writes about the distortion. Of the passions. So let's talk a little bit about the first discourse, today. The discourse on, the arts and sciences. Have the arts and sciences, contributed to morals? You, you, you, you see, Rousseau knew that everyone expected. Folks to write in and say oh, the arts and sciences they're doing great and they're helping us progress. They're helping us like the world better, be more at home in the world. As we've said that's what enlightenment is. Arts and sciences, what could be bad. [LAUGH] And Rousseau say's quite the opposite. Very early in the discourse he says, while the government and the laws See to the safety and the well being of men assembled. The sciences, letters, and arts. Less despotic, and perhaps, more powerful. The sciences, and arts, and letters spread garlands of flowers over the iron chains with which they are laden. The arts and sciences throttle our original freedom for which we seem born and they make us love our slavery. This is how they fashion us, Rousseau says, into civilized peoples. So here you have Rousseaus opening salvo. The arts and sciences cover up our oppression, that's what they They do. They disguise our oppression. They make us forget that we're not free. Even worse, they make us love our slavery, Roseaux says. The arts and sciences, don't promote knowledge and understanding, they promote tyranny and inequality. This is the argument of Rousseau's first discourse. So, I never missed a class. I was so proud of this, cause I, and I loved school. I loved school. Here I am, I'm still in the same place, I love it. And I told my daughter one day, she was saying something, you know, I never missed a class and she said, Daddy, you weren't at college, you were in class. You, all you had was a classroom experience. You never had the real college experience. You, nerd. Your brother, Uncle Rick, he had a great time. He has friends from college. They still go out and party. You want to go to like, continuing education. I see a book because I really like that. And she said to me, make you love your slavery. [LAUGH] They did a good job on you daddy. How did they do that? In a word, Rousseau says, the arts and science do this. They they create a disguise for our oppression. Because the arts and sciences create new needs. Create new forms of dependence. Take a look at the footnote on five. in, the discourse on the arts and sciences. He writes, princes know that all needs which a people impose on itself are so many chains. Which it assumes. What yoke, Roseaux writes, could be imposed on men who need nothing. What yoke could be imposed on men who need nothing? So Roseaux's problem with the Arts and Sciences, is that they are luxurious, they have become luxuries. And as luxuries, they promote in us, new forms of dependence. We don't, need them to begin with, but once we have the Arts and Sciences, and if we're, then are deprived of them at some point, we feel pain, we feel we're missing something. And for Roseaux, this creation of new needs, new vulnerability, New dependencies is a form of degradation, not progress. Arts and science modernity, enlightenment as forms of degradation and corruption. From the first discourse again, what conclusion is to be drawn, what conclusion is to be drawn. From this paradox so worthy of being born in our time; and what will become of virtue when one has to get rich at all costs? The ancient political thinkers, Rosseau wrote, here's our key sentence. The ancient political thinkers forever spoke of morals and virtue; ours speak only of commerce. And money. So Rousseau's criticism of enlightenment and the arts and sciences become criticism of luxury. And then they become a criticism of the economic relationships of his time, Remember in Rousseau's writing in 18th century France, the three estates, The clergy, the aristocracy, and then the peasants. The peasants making up, and the middle class, really, in that third estate, making up the vast majority of the population. A whole system built on inequality. And what Rousseau is saying in the first discourse, is that the arts and sciences end the Enlightenment, by implication. Actually disguise this inequality. Making us suffer more from it, because we don't see it clearly. So Rousseau goes back in the first discourse to talk about, human beings prior to their corruption by the arts and the sciences. and he, he writes that in those good old days, in those good old days we were simpler. We were content to be more honest with one another. Because we didn't have all of these disguises, to deceive ourselves, and our fellow man. In paragraph 53, in paragraph 53, Rousseau writes about this relationship of learning and luxury. I quote from him again. What gives rise to all of these abuses, Rousseau writes, if not the fatal inequality introduced among men By the distinction of talents, and the disparagement of the virtues. This is the most obvious effect, the most obvious effect, of all of our studies. And the most dangerous in its consequences. The most dangerous in its consequences. Because what happens, Rousseau says. When you have Enlightenment, you have the arts and sciences making so called progress. Is, you get some people who seem to be really smart, and other people who aren't so smart. You begin to get some people who look up to the writer, the philosopher, the scientist. And say, oh, I wish I could be like that. And for Rousseau, at that moment, you have introduced a whole form of corruption. That it's going to be a slippery slope for human beings because they will try to be someone they are not. They will try to be someone they are not and for Rousseau that is a form of dishonesty. And he says writers get into this mode all the time. Scientists thinkers get into this mode all the time. They are performing for someone else. They are creating luxuries introducing inequality, and under the guise of promoting knowledge they are promoting a kind of dishonesty we might call today inauthenticity. They are not being themselves. So Rousseau's first discourse A radical text in enlightenment because he's not defending the status quo and I think this is really important and I want to make sure I get this clear to you. [LAUGH] because there are plenty of people in the 18th century who don't like the enlightenment, they say, we don't want the people to learn. We don't want the people to be educated. They can't handle it. They can't handle the truth. So they, we want to, we want ourselves to keep the power because we're so good. We're the aristocrats we're the monarchies officers. We're, we're the rich and powerful. We deserve our powers and our privileges they say. The enlightenment is too dangerous they say. Or they say we can't have the enlightenment because the enlightenment is eroding faith. And we want more religion. We want more faith. We want more belief. We don't want questioning they say. These are enemies of the enlightenment. And that Rousseau comes along and he's an enemy of the enlightenment but he his not conservative like those other folks. He does not want to preserve the status quo. He isn't saying the enlightenment's not radical enough [LAUGH]. The enlightenment's not radical enough, Rosseau is saying. The enlightenment is actually disguising oppression under the guise of offering us more freedom and autonomy. So what we're so saying is you guys in the enlightenment think you're actually disturbing the status quo, but you are promoting the most important ingredient in the status quo, which is inequality. The taste for luxury. The demand for, for distinction which leads to inauthenticity and dishonesty. This, he says, is the slippery slope of modernity. We're getting further and further away from who we naturally should be, who we are by nature. Now, we get to the, the last section of the first discourse, which is such a surprise. It really as you read this you hear all this radical talk. About the corruption through modernity and the slippery slope of enlightenment. You get to the end of the first discourse and his recommendation is really is, is, is, is really a surprise. That is, in the end, he says let learned men of the first rank find honorable asylum in the courts of kings. Learned men of the first rank should be brought in to the political establishment. [LAUGH]. He's just told us why inequality is so bad, how we have to slippery slope of enlightenment. In the end, what he says is the cure. I actually have to give the smart people power. Why does he say that? Well, you could be skeptical and say, well, because he wants a job, right? [LAUGH]. He wants to get into the the mix. I don't think that's accurate. and it's certainly not generous. What Rousseau is saying at the end, is something that we will be consistent about as we'll see in his other discourses. Which is, you can't go backwards, you can't go back to where you were before. You can't strip off your enlightenment and go backwards. So this is the diasese, the cure, is to use learned men, to try to institute political change. That would at least be less dishonest than having learned men on the outside of power just making fun of the people with power but not actually doing anything about it. Bring power and education together, Rosseau was saying. That's the best hope we can, we have. But I want to emphasise this that is that, that, that Rousseau is a diagnostician more than he is a a, a physician who treats something. He diagnoses the problem, that is what his contribution is most centrally. In this text the last part seems less satisfying at least to me than the diagnosis. The treatment is given very quickly. and, and it's, it's not sketched out very much at all. It's not his job. What his job was, was to show you what you think you were so proud of, what you think was so great about modernity, what you think was so great about education is actually making us worse. That's his warning. That's his critique. That's a lot. And we should be grateful for it, I think. Next time, we'll see how he carries it forward in the second discourse. See you then.