Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva which is the main setting of Frankenstein and is a famous political philosopher and educationalist.
The theory that i will be looking at is his theory about Nature and wholeness. Rousseau believed that all human beings were born good, but were corrupted by the thoughts of the society who he referred to as ‘the evil society’. Rousseau was interested in humans being natural.
“We are born capable of sensation and from birth are affected in diverse ways by the objects around us. As soon as we become conscious of our sensations we are inclined to seek or to avoid the objects which produce them: at first, because they are agreeable or disagreeable to us, later because we discover that they suit or do not suit us, and ultimately because of the judgements we pass on them by reference to the idea of happiness of perfection we get from reason. These inclinations extend and strengthen with the growth of sensibility and intelligence, but under the pressure of habit they are changed to some extent with our opinions. The inclinations before this change are what I call our nature. In my view everything ought to be in conformity with these original inclinations.”
“But if there is a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul. Such is the state which I often experienced on the Island Of Saint-Pierre in my solitary reveries, whether I lay in a boat and drifted where the water carried me, or sat by the shores of the stormy lake, or elsewhere, on the banks of a lovely river or a stream murmuring over the stones.”
Some human qualities are given to us through nature and exist in a natural state as well as in a socialized state, Some human qualities are given to us through nature and exist in a natural state as well as in a socialized state. Other qualities of a human have been created through the society’s actions and words, corrupting one’s thoughts about culture, language, etc.
Philosophers of the 18th Century looked for new ways to understand the acquisition of knowledge and human behavior. Understanding their theories allows us an insight into Mary Shelley’s intentions in her gothic novel, Frankenstein.
“People in their natural state are basically good, but this natural innocence, however, is corrupted by the evils of society”
“Plants are shaped by cultivation and men by education, we are born totally unprovided, we need aid, we are born stupid, we need judgment. Everything we do not have at our birth and which we need when we are grown is given to us by education.”