The noble savage
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The Noble Savage. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. “Everything is good when it leaves the hands of the Creator; everything degenerates in the hands of man. God makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil.”.

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The Noble Savage

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The noble savage

The Noble Savage

Jean-Jacques Rousseau


The noble savage

“Everything is good when it leaves the hands of the Creator; everything degenerates in the hands of man. God makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil.”


The noble savage

  • “Savage man, left by Nature to bare instinct alone ... will then begin with purely animal functions.... His desires do not exceed his physical needs; the only goods he knows in the Universe are food, a female, and rest.”


The noble savage

  • "In reality, the difference is, that the savage lives within himself while social man lives outside himself and can only live in the opinion of others, so that he seems to receive the feeling of his own existence only from the judgement of others concerning him. It is not to my present purpose to insist on the indifference to good and evil which arises from this disposition, in spite of our many fine works on morality, or to show how, everything being reduced to appearances, there is but art and mummery in even honour, friendship, virtue, and often vice itself, of which we at length learn the secret of boasting; to show, in short, how abject we are, and never daring to ask ourselves in the midst of so much philosophy, benevolence, politeness, and of such sublime codes of morality, we have nothing to show for ourselves but a frivolous and deceitful appearance, honour without virtue, reason without wisdom, and pleasure without happiness."


The noble savage

  • “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.”


The noble savage

  • "I know that [civilized men] do nothing but boast incessantly of the peace and repose they enjoy in their chains.... But when I see [barbarous man] sacrifice pleasures, repose, wealth, power, and life itself for the preservation of this sole good which is so disdained by those who have lost it; when I see animals born free and despising captivity break their heads against the bars of their prison; when I see multitudes of entirely naked savages scorn European voluptuousness and endure hunger, fire, the sword, and death to preserve only their independence, I feel it does not behoove slaves to reason about freedom."


The noble savage

  • “Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves.”


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