Monday, May 04, 2009

Jean Jacques Rousseau on developing a trade

Jean Jacques Rousseau from Emile:
" a state of society, where he must be necessarily maintained at the expense of the community, he certainly owes the state so much labour as will pay for his subsistence; and this without exception to rank or persons. To labour, then, is the indispensible duty of social or political man. Rich or poor, strong or weak, every idle citizen is a knave..."

"My child learn a trade! make my son a mechanic! consider, sir, what you advise--I do madam, I consider this matter better than you, who would reduce your child to the necessity of being a lord, a marquis, or a prince, or perhaps one day or other to be less than nothing. I am desirous of investing him with a title that cannot be taken from him, that will in all times and places command respect; and, I can tell you, what every you may think of it, he will have fewer equals in this rank than in what he may derive from you.

The letter destroys and the spirit maketh alive. I would not have him learn a trade, merely for the sake of knowing how to exercise it, but that he may overcome the prejudices usually conceived against it. You will never be reduced, you say, to work for your bread. So much the worse for you; I say, so much the worse. But, no matter; if you labour not through necessity, do it for reputation. Stoop to the situation of an artisan that you may raise yourself above your own. To make fortune subservient to your will, you must begin by rendering yourself independent. To triumph in the opinion of the world, you must begin by despising that opinion."

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