Top Rousseau Quotes

Browse top 30 famous quotes and sayings about Rousseau by most favorite authors.

Favorite Rousseau Quotes

1. "Our Nation, a great stage for the acting out of great thoughts, presents the classic confrontation between Locke's views of the state of nature and Rousseau's criticism of them... Nature is raw material, worthless without the mixture of human labor; yet nature is also the highest and most sacred thing. The same people who struggle to save the snail-darter bless the pill, worry about hunting deer and defend abortion. Reverence for nature, mastery of nature- whichever is convenient."
Author: Allan Bloom
2. "Throughout the world what remains of the vast public spaces are now only the stuff of legends: Robin Hood's forest, the Great Plains of the Amerindians, the steppes of the nomadic tribes, and so forth… Rousseau said that the first person who wanted a piece of nature as his or her own exclusive possession and transformed it into the transcendent form of private property was the one who invented evil. Good, on the contrary, is what is common."
Author: Antonio Negri
3. "It is passing strange that our philosophers of the Revolutionary period should have formed their conception of a free society by reference to societies where everyone was not free - where, in fact, the vast majority were not free. It is no less strange that they never stopped to ask whether perhaps the characters which they so much admired were not made possible by the existence of a class which was not free. Rousseau, in whose philosophy were many things, was fully conscious of this difficulty: "Must we say that liberty is possible only on a basis of slavery? Perhaps we must."
Author: Bertrand De Jouvenel
4. "I am a democrat [proponent of democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man.I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government.The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they're not true. . . . I find that they're not true without looking further than myself. I don't deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. . . .The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters."
Author: C.S. Lewis
5. "[Rousseau is] the person whom I most revere both for the Force of [his] Genius and the Greatness of [his] mind [...]"
Author: David Hume
6. "The egalitarian mania of demagogues is even more dangerous than the brutality of men in gallooned coats. For the anarch, this remains theoretical, because he avoids both sides. Anyone who has been oppressed can get back on his feet if the oppression has not cost him his life. A man who has been equalized is physically and morally ruined. Anyone who is different is not equal; that is one of the reasons why the Jews are so often targeted. Equalization goes downward, like shaving, hedge trimming, or the pecking order of poultry. At times, the world spirit seems to change into monstrous Procrustes – a man has read Rousseau and starts practicing equality by chopping off heads or, as Mimie le Bon called it, 'making the apricots roll.' The guillotinings in Cambrai were an entertainment before dinner. Pygmies shortened the legs of tall Africans in order to cut them down to size; white Negroes flatten the literary languages."
Author: Ernst Jünger
7. "Jean-Jacques Rousseau zufolge entsteht Zivilisation dann, wenn die Menschheit Schranken errichtet. [...] Demnach ist jede Zivilisation das Resultat von Schranken und Unfreiheit. Nur die Aborigines in Australien sind anders. Bis ins 17. Jahrhundert hatten sie eine Zivilisation ohne Schranken. Sie waren von Grund auf frei. Sie gingen, wann es ihnen gefiel, wohin es ihnen gefiel, um zu tun, was ihnen gefiel. Ihr Leben war buchstäblich eine einzige Wanderschaft. Das Umherziehen war die profunde Metapher des Lebens. Als die Engländer kamen und Zäune für ihr Vieh bauten, begriffen die Aborigines den Sinn davon nicht. Da sie nicht imstande waren, dieses Prinzip zu verstehen, jagte man sie als asoziale, gefährliche Wesen in die Wildnis. Deshalb solltest auch du auf der Hut sein [...]. Auf dieser Welt haben letztlich die Menschen die besten Überlebenschancen, die hohe, dauerhafte Zäune errichten. Wenn du die nicht anerkennst, wirst du in die Wildnis gejagt."
Author: Haruki Murakami
8. "L'homme n'est ni bon ni méchant, il naît avec des instincts et des aptitudes ; la Société, loin de le dépraver, comme l'a prétendu Rousseau, le perfectionne, le rend meilleur ; mais l'intérêt développe aussi ses penchants mauvais. Le christianisme, et surtout le catholicisme, étant, comme je l'ai dit dans le Médecin de Campagne, un système complet de répression des tendances dépravées de l'homme, est le plus grand élément d'Ordre Social."
Author: Honoré De Balzac
9. "I became the stage for the great argument between Nietzsche and Rousseau. I was the extra ready to take on all the roles."
Author: Jacques Derrida
10. "Let us narrow the arguments down further. In certain respects, the theme of supplementarity is certainly no more than one theme among others. It is in a chain, carried by it. Perhaps one could substitute something else for it. But it happens that this theme describes the chain itself, the being-chain of a textual chain, the structure of substitution, the articulation of desire and of language, the logic of all conceptual oppositions taken over by Rousseau…It tells us in a text what a text is, it tells us in writing what writing it, in Rousseau's writing it tells us Jean-Jacque's desire etc…the concept of the supplement and the theory of writing designate textuality itself in Rousseau's text in an indefinitely multiplied structure—en abyme."
Author: Jacques Derrida
11. "Mais ce qui ne passera pas, c'est cette impression de découverte de soi que la lecture de Rousseau procure et qui est différente de celle de saint Augustin; car le péché n'est au fond ni l'homo peccator, ni l'homo poenitens, ni l'homo innocens, comme j'ai semblé le dire. Ce n'est pas le fauve ou le renard, le lion, ni même l'âne de la fable qu'il retrouve en nous. C'est le presque-saint, l'ange titubant, le menteur affamé de sincérité, le médiocre hanté par l'idée du parfait. En somme, ce n'est ni le saint, le héros, ni le pécheur ou le pervers : c'est le troisième homme, pécheur inconscient, fils prodigue et qui se pardonne généreusement. C'est le pauvre diable. C'est le pauvre homme. C'est l'homme.Est-ce là le suprême détour de l'orgueil! Est-ce l'humilité vraie sans la vanité de se savoir humble!"
Author: Jean Guitton
12. "»Die Gewohnheit hat mich das Landleben so sehr liebgewinnen lassen, dass ich sofort vor Traurigkeit sterben würde, könnte ich keine blühenden Bäume mehr von Nahem sehen; das ist wohl keine gute Ausgangslage, um die schwarzen Dämpfe in den Straßen dieser großen Stadt einzuatmen, (…).[Rousseau an Comtesse de Boufflers, Môtiers-Travers, 20. August 1762]"
Author: Jean Jacques Rousseau
13. "The presence of cats exercises such a magic influence upon highly organized men of intellect. This is why these long-tailed Graces of the animal kingdom...have been the favorite animal of a Mahommed, Cardinal Richelieu, Crebillon, Rousseau, Wieland."
Author: Leopold Von Sacher Masoch
14. "And I'm afraid it really is a jungle too," pursued the Consul, "in fact I expect Rousseau to come riding out of it at any moment on a tiger." "What's that?" Mr Quincey said, frowning in a manner that might have meant: And God never drinks before breakfast either."On a tiger," the Consul repeated.The other gazed at him a moment with the cold sardonic eye of the material world. "I expect so," he said sourly. "Plenty tigers. Plenty elephants too... Might I ask you if the next time you inspect your jungle you'd mind being sick on your own side of the fence?"
Author: Malcolm Lowry
15. "As individuals, great writers from Villon to Diderot to Voltaire toRousseau to Byron or Shelley have often shown themselves to beirresponsible, selfish, mean or sometimes even cowardly people. Their lives were drab or self destructive or reckless.We read them for their Words, not for their deeds."
Author: Max Vegaritter
16. "Active people don't change the world profoundly; ideas do. Napoleon is less important in world history than Jean-Jacques Rousseau."
Author: Michel Houellebecq
17. "Phidias and the achievements of Greek art are foreshadowed in Homer: Dante prefigures for us the passion and colour and intensity of Italian painting: the modern love of landscape dates from Rousseau, and it is in Keats that one discerns the beginning of the artistic renaissance of England. Byron was a rebel and Shelley a dreamer; but in the calmness and clearness of his vision, his perfect self-control, his unerring sense of beauty and his recognition of a separate realm for the imagination, Keats was the pure and serene artist, the forerunner of the pre-Raphaelite school, and so of the great romantic movement of which I am to speak."
Author: Oscar Wilde
18. "Most of us know, now, that Rousseau was wrong: that man, when you knock his chains off, sets up the death camps. Soon we shall know everything the 18th century didn't know, and nothing it did, and it will be hard to live with us."
Author: Randall Jarrell
19. "The law of gravity and gravity itself did not exist before Isaac Newton." ...and what that means is that that law of gravity exists nowhere except in people's heads! It 's a ghost!"Mind has no matter or energy but they can't escape its predominance over everything they do. Logic exists in the mind. numbers exist only in the mind. I don't get upset when scientists say that ghosts exist in the mind. it's that only that gets me. science is only in your mind too, it's just that that doesn't make it bad. or ghosts either."Laws of nature are human inventions, like ghosts. Law of logic, of mathematics are also human inventions, like ghosts."...we see what we see because these ghosts show it to us, ghosts of Moses and Christ and the Buddha, and Plato, and Descartes, and Rousseau and Jefferson and Lincoln, on and on and on. Isaac Newton is a very good ghost. One of the best. Your common sense is nothing more than the voices of thousands and thousands of these ghosts from the past."
Author: Robert M. Pirsig
20. "Rousseau pounced. Men who dislike cats were tyrannical: "They do not like cats because the cat is free and will never consent to become a slave."
Author: Robert Zaretsky
21. "Rousseau identified reason as the disease for which it pretended to be the cure."
Author: Robert Zaretsky
22. "Ecartons donc de mon esprit tous les penibles objets dont Je m'occuperais aussi doulouresement qu'inutilement...Les rêverie du promeneur solitaireJ.J. Rousseau"
Author: Rousseau
23. "Rousseau and his disciples were resolved to force men to be free; in most of the world, they triumphed; men are set free from family, church, town, class, guild; yet they wear, instead, the chains of the state, and they expire of ennui or stifling lone lines."
Author: Russell Kirk
24. "She used to imagine her parents and happy endings she would never have. Now she envisioned torments that were all too real.She pictured one of Cinderella's stepsisters planting her foot on a cutting board - and biting down hard as the cleaver chopped through the bone of her big toe.She imagined a princess used to safety, luxury, throwing the rank hide of a donkey over her shoulders, its boneless face drooping past her forehead like a hideous veil.And she imagined her future self, flat on her back in bed, limbs as heavy as if they'd been chained down. Mice scurried across her body, leaving footprints on her dress. Spiders spun an entire trousseau's worth of silk and draped her in it, so it appeared she wore a gown of the finest lace, adorned with rose petals and ensnared butterflies. Beetles nestled between her fingers like jeweled rings - lovely from a distance, horrific up close."
Author: Sarah Cross
25. "Rousseau pensaba que era bueno estar solo a veces y que quizá nuestras naturalezas florecían con la máxima pureza en esas ocasiones."
Author: Sena Jeter Naslund
26. "War der Mensch bei seiner Geburt eine tabula rasa, ungeformt und ohne Ideen, bereit, von der Gesellschaft beschrieben zu werden, erziehbar und imstande, auf dem Weg zur Vervollkommnung voranzuschreiten? Oder stellte die Gesellschaft, wie Rousseau behauptete, einen verderblichen Einfluss dar und nicht das Fundament alles Richtigen und Guten?"
Author: T.C. Boyle
27. "Universities are no longer educational in any sense of the word that Rousseau would have recognised. Instead, they have become unabashed instruments of capital. Confronted with this squalid betrayal, one imagines he would have felt sick and oppressed."
Author: Terry Eagleton
28. "Joie est mon caractere,C'est la faute a Voltaire;Misere est mon trousseauC'est la faute a Rousseau.[Joy is my character,'Tis the fault of Voltaire;Misery is my trousseau'Tis the fault of Rousseau.]- Gavroche"
Author: Victor Hugo
29. "I have received your new book against the human race, and thank you for it. Never was such a cleverness used in the design of making us all stupid. One longs, in reading your book, to walk on all fours. But as I have lost that habit for more than sixty years, I feel unhappily the impossibility of resuming it. Nor can I embark in search of the savages of Canada, because the maladies to which I am condemned render a European surgeon necessary to me; because war is going on in those regions; and because the example of our actions has made the savages nearly as bad as ourselves. [in response to Rousseau's "The Social Contract"]"
Author: Voltaire
30. "Etymologically, "compassion" means to suffer together. "Together," however, is different from "identically." Compassion is not the same as selflessness, and not really the opposite of selfishness. Rather, it provides a basis for helping other people that is materially disinterested but emotionally self-regarding. As Rousseau wrote in Emile, "When the strength of an expansive soul makes me identify myself with my fellow, and I feel that I am, so to speak, in him, it is in order not to suffer that I do not want him to suffer. I am interested in him for love of myself..." Or, as Jean Bethke Elshtain has said, "Pity is about how deeply I can feel. And in order to feel this way, to experience the rush of my own pious reaction, I need victims the way an addict needs drugs."
Author: William Voegeli

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Then, in a further challenge to reality and because of the way she felt towards them, Chloe would (with the grin of a six-year-old child facing the power of its hostile impulses) tell her parents she could kill them by shutting her eyes and never thinking of them again - a plan which no doubt elicit a profoundly unphilosophical response from the parents."
Author: Alain De Botton

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