Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/129

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ence—is a natural consequence of this spontaneous expansion.

However when the distinction between individuals makes itself felt, due to the rise of comparative reflection, self-assertion (amour de soi), in itself free and noble, becomes egoism (amour propre). Dependence, discontent, vanity, envy and lust for power manifest themselves. And to this must be added the division of labor which social life evolves. Faculties and accomplishments are specialized and the perfect, harmonious and all-round development of personality is suppressed. Mental life is broken to pieces and rendered artificial. With Rousseau the demand to return to nature is therefore identical with the demand that man shall once more become a unit; Rendez I'homme uni—This sense of completeness and unity, experienced in the freedom of nature with which he became so well acquainted during the vagabond journeys of his youth, grew upon Rousseau with an extraordinary power and freshness. He is the first to have given enthusiastic expression to the genuine joy to be found in the solitude of nature and in the appreciation of the beauties of nature.

The more profoundly he reflected upon his ideas the clearer it became to Rousseau (as had also been the case with Shaftesbury before him) that the contradiction between nature and culture could be only a matter of degree. When he declaims against science and art, he really means only the science and art of his own age which was so utterly devoid of originality, whilst he praised the great investigators of the Renaissance and the seventeenth century. Even genius is likewise a form of spontaneous development, rather than the product of imitation or discipline. Culture is a good thing and natural in itself, so long as it harmonizes with the stage of human development; indeed