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A lovely and refreshing little read The book is easy on the eyes and flows very smoothly A book that captures Rousseau s daydreams while walking rather therapeutic and even sometimes thought provoking Its a light and refreshing read for philosophy lovers who want to cleanse their palate between long philosophical texts. Revery seems to have fallen out of favor nowadays If it s not one of ten million authorities emphasizing the need for efficiency and planned action, or modern evolutionists of all sorts in business, in fitness, in the arts convincing us that if what we re doing isn t in the name of advancement and improvement then it s not worth doing, or just us telling ourselves that we must keep up with everything and everyone else and so have no time to swim around in our own selves revery has become the stepsister of onanism I suspect that first cable television and now the internet on top of it have become our objects of revery and often even do the reverying for us Or rather TRY to do it, for these are surely only false reveries But what does revery even mean I have an immediate vague notion of pointless daydreaming or being lost in thought , and I think that s pretty close but the old style revery involved even , it wasakin to out of body travel, soul travel, living in a waking dream One would gaze at something and enter that something and begin to travel through one s mind Or one would walk and through the rhythm of the walking memories and thoughts would be dislodged and multiple chains of associative reactions would occur and one would truly be lost in thought in an effectively infinite cosmos of the mind, or walk off the edge of a cliff And revery is like walking off that cliff, becoming untethered from the daily grind and habitual patterns, like a vast unbuckling of thought moving every whichaway in a world gone loosy goosy.Rousseau opposes revery to thought, saying that he has never been a great thinker and by this I think he s saying that thought is the active manipulation of our mind and soul activity into intentional patterns, a directed activity with often preconceived ideas while revery is passive, unintentional, non conceptual.There s a lot of self pitying in this book, butthan that it s a book of almost heroic honesty and self revelation and it s a thrill to read his thoughts move back and forth between rancor and venom spat out at his contemporaries while at the same time saying he hates no one, and some very moving expressions of universal good will and union with nature It s full of stimulating contradictions which makes it just seem all thereal And of course there are also a lot of fruitful reveries, or rather the book is the fruit of the reveries, and it s definitely an apple worth chomping into. If you read his Confessions, which is one of the great autobiographies, possibly the greatest, you will learn that Jean Jacques Rousseau felt himself persecuted by virtually everyone with whom he was associated Even famous figures of the day such as Denis Diderot and the Scottish Philosopher David Hume were counted by Rousseau as his tormentors Although, from my perspective, I am not qualified to pass judgment on the poor man as he saw himself , I do feel that possibly he was a bit too tightly wound up for most human relationships Consider, for instance, that he placed all his children by his wife Therese LeVasseur in an orphanage rather than bring them up himself.The Reveries of the Solitary Walker has a kind of Oedipus at Colonus feeling about it Rousseau is nearing the end of his life and looks back on what brings him tranquility in the midst of all his agitation Among these things is botany, long walks, and joy in meeting simple people especially children who do not recognize him Apparently Rousseau had a complex about being recognized, as he often was, living as he did in Paris I have always considered Rousseau as perhaps one of the most fascinating of all authors who is at the same time so wrong headed At the same time I say to myself that this man is so very wrong, I also admit, But this is really interesting nonetheless The Reveries were my first introduction to Rousseau, and I would recommend them to anyone who would like an introduction to him If a reader finds himself alternately drawn to and repelled by Rousseau, he should move on to The Confessions and then Emile The man is nothing if not sincere, nothing if not brilliant, nothing if not so incredibly f d up. Well, this sounded really good from the description slightly crazy Rousseau at the end of his life, walking, thinking, bitterness, misanthropy, etc.However, in practice, it was like listening to that drunk guy at the bar telling you how everybody is against him, and how he really deserves better, and how he s really a great guy and that he s not really mad at these people he calls them his persecuters no, in fact he s found peace But he emphasizes those last points a little too pointedly, so that you start to think he doesn t really believe it Like he s just saying it to convince himself that it s true Because, really, he s not over the fact that certain people don t like him And you end up not caring if he s really a good guy or not, you just want him to stop talking so you can enjoy your beer.While there are some good ideas and thoughts in here, none of them really blew me away, they all seemed like stuff I would write down in my own diary, only to look back on them and feel a slight twinge of shame And there s not the meandering quality I would associate normally with a walking narrative These are ten well formed essays, with forceful agendas He didn t stop to tell you about his walk, or about something he observed at the corner of Rue Such and such and Avenue de So and So No, none of that, it s all Rousseau all the time He is so much in his own mind that I felt like I was reading a case study in how not to drive yourself crazy I see these tendencies in myself sometimes and I hope I don t ever become like him Reduced to my own self, it is true that I feed on my own substance.And while the writing is not bad, he repeats his points to the point of tedium, and takes so long in saying it, that I fell asleep reading a few of them.PS the Introduction, written by the translator Peter France, is pretty good though, and gives a good context of how these writings fit into Rousseau s larger body of work I do want to readof Rousseau, he was probably a great thinker before he turned sour and inward. ( Download Book ) ☣ Les Rêveries du promeneur solitaire ♝ The Struggle Between Rousseau S Yearning For Solitude And His Need For Society Is The Central Theme Of The ReveriesIn The Two Years Before His Death In , Jean Jacques Rousseau Composed The Ten Meditations Of Reveries Of The Solitary Walker Combining Philosophical Argument With Amusing Anecdotes And Lyrical Desriptive Passages, They Record The Great French Writer S Sense Of Isolation And Alienation From A World Which He Felt Had Rejected His Work As He Wanders Around Paris, Gazing At Plants And Day Dreaming, Rousseau Looks Back Over His Life In Order To Justify His Actions And To Elaborate On His Ideal Of A Well Structured Society Fit For The Noble And Solitary Natural Man
For a long time I put up a resistance as violent as it was fruitless. These hours of solitude and meditation are the only time of the day when I am completely myself, without distraction or hindrance, and when I can truly say that I am what nature intended me to beSecond Walk For, although I am perhaps the only person in the world to whom destiny has decreed that he should live in this way, I cannot believe that I am the only person to have such a natural inclination for it, although I have so far not come across it in anyone elseFifth WalkAll the judgements of men are henceforth of no significance to me . Seventh Walk I am a hundred times happier on my own than I could ever be living with themand whatever they may do, my contemporaries will never mean anything to meFirst Walk Rousseau s Reveries comprise Nine complete Walks, and an unfinished Tenth each being a short essay loosely focused around a particular topic but with frequent digressions.Digressions are not the only point of comparison with Montaigne the catalyst of composition, the light yet profound style the translator picks up on these similarities in his introduction Montaigne s playfulness here, evoking the movement of his thoughts and his own wanderings, points to a third link between his Essays and Rousseau s Reveries they are both texts written on the go In his chapter On Three Kinds of Social Intercourse , he describes how, in his library, sometimes my mind wanders off, at others I walk to and fro, noting down and dictating these whims of mine and in his chapter On Some Lines of Virgil , Montaigne describes how sometimes he thinks best while he is on the move But what displeases me about my soul is that she usually gives birth quite unexpectedly, when I am least on the lookout for them, to her profoundest, her maddest ravings r veries which please me most Then they quickly vanish away because, then and there, I have nothing to jot them down on it happens when I am on my horse or at table or in bed especially on my horse, the seat of my widest musings.Perhaps the last and potentially most far reaching thing that Montaigne s Essays and Rousseau s Reveries have in common is that both texts attempt to portray the twists and turns of each writer s mind Like Montaigne before him, Rousseau forges has identity through a process of spontaneous mental combustion, through the accumulation of thoughts and memories like the Essays, the Reveries paint the portrait of a thinking man as he thinks. Although, tying into the sense of isolation bred by the distaste for society and love of solitude a topic with which, as I did with Leopardi, I found a strong resonance , Rousseau does point out a divergence between the two My task is the same as that of Montaigne, but my aim is the exact opposite of his for he wrote his essays entirely for others, whearas I am writing my reveries entirely for myself. An excellent, if unfortunately concise, work by Rousseau for me, the Reveries did indeed recall Montaigne, as well as Leopardi with Rousseau s musings on the vanities of society.Lots to take away from such a short work Highly recommendedThese pages may be considered as an appendix to my Confessions, but that is not the title I give them .Thrown as a child into the maelstrom of the world, I learned from an early age that I was not made to live in it and that in it I would never reach the state for which my heart longed.It is from this time that I can date my complete renunciation of the wold and that great fondness for solitude that has never left me since The work that I was undertaking could only be accomplished in absolute isolation it called for the kind of long and undisturbed meditations that the tumult of society does not allow That forced me for a time to adopt a different way of life, which I was subsequently so glad to have done that, having since then interrupted it only against my will and for short periods of time I returned to it most readily and limited myself to it quite easily as soon as I couldThe conclusion I can draw from all these reflections is that I have never really been suited to civil society, where there is nothing but irritation, obligation, and duty, and that my independent nature always made me incapable of the constraints required of anyone who wants to live with them.I became a solitary or, as they call it, unsociable and misanthropic, because the fiercest solitude seems to me preferable to the society of the wicked, which thrives only on treachery and hatred.It is in one s youth that one should study wisdom in one s old age one should practice it.I have seen many men who philosophised muchlearnedly than I, but their philosophy was, as it were, external to them Wanting to belearned than anyone else, they studied the universe to find out how it was to be arranged, in the same way as they might have studied some machine the they happened to see, that is, out of pure curiosity They studied human nature in order to be able to speak learnedly about it, but not in order to know themselves they worked in order to instruct others, but not in pursuit of their own inner enlightenmentI have always believed that before instructing others, one has to first know enough for oneself.Their philosophy is for others I need one for myself.But what I feared most in the world, given the state of mind in which I felt myself to be, was endangering the eternal fate of my should for the sake of enjoying worldly riches, the value of which has never seemed to me to be very great.I need to remind myself of my former decisions the care, the attention, and the sincerity of heart with which I took them them come back to mind and restore my complete confidence Thus I reject all new ideas as if they were harmful errors which have only a false appearance of truth and which are the only fit to disturb my peace of mind.Among the small number of books that I still sometimes read, Plutarch is the author whom I enjoy most and find most useful.Very often what does good to one person does harm to another, and private interest is almost always ion conflict with with public interest.consider these two months to be the happiest time in my life, so happy in fact that it would have been enough for me to have lived like that for the whole of my life, without ever feeling in my soul the desire to live in any other state. and finally go off to bed, happy with the day that had passed and wishing only for the next day to be similar.I have noticed, however, in the ups and downs of a long life, that it is not the memory of the periods of the sweetest joys and keenest pleasures that draws me and touches me the most These brief moments of madness and passion, however intense they may be, are, precisely because of their very intensity, only ever scattered points along the line of our life They are too rare and too fleeting to constitute a proper state of being, and the happiness that my heart longs for is not made up of short lived moments, but of a simple and lasting state, which has nothing intense about it in itself, but which is all thecharming because it lasts, so much so that it finally offers the height of happiness.I recovered my serenity, tranquility, peace, and even my happiness, since every day of my life brings me the pleasure of remembering the previous day s happiness, and I desire nothingfor the next day.But most men, being constantly stirred by passion, know little of this state, and, having only ever experienced it imperfectly and briefly, they have only a vague and confused idea of it, which gives them no sense of its charm. Everything for me is merely false and deceptive appearance . Maybe I m psychotic too but I really sympathised with Rousseau and the difficulties plaguing this marvellously intelligent man Reading the Reveries it is so hard to believe that his walks were written over 200 years ago Some may dismiss him as mad but for me I really think he was overly sensitive and suffered for a good part of his life from a persecution complex He was also melodramatic, i.e Everything is finished for me on this earth This doesn t prevent him from writing beautifully In some instances it seems to fuel his writing His contemporaries may have made his life hell by his accounts they are forgotten and Rousseau lives on for his interesting philosophy and his clear readable and expressive style of writing.Yes, he might be considered by many to be vain and self obsessed but his words still ring true Take for instance Shall I allow myself to be tossed eternally to and fro by the sophistries of the eloquent, when I am not even sure that the opinions they preach and press so ardently on others are really their own Touche And this Everything is in constant flux on this earth Nothing keeps the same unchanging shape, and our affections, being attached to things outside us, necessarily change and pass away as they do Always out ahead of us or lagging behind, they recall a past which is gone or anticipate a future which may never come into being there is nothing solid there for the heart to attach itself to Thus our earthly joys are almost without exception the creatures of a moment Beautifully expressed I can go on and on Here is another gem There are very few of our automatic reactions whose cause we cannot discover in our hearts, if we are really capable of looking for it Written in the 1770s It s hard to believe.This is a challenging book but well worth being a 1001 I ll finish with one of my favourite passages with Rousseau writing about his enemies It is also an eloquent note on perception As for me, let them see me if they can, so much the better but this is beyond them, instead of me they will never see anyone but the Jean Jacques they have created and fashioned for themselves so that they can hate me to their heart s content I should be wrong then to be upset by the image they have of me I ought to take no real interest in it, since it is not me that they are seeing Highly recommended. You can see this book as the man looking at his life and seeking a peace with himself Lots of people do I m a sod, though, so I just seen an endless whinge, a complaint lodged with the Almighty for the mistreatment the author has suffered at the hands of the Universe The man had an appalling time of it but when you read this book you can see why I ve never read anything so annoying, so self commiserating, so self obsessed It makes you want to give him a hard time, and a lot of people did I was moved to chuck it in about half way through and turn to the zingingly fabulous Discourse on Inequality, which is Rousseau doing what you want Rousseau to do.All that said, as a portrait of an extraordinary man, restless, angry and unfulfilled at the end of his life, this is a remarkable read It s a genius dying of a lack of possibility, circumscribed by habit or identity or inertia or fatigue And in conveying that no doubt rather contrary to the wishes of the writer himself it s astonishingly successful. We all have our melodramatic moments Rousseau seems to have nothing but He wanders around the French countryside all why does no one liiiiiike me It s so looooonely at the top If he had been a teenager at the same time I was, he would have totally shopped at Hot Topic and I totally would have made fun of him not to his face, I wasn t popular enough to merit that for expressing the same curious blend of self deprecation and narcissism that I felt at the same time, that really most teenagers felt at the same time The difference is that Rousseau was an elderly philosopher who should have known better Lame I ve heard his Confessions are brilliant, but this didn t bode well.