While I do not like reading political and philosophical books Rousseau’s A Discourse on Inequality was strangely enough an interesting read. Rousseau’s book is an easier read than many of the other books related to politics and philosophy which we read over the semester and yet it is the easiest one to read out of all of them. Rousseau uses interesting and diverse imagery in order to emphasize the points he is making and those images help to highlight his own character and personal traits such as the idea of the cows which cry when they are about to go to the slaughter house and other animal comparisons (such as when he compares the rich people to wolves) showing the importance that animals played in his mind and his writing. Rousseau also mentions ancient Greece and Rome when he compares how Nature treats them to how the Law of Sparta “treated the children of its citizens”; he also mentions Ceres and the festival “Thesmophoria” which is festival in honor of Ceres (or Demeter in Ancient Greece) I learned about in a Greek/Roman myth class and it strange that he mentions this particular festival because it is an all female ritual which was held near the seat of male power in Athens. Since Rousseau does not really mention women throughout his essay it is interesting to note that one of the only times that he does reference them (in any way) he talks about a ritual which showed a strong female character in a patriarchal society being worshiped so near the male seat of power.
Another facet of Rousseau’s essay I found particularly interesting was the idea of the tree being pictured in the mind. Rousseau points out that the second imagination enters all general ideas become “particular” – then they are no longer one out of a large number, instead they become unique. Upon further htought it is almost impossible for two people to imagine the same tree (although now it is less impossible because of media and films, if I were to mention the White Tree of Gondor I’m sure almost everyone could imagine the same tree, but even then it would be dependent on how you remembered the same tree) with exceptions and yet even if the trees were almost the same something or the other would be different because of perspective and the person imagining the tree. Rousseau’s idea that imagination changes things is fascinating and something I feel like we all live with and forget to really think about on a daily basis. How unique our imagination really is.