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paper1 edit1 - Spiegel 1 Marissa Spiegel T. M. Lemos...

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Spiegel 1 Marissa Spiegel T. M. Lemos Writing 150 O3 21 February 2008 The Origins of Human Violence Popular culture assumes that the savage man was violent, aggressive, and brutish until he was “civilized” by modern society but some philosophers have found exactly the opposite. According to the written works of Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and René Girard, the origin of human violence can be traced back to humanity’s transition from a natural state into societal structure with competition, interdependence, and group thinking. Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher during the English Civil War, saw the natural man as a greedy, brutish wild man that would destroy society. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a French writer, thought the crude man as a noble savage corrupted and weakened by societal inequalities. René Girard, a modern French anthropologist, viewed the societal man as a jealous, needy, and vindictive individual warped by desire. Hobbes, Rousseau, and Girard wrote and theorized about the origin of human violence along with man’s natural state in different socio-political environments and it can be concluded that human violence began with man’s departure from the savage state of nature into society where his intentions were distorted and remain altered to this day. Jean-Jacques Rousseau theorized that humans naturally had good intentions and that these intentions were demonstrated in nature. Once the savage man was removed from nature and thrust into society, his innocence was lost. Pre-societal man was neither just nor wicked; the noble savage did not have a moral sense of right and wrong. In his
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Spiegel 2 writing, Discourses of Inequality , Rousseau discusses the savage man’s basic needs only extending to his physical environment, “the only good he knows in the universe are nourishment, a woman and rest; the only evil he fears are pain and hunger” (Rousseau 126). Rousseau describes the noble savage acting with animal-like aggression and no malicious objectives. Rousseau admires the savage man for his freedom from social constraints and vices along with his self-sufficiency. Rousseau argues that the savage man is more than simply an animal thanks to his free will and drive for perfection. Rousseau also reasoned that primitive humans had a natural disposition to feel
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course WR 150 O3 taught by Professor Lemos during the Spring '08 term at BU.

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paper1 edit1 - Spiegel 1 Marissa Spiegel T. M. Lemos...

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