11 December 2011
Reveries of a Solitary Walker
Rousseau's ideas about how to live this life include a major theme of how to live with our fellow human beings, who, in Rousseau's case created an atmosphere of persecution Rousseau felt obligated to escape. Rousseau concludes, "The suffering which I do not actually feel has not the slightest effect on me; the persecutor whom I do not see is as nothing to me. I realize this gives an advantage to those who control my destiny. So let them control it as they wish.I would prefer them to torment me unhindered than to be forced to think about them in order to protect myself from their blows." He continues that "All I can do in such circumstances is to forget as quickly as possible and run away. My heart's distress disappears with the object that caused it, and I calm again as soon as I am alone." His brief stay on the island was to him a paradise. He preferred to botanize rather than take part in man-made strife. I would like to compare his thoughts to Thoreau's in Walden.