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Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Conception Of Happiness

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It is clear that Rousseau is of the belief that human beings are born with a diversity of senses which they can use to experience their surroundings and interpret them according to the way they are received in their senses. This basically means that from birth human are affected by their surroundings and are able to experience certain emotions towards those surrounding objects. It is then to be said that as soon as we obtain consciousness of our senses, we will seek or avoid the surroundings which have an impact on them, etc. if we find that ice cream brings you joy one will seek more of it, and if one finds roller coasters as terrifying, they will avoid them.

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In Emile Rousseau firstly renders a definition of human nature in teleological references, referring to it as a natural rule, direction etc. that is to be associated with development that takes place within the course of human life span. In Emile education in its hypothetical sense shows man’s development according to that direction. It is important to note that through the growth/development of man, nature points Emile towards the direction of organic happiness- the acquired balance between what man wants (their desires) and their physical capabilities (the power that they possess. Though Rousseau’s program of negative education which was formed from the observation of its rule, is insurance that Emile keeps to the path of nature. Nurturing him as a child “according to the constitution of humans” and by “the force of things” alone, negative education protected Emile’s soul from the use of power in a no ethical or cruel way (gaining pleasure at other people’s expense) and misplaced aggression, and turns such into positive and constructive ideas that are necessary for human development and progression. Possessing that idea from early in his infancy, Emile will come to acquire healthy passions for the natural pleasures-including his use of his natural freedom-and, eventually, for virtue. The principles underlying Emile’s early education also underpin important aspects of Rousseau’s political thought.

Rousseau’s mothers rightly intuit that nature wants a child to have contact with happiness or at least immediate sentiment, a feeling simply. Nature does not intend and infant to actively seek happiness through what they have experience, in fact Rousseau suggests that the human spirit does not possess the ability to predict what happens in the future, happiness seems to be- and it is not- a pre-mental planning and the will’s doings

According to Rousseau, the natural place for humans is a state where they opposing forces are balanced, between man’s desires and man’s available power, which is understood by Rousseau as power that is granted to an individual through human inheritance which is part of the human nature. Thus it is safe to say that man’s place is in the balances of his desires (what he wants) and his power (what he can achieve through his own efforts and strength). Man should desire what is within his physical capabilities and not that which is beyond, to minimize disappointment and increase happiness.

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