Author Topic: Voltaire and Rousseau are like Jacob and his nemesis  (Read 547 times)

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Voltaire and Rousseau are like Jacob and his nemesis
« on: May 16, 2009, 11:08:28 AM »
In Voltaire's wonderful sf classic Micromegas, two celestial giants traverse the heavens by planet hopping and riding on comets. They stop on earth and in a way similar to Horton Hears a Who, they communicate with philosophers who are on a ship. The giants are so huge, the people of earth are practically atomic by comparison and the giants are very amused by their warring nature and presume that they have a very limited understanding of the nature of existence. The giants question the humans for their amusement.

to quote just a small portion of this short story:

 A little student of Locke was standing near; and when his opinion was at last asked: "I know nothing," said he, " of how I think, but I know I have never thought except on the suggestion of my senses. That there are immaterial and intelligent substances is not what I doubt; but that it is impossible for God to communicate the faculty of thought to matter is what I doubt very strongly. I adore the eternal Power, nor is it my part to limit its exercise; I assert nothing, I content myself with believing that more is possible than people think."

The giants remind me of Jacob and the Black shirt guy.

A contemporary and intellectual enemy of Voltaire was fellow poet Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Unlike Voltaire who believed that man could separate himself from the beast through reason and education, Rousseau argued that mankind was doomed because of our tendency to become corrupted by our society and institutions.

These two remind me of Jacob and the Black shirt guy as well...