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Rousseau and modern environmentalism Singer, Kenneth William 1991

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ROUSSEAU AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM by KENNETH WILLIAM SINGER B.A. The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1989 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Political  Science)  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1991 ° Kenneth W i l l i a m Singer, 1991  In  presenting  degree  this  at the  thesis  in  partial  fulfilment  of  University of  British  Columbia,  I agree  freely available for reference and study. copying  of  department  this or  thesis by  for scholarly  his  publication of this thesis  or  her  Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  CXJJ-  %  requirements  for  may  representatives.  It  be is  advanced  that the Library shall make it  I further agree that permission  purposes  an  granted  for extensive  by the head of  understood  that  for financial gain shall not be allowed without  permission.  Date  the  copying  my or  my written  ABSTRACT Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau has been analyzed and characterized in many ways, but the relationship between certain aspects of his thought and what can be c a l l e d ecophilosophy has not been pursued. Rousseau's ideas of man's r e l a t i o n s h i p with nature, his condemnation of bourgeios  society,  the s c i e n t i f i c / m e c h a n i s t i c paradigm and the idea of progress have d i s t i n c t p a r a l l e l s to the thought of t r a d i t i o n a l ecophilosophers such as Thoreau, Muir and Leopold. Though Rousseau's thought is decidedly anthropocentric and therefore u t i l i t a r i a n in i t s ethical content, he did favour a careful stewardship of nature which rejected treating i t as a resource to be exploited. Instead, he saw God's handiwork in the natural world and f e l t a great reverence for i t . To f a c i l i t a t e t h i s understanding, he studied botany and took many s o l i t a r y walks in the wilderness as a means of achieving a greater appreciation of i t s natural beauty and his place within i t . In addition, Rousseau's advocacy of d i r e c t democracy and small  self-sufficient  agrarian communities also r e f l e c t modern positions,  particularly  those of Bookchin, Schumacher and the leaders of the various Green movements. Evidence from his work, thus, w i l l be presented to support the contention that his philosophy has d i s t i n c t  parallels  to these modern perspectives. While much of his thought seems hopelessly Utopian in the l i g h t of modern r e a l i t i e s , there is a great deal that is relevant to the environmental problems modern society faces.  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT  ii  ONE: INTRODUCTION: A) Rousseauian C r i t i c i s m  1  B) The Current Environmental C r i s i s  5  C) C o n f l i c t i n g I d e o l o g i e s i n the Modern Environmental Movement  8  TWO: ROUSSEAU AND NATURE: A) I n t r o d u c t i o n  19  B) Rousseau and the Romantic S p i r i t  22  C) Rousseau and Man's R e l a t i o n s h i p with t h e Natural World  26  THREE: ROUSSEAU, THOREAU AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM: A) Rousseau, Romanticism and the T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t Connection  38  B) Rousseau and Thoreau: A Comparative A n a l y s i s  41  C) Rousseau and John Muir  47  D) Rousseau and Aldo Leopold E) Rousseau, Romanticism and the Modern Environmental Movement  51 56  FOUR: ROUSSEAU, PROGRESS AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM: A) I n t r o d u c t i o n  62  B) Rousseau, Human Nature and t h e F a l l o f Man  64  C) Thoreau and Modernity  .77  D) Rousseau, Modern Environmental ism and t h e C r i t i q u e o f Progress  iii  83  FIVE: ROUSSEAU AND THE POLITICS OF ENVIRONMENTALISM: A) I n t r o d u c t i o n  92  B) Rousseau, Democracy and the 'General W i l l '  93  C) Thoreau, the State and C i v i l Disobedience  101  D) Rousseau, P a r t i c i p a t i o n and Modern Ecophilosophy  104  E) Rousseau and German Green Party P o l i t i c s  106  CONCLUSIONS:  114  WORKS CITED:  121  INTRODUCTION; ROUSSEAU AND THE MODERN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT  Rousseauian  Criticism  The 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is t r u l y 'the man of a thousand f a c e s . ' He has been characterized in many ways: an authoritarian, a l i b e r a l , a c o l l e c t i v i s m an i n d i v i d u a l i s t , and even an anarchist. His writings have evoked both high praise and extreme condemnation amongst commentators which leads to the conclusion that he is either one of the world's most misunderstood philosophers or one of i t s most inconsistent. (This writer prefers the former). According to David Cameron "Rousseauist c r i t i c i s m . . . h a s been characterized by continuing fundamental disagreement and wildly c o n f l i c t i n g scholarship ever since the 18th century." (Horowitz 1987, 7) Bertrand Russell argued that Rousseau was "the inventor of the p o l i t i c a l of pseudo-democratic dictatorships"  philosophy  (Pepper 1984, 205), and S i r  Henry Maine attacked him " f o r establishing a ' c o l l e c t i v e despot' and for reintroducing, in the Contrat social of kings in a new d r e s s . ' "  , 'the old divine right  (Cassirer 1989, 4) James M i l l e r ,  although an admirer of Rousseau, summarized the various c r i t i c i s m s of Rousseau thusly: Prophetic, regressive, u n r e a l i s t i c , a d i c t a t o r wishing to recast society at w i l l , a stoic clinging to the past, a loser hopelessly t i l t i n g at windmills, Rousseau in his own way, at various moments, was a l l these things, and much more besides. (Miller,  1984, 204-205)  1  In c o n t r a s t French commentator Emile Faguet argued t h a t Rousseau was fundamentally an i n d i v i d u a l i s t ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 6), as d i d Henri See who p r a i s e d Rousseau as a l i b e r a l and denied t h a t he wanted to g i v e the s t a t e "an absolute and aggressive a u t h o r i t y . " ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 7) Others, however, saw Rousseau's i n d i v i d u a l i s m as i r r e s p o n s i b l e and regarded him as a "philosopher o f ruinous d i s o r d e r . " ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 4) According to Peter Gay i n h i s l u c i d i n t r o d u c t i o n to Ernst C a s s i r e r ' s landmark essay The Question o f Jean-Jacques Rouseau "(m)any t h i n k e r s have s u f f e r e d at the hands of commentators, but few have had to endure as much as Rousseau." (1989, 4) Gay goes on to argue t h a t "the c r i t i c who wants to understand Rousseau must transcend p o l i t i c a l c a t e g o r i e s and c o n s i d e r h i s work as a whole." (Horowitz 1987, 9, footnote 21) With t h i s advice i n mind, i t must be pointed out t h a t i t i s not the purpose o f t h i s paper to w r e s t l e with the v a r i o u s d i v e r g e n t p o i n t s of view. Instead, what w i l l be o f f e r e d i s a new pers p e c t i v e on Rousseau (a 'new f a c e ' as i t were): Rousseau the "Environmentalist." P r i m a r i l y , i t w i l l be argued t h a t aspects o f Rousseau's thought p a r a l l e l c e r t a i n tenets o f modern environmental ism. To accomplish t h i s s e l e c t i o n s forwarded from h i s work w i l l be compared with some of c e n t r a l p i l l a r s of modern environmental philosophy. S p e c i f i c a l l y , t h i s paper w i l l focus on three main c u r r e n t s w i t h i n Rousseau's thought: man's r e l a t i o n ship with nature; h i s c r i t i c i s m o f bourgeios s o c i e t y and of progress; and h i s d o c t r i n e s r e l a t e d to p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s . It w i l l be shown t h a t Rousseau not only shares much i n common  2  with the t r a d i t i o n a l "founding fathers" of modern environmental ism such as Thoreau, Muir and Leopold, but that he also shares much in common with modern points of view as represented by Bookchin, Schumacher, the authors of The Limits to Growth study, and the leaders of the various Green movements. Through t h i s process  it  w i l l be argued that Rousseau deserves recognition for his influence on modern environmental ism, recognition that is slow in coming. Indeed, i t is puzzling why Rousseau has not be recognized or even acknowledged by modern eco-philosophers. His advocacy of d i r e c t democracy has a d i r e c t relationship to one of the central p i l l a r s of the German Green movement and his analysis of bourgeois society and values has d i s t i n c t  striking parallels  to current counter-modern c r i t i c i s m ( i . e . Marcuse, and Berman). Nevertheless, rarely is Rousseau c i t e d as an inspiration or even as a reference in the most current works of eco-philosophy. Part of the reason is probably as a result of the d i f f i c u l t y c r i t i c s have attempting to characterize Rousseau, in general terms. Thus, whenever one discusses  Rousseau, a 'war must be  waged' against his c r i t i c s even before one can begin to access what i t is he stands for in the s p e c i f i c i n s t a n c e — i n t h i s case his eco-philosophical perspective. This makes i t d i f f i c u l t to judge him f a i r l y , and one can suspect that perhaps t h i s has discouraged l a t e r thinkers from attempting to analyze Rousseau's thought on environmental matters. Another reason might be that Rousseau's thought has often been equated, r i g h t l y or wrongly, with t o t a l i t a r i a n forms of government. Eco-anarchists such as Bookchin argue in favour of  3  s o c i a l e q u a l i t y and s m a l l - s c a l e p a r t i c i p a t o r y d e m o c r a c i e s , much as Rousseau d i d , b u t t h e y , g e n e r a l l y , do n o t d i s c u s s t h e q u e s t i o n o f how t o m a i n t a i n o r d e r when d i f f e r e n t g r o u p s o r t e r r i t o r i e s f i n d t h e i r o b j e c t i v e s a t c r o s s p u r p o s e s . F o r Rousseau, i n d i v i d u a l s had t o g i v e way t o w h a t e v e r t h e ' g e n e r a l w i l l ' o f t h e community i n s i s t e d upon. O n l y t h e B l u e p r i n t f o r S u r v i v a l seems t o have gone so f a r as t o admit t h a t a s o c i e t y based on sound e c o l o g i c a l p r i n c i p l e s would have t o e n f o r c e i t s d i c t a t e s , often harshly, i n order t o ensure that the i n t e g r i t y o f the e n v i r o n m e n t was m a i n t a i n e d .  One c a n i m a g i n e t h e c o n f l i c t s t h a t  c o u l d s p r i n g up i f t h e ' g e n e r a l w i l l ' d i c t a t e d t h a t a l l f o r e s t r y o p e r a t i o n s i n B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a would have t o c e a s e i m m e d i a t e l y o r t h a t o n l y b i c y c l e s would be a l l o w e d i n downtown V a n c o u v e r . I t would indeed be a s a d day i f t h e armed f o r c e s were used t o q u e l l a r e b e l l i o n from an a r e a whose p r e d o m i n a n t p o p u l a t i o n r e l i e s on the f o r e s t i n d u s t r y t o generate  wealth.  More l i k e l y , however, economic i m p e r a t i v e s w i l l c o n t i n u e t o o u t w e i g h e c o l o g i c a l ones. P e o p l e a r e n o t y e t r e a d y t o a c c e p t the i d e a t h a t l i v i n g s t a n d a r d s  i n w e s t e r n c o u n t r i e s may have t o  be s c a l e d back t o meet e n v i r o n m e n t a l  c o n c e r n s , much l e s s r e a d y t o  'shut down t h e economic e n g i n e s o f g r o w t h ' e n t i r e l y . T h i s means that i t i s l i k e l y that the c o n d i t i o n o f the world's environment w i l l c o n t i n u e t o d e t e r i o r a t e i n t o t h e f o r s e e a b l e f u t u r e . In o t h e r words, i f t h e c u r r e n t emphasis on growth i s l e f t  unfettered,  t h i n g s from an e c o l o g i c a l p o i n t o f view w i l l g e t much worse before they g e t b e t t e r .  4  If this should occur, i t is indeed i r o n i c that a p o l i t i c a l system much l i k e Rousseau's may be necessary. Perhaps then ecophilosphers w i l l begin to examine Rousseau's thought in a much more serious manner. One retains hope, however, that the s i t u a t i o n w i l l not become so desperate that people w i l l be 'forced to be f r e e ' by an all-encompassing  authority.  One must keep in mind that Rousseau's form of p o l i t i c a l organization r e l i e d on the idea that people would equate the public good with t h e i r own private good. In modern society economies run on a competitive individualism which emphasizes private good and merely hopes that the public good is served. In essence the public good is simply an inadvertent by-product. Meanwhile, the evidence continues to mount of the deleterious impact that this l i n e of thinking has on the environment; thus, we now turn to a b r i e f overview of the current c r i s i s .  The Current Environmental  Crisis  There is l i t t l e doubt that we are witnessing an assault on the environment of the worst magnitude.  Industrialization  coupled with an unquestioning f a i t h in science, a c o l l e c t i v e mindset that favours domination of nature rather than careful stewardship of i t , and the idea of continuous progress have lead to a s i t u a t i o n whereby d r a s t i c and fundamental changes in the ways we l i v e and think w i l l be necessary i f we are to stop and i.ndeeed reverse the damage already done. In 1977 U.S President Jimmy Carter directed the Council on  5  E n v i r o n m e n t a l Q u a l i t y and t h e Department o f S t a t e t o make a s t u d y o f t h e p r o b a b l e changes i n t h e w o r l d ' s p o p u l a t i o n , n a t u r a l r e s o u r c e s , and e n v i r o n m e n t t h r o u g h t h e end o f t h e c e n t u r y . ( G l o b a l 2000 R e p o r t , 1988, 1) I t s c o n c l u s i o n s were s t a r t l i n g and d i s t u r b i n g . E s s e n t i a l l y i f present trends continue the r e p o r t found t h a t " t h e w o r l d i n 2000 w i l l be more crowded, more p o l l u t e d , l e s s s t a b l e e c o l o g i c a l l y , and more v u l n e r a b l e t o d i s r u p t i o n t h a n t h e w o r l d we l i v e i n now." ( G l o b a l 2000 R e p o r t 1988, 1) F o r one t h i n g , t h e w o r l d ' s p o p u l a t i o n w i l l be 50 p e r c e n t h i g h e r i n t h e y e a r 2000 t h a n i n 1975 w i t h 90 p e r c e n t o f t h i s i n c r e a s e coming i n t h e T h i r d w o r l d . F u r t h e r m o r e , d e s p i t e t h e f a c t t h a t economies o f t h e l e s s d e v e l o p e d c o u n t r i e s a r e e x p e c t e d t o grow f a s t e r t h a n t h o s e o f t h e i n d u s t r i a l i z e d n a t i o n s , t h e gap between r i c h and poor c o u n t r i e s w i l l c o n t i n u e t o widen. T h i s w i l l l e a d t o " s e r i o u s l o n g - t e r m d e c l i n e s i n t h e p r o d u c t i v i t y o f renewable n a t u r a l r e s o u r c e s y s t e m s . " ( G l o b a l 2000 R e p o r t , 1988, 40) T h i s w i l l a l s o mean t h a t l e s s a r a b l e l a n d w i l l be a v a i l a b l e , w o r l d p e r c a p i t a w a t e r s u p p l i e s w i l l d e c l i n e by an e s t i m a t e d 35 p e r c e n t , and p r i c e s f o r t h e most v i t a l r e s o u r c e s w i l l r i s e o v e r and above i n f l a t i o n . The e n v i r o n m e n t i t s e l f w i l l l o s e i m p o r t a n t l i f e - s u p p o r t i n g c a p a b i l i t i e s . F o r example,  40  percent o f the f o r e s t s s t i l l remaining i n the t h i r d world w i l l have been r a z e d , a t m o s p h e r i c c o n c e n t r a t i o n s o f c a r b o n d i o x i d e w i l l be a l m o s t a t h i r d h i g h e r t h a n p r e - i n d u s t r i a l l e v e l s , and 15-20 o f t h e e a r t h ' s t o t a l s p e c i e s o f p l a n t s and a n i m a l s w i l l be e x t i n c t . E s s e n t i a l l y , by t h e y e a r 2000 t h e p l a n e t ' s ' c a r r y i n g c a p a c i t y ' w i l l be s t r a i n e d a l m o s t beyond i t s l i m i t s .  6  According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, "a world population of 10 b i l l i o n ' i s close to ( i f not above) the maximum that an intensively managed world might hope to support with some degree of comfort and individual choice." (Global 2000 Report, 1988,41) The Global 2000 report estimates that t h i s level w i l l be reached by the year 2030, and this same rate of growth "would produce a population of nearly 30 b i l l i o n before the end of the 21st century." (Global 2000 Report 1988, 41) But what is perhaps the most c h i l l i n g conclusion, one that lends creedence to the 'Malthusian dilemma' is that as the world's populations exceed and reduce the land's carrying capacity in widening areas, the trends of the l a s t century or two toward improved health and longer l i f e may come to a h a l t . Hunger and disease may claim more 1 i v e s - - e s p e c i a l l y l i v e s of babies and young c h i l d r e n . (Global 2000 Report 1988, 42) The study concludes with an ominous note that nations, both c o l l e c t i v e l y and i n d i v i d u a l l y , must "take bold and imaginative steps toward improved social and economic conditions, reduce f e r t i l i t y , manage our resources more e f f e c t i v e l y , and protect the environment" (Global 2000 Report 1988, 42) or else the myriad of problems we are currently facing such as d e s e r t i f i c a t i o n , resource and species depletion, over-population, environmental degradation, acid r a i n , global warming and ozone depletion w i l l only get worse. In f a c t , given the current lack of commitment on the part of governments and the general apathy of c i t i z e n s in the western i n d u s t r i a l i z e d countries, i t may already be too l a t e to make e f f e c t i v e long-lasting  changes.  7  C o n f l i c t i n g Ideologies in the Modern Environmental Movement Interestingly  enough, in much the same way that c r i t i c s  of Rousseau disagree, the modern environmental philosophers, too, are at odds with one another other. Undeniably, modern environmentalism is  ' a house d i v i d e d . ' Despite the monolithic challenge  society faces as a result of man's continued assault on the natural environment, the environmental movement is fragmented into a whole host of perspectives that prescribe d i f f e r e n t solutions or approaches. These varying outlooks are r e f l e c t e d in the wide range of environmental groups which include social ecologists, rights advocates, conservationists, radical  animal  'ecotopians' and a  whole host of single issue special interest groups. This s t r a t i f i c a t i o n has lead to mass confusion in society and consternation amongst the various groups that has rendered the modern environmental movement, by and large, only marginally e f f e c t i v e at mobilizing society to halt or reverse those habits and ways of thinking that have lead us to where we are today. This r e a l i t y i s , in part, a r e f l e c t i o n of a host of dilemmas society faces that require tough choices, choices between development and preservation; between human beings'  interests  and those of animals and nature i t s e l f ; and between present people's needs and the needs of future generations, j u s t to name a few. These choices, thus, require an ethical framework that provides "answers to what is r i g h t , good, or obligatory." (Seligman 1989, 170) According to Clive Seligman, environmental  8  ethics can be broadly distinguished between u t i l i t a r i a n and deontological theories of normative e t h i c s . A deontological approach holds that an act is right or wrong "depending on whether ethical rules have been followed, regardless of whether they increase the good consequence." (Seligman 1989, 171) Kant's categorical  imperative is perhaps  the most famous deontological r u l e , and with respect to environmental ethics is best r e f l e c t e d in the philosophy of 'deep ecology.' This approach sees man as only one part of the ecosystem and argues that every form of l i f e has an ' i n t r i n s i c ' or natural right to "freedom from excessive human interference, and to the opportunity to pursue t h e i r own d e f i n i t i o n of happiness."  (Nash 1989, 147) This perspective does not place any  greater value on the needs of humans within the biosphere than those of the rest of the biosphere's constituents. According to Warwick Fox: Deep ecology...strives to be non-anthropocentric by viewing humans as just one constituency among others in the b i o t i c community, just one p a r t i c u l a r strand in the web of l i f e , just one kind of knot in the biospherical knot. (Alwyn Jones 1987, 43) Some 'deep e c o l o g i s t s '  even extend t h i s argument to include r i v e r s ,  mountains and other forms of ' n o n - l i v i n g ' things. As an example of this,  in 1981 the group Earth F i r s t ! gathered at the Glen Canyon  Dam on the Colorado River and unrolled a 300 foot black p l a s t i c ' c r a c k ' down the concrete wall while at the same time shouting 'Free the Colorado!' "(T)hey l e f t no doubt that t h e i r motives had to do with the i n t e g r i t y of natural ecological  9  processes  r a t h e r than human r e c r e a t i o n a l i n t e r e s t i n those processes." (Nash 1989,  192)  From a u t i l i t a r i a n p e r s p e c t i v e , however, p r o t e c t i o n o f the environment i s necessary to s a t i s f y a v a r i e t y o f d i s t i n c t l y "human wants, i n c l u d i n g r e c r e a t i o n a l , a e s t h e t i c , convenience, and s u r v i v a l needs...(and)...assumes a dualism between humans and nature." (Seligman 1989, 172-173) The problem here i s t h a t humans do not always act i n t h e i r own best i n t e r e s t s , and t h i s has f o r c e d p h i l o s o p h e r s to conclude t h a t i t i s l i k e l y t h a t "the  environment  cannot r e c e i v e adequate p r o t e c t i o n unless we begin to c o n s i d e r the needs of the environment apart from i t s u s e f u l n e s s to humans." (Seligman 1989,  170)  Beyond the question of e t h i c a l frameworks, the v a r i o u s p e r s p e c t i v e s can be f u r t h e r c l a s s i f i e d i n t o two general groupings: those who are t e c h n o l o g i c a l l y o p t i m i s t i c e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s ( t e c h n o c e n t r i c s ) ; and those who combine aspects of ecology with c e r t a i n t e n e t s o f romanticism ( e c o c e n t r i c s ) . (Pepper 1984,  22)  The genesis o f t e c h n o c e n t r i c thought can be t r a c e d to the S c i e n t i f i c Revolution of the 16th and 17th century. T h i s r e v o l u t i o n i s g e n e r a l l y regarded to have begun from the time o f Copernicus and continued on through the end of the 17th century with the p u b l i c a t i o n o f Isaac Newton's Mathematical P r i n c i p l e s o f Natural Philosophy (1687). It challenged the predominance o f the medieval concept o f "an o r g a n i c , l i v i n g , and s p i r i t u a l universe...by t h a t o f the world as a machine  " (Capra 1982,  54) The s c i e n t i f i c paradigm, thus, was e s t a b l i s h e d and continues to be the "dominant metaphor o f the modern e r a . " (Capra 1982, 10  54)  The establishment of t h i s paradigm came about as r e s u l t of developments in physics and astronomy exemplified by the work not only of Copernicus and Newton, but also of Galileo G a l i l e i and Johannes Kepler. While Copernicus was responsible for overthrowing the view that the earth was the centre of the universe, Kepler forwarded revolutionary empirical concepts related to the motion of planets. G a l i l e o , meanwhile, confirmed the Copernican hypothesis and was the f i r s t to combine s c i e n t i f i c experimentation with the use of mathematical language to formulate the laws of nature that he ' d i s c o v e r e d . ' He postulated that s c i e n t i s t s should " r e s t r i c t themselves to studying the essential properties of material bodies—shapes numbers and movement—which could be measured and q u a n t i f i e d . " (Capra 1982, 55) Descriptions such as colour, sound, taste, and the l i k e were summarily dismissed as 'subjective mental p r o j e c t i o n s . ' Thus, according to p s y c h i a t r i s t R.D.Laing human experience was exorcised from s c i e n t i f i c discussion taking with i t "aesthetics and ethical s e n s i b i l i t y ,  values,  q u a l i t y , form, f e e l i n g s , motives, intentions, soul,  consciousness,  spirit."  (Capra 1982, 55)  This s c i e n t i f i c assault on the senses continued into the 17th century with the work of Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes. While Bacon's work in the area of mathematics advocated using the knowledge gained from science to control and dominate nature, Descartes forwarded the view that the "key to the universe was i t s mathematical structure  " (Capra 1982, 58) No longer did  people view nature as an organism, but instead saw i t as a perfect machine that functioned to exacting mathematical laws.  11  Newton's part in t h i s revolution centered on his  synthesis  of a l l s c i e n t i f i c work that proceeded him. He argued that the universe i t s e l f was a unified system operating according to mathematical laws. This perspective, however, has been c r i t i cized for overemphasizing the quantitative side of l i f e , while ignoring the q u a l i t a t i v e aspects leaving nothing more than a " c o l d , inert universe made up e n t i r e l y of dead matter...a world view made for machines, not people." (Rifkin 1989, 37) At any rate, as a r e s u l t of the s c i e n t i f i c revolution a conceptual framework was established which gave a s c i e n t i f i c rationale " f o r the manipulation and exploitation of nature that has become typical of western c u l t u r e . " (Capra 1982, 61) For technocentric environmentalists, thus, science is not the enemy, but w i l l be mankind's salvation. They staunchly maintain a f a i t h in the a b i l i t y and e f f i c i e n c y of management to solve any problems by the use of objective analysis and a reliance on the laws of physical science. Technocentrics also  "disavow  public p a r t i c i p a t i o n in environmental and other decision-making favour of accepting as authoritative the advice of  (scientific  and economic) experts." (Pepper 1984, 29) They also maintain that man is j u s t i f i e d in appropriating and manipulating nature for his own ends, as long as 'careful management' practices are employed. For the most part they do not recognize the natural world as anything more than 'fodder for man's cannon.' Their approach does not emphasize the idea that man's s p i r i t u a l w e l l being requires interaction with the natural environment, and for the most part they see nature as an object or resource to be  12  in  exploited, a l b e i t c a r e f u l l y exploited. Their idea that nature's purpose is to serve mankind, however, assumes an extreme form of dualism between man and nature that is highly debatable. Furthermore, the unquestioning f a i t h in technological  solutions  can lead to an i r r a t i o n a l b e l i e f in the idea of progress and " i n the a b i l i t y of advanced capitalism to maintain  itself."  (Pepper 1984, 29) According to Murdy, however, an anthropocentrism that affirms the idea that mankind is to be valued more highly than other things in nature is not necessarily a problem. The problem l i e s in our d i f f i c u l t y to distinguish between 'proper ends' which are progressive and promote human values and 'improper ends' which are retrogressive and destructive of human values." (Seligman 1989, 176) Ecological environmentalists  (ecocentrics), on the other  hand, believe in a symbiotic relationship between man and nature. Instead of dominating nature, man is seen as a part of i t . For the most part, nature is respected " f o r i t s own sake, above and beyond i t s usefulness or relationship toyman." (Pepper 1984, 27) If human beings were eliminated from the b i o t i c community, on the planet would s t i l l  life  have purpose and meaning. Furthermore,  while man is not necessary to nature, ecocentrics believe that the reverse is not true, since nature is regarded as "necessary for his emotional, s p i r i t u a l and physical wellbeing in the face of pressures from sophisticated and a r t i f i c i a l urban l i v i n g " (Pepper 1984, 28) (an idea rejected by technocentrics). This point of view has p a r a l l e l s to Rousseau and the Romantic Movement which arose in response to the S c i e n t i f i c Revolution.  13  It should be noted, however, that ecocentrics are not simply distinguished by t h e i r n o n - s c i e n t i f i c philosophical roots. There are also those who base t h e i r assumptions on science. Examples include Charles Darwin, Thomas Malthus, and modern s c i e n t i f i c ecocentrics such as Paul Ehrlich (Ehrlich 1990, 1) and the various neo-Malthusians.  (Mellos 1988, 715) In essence, they believe that  man is indeed only part of the b i o t i c community, the primary tenet separating them from technocentrics. They believe that "anything which man does affects the rest of the global  system  and reverberates through it—eventual l y back onto him." (Pepper 1984, 28) Accordingly, biological  laws such as carrying capacity,  population, thermodynamics, and systems behavior were regarded as paramount. The output of s c i e n t i f i c ecocentrism includes theories r e l a t i n g to small-scale production, r e c y c l i n g , zeropopulation growth and low impact technologies. (Pepper 1984, 28) This approach is anthropocentric and recognizes the value of the science; yet, i t does not ignore the importance of c u l t i v a t i n g a relationship with nature. It  is important to remember that these various  classifications  are simply descriptive tools at varying levels of abstraction, and that they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In f a c t , i t dangerous to take certain selections of a philsopher's  is  thought  and display them as evidence he or she was decidedly ecocentric. As mentioned, Rousseau is d i f f i c u l t to c l a s s i f y on any terms; thus, t h i s thesis w i l l try to avoid placing s p e c i f i c labels on his thought. These d i s t i n c t i o n s are simply offered as descriptive tools one should keep in mind when accessing  14  Rousseau's thought. What is hoped is that the selections presented w i l l stand as examples of tendancies in his  thought  from which the reader can draw his own conclusions. The purposes of t h i s thesis is to encourage further debate on the characterization of Rousseau as an 'environmentalist,' and not to draw d e f i n i t i v e conclusions about how to  classify  Rousseau in terms of modern environmental philosophy. F i n a l l y these contending outlooks are further divided by a variety of issues which have relevance to a l l  perspectives.  These issues are often more accessible to the general public and include such questions as the importance of individual freedom versus the common good; the protection of national versus the need for global  sovereignty  solutions; and the rights of minorities  versus those of the majority. (Pepper, 14) At the heart of these debates exists the underlying struggle between our desires for progress and material wealth and those values "connected with social and environmental j u s t i c e and the non-material, s p i r i t u a l sides of our nature." (Pepper 1984, 14) These two contrary philosophical outlooks are currently locked in an intense struggle as the western world, in p a r t i c u l a r , begins to grapple with the legacy of the Industrial  Revolution, and begins to  question the legitimacy of the idea that the natural world is ours to command and c o n t r o l . Lending support to this point of view the drafters of the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, concluded that society must begin to recognize that the domination of nature by mankind has not served us w e l l .  15  They argue that "most renewable resources are part of a complex and interlinked ecosystem, and maximum sustainable y i e l d must be defined after taking into account system-wide e f f e c t s of e x p l o i t a t i o n . " (OCF 1987, 45) In this way, system-wide harmony is the primary goal: In essence, sustainable development is a process change in which the exploitation of resources, the d i r e c t i o n of investment, the orientation of technological development, and i n s t i t u t i o n a l change are a l l in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. (OCF 1987, 46) Thus, while discerning the importance of an understanding of the individual parts in any system, many have argued for a h o l i s t i c approach which sees the whole as d i f f e r e n t from the mere sum of parts.  (Suzuki  1990, x i i )  "(A)nimals, plants  its  micro-organisms,  and inanimate substances are linked through a complex web of interdependencies involving the exchange of matter and energy in continual c y c l e s . " (Alwyn Jones 1987, 43) Since the pieces act d i f f e r e n t l y in combination, certain attributes emerge from t h e i r interaction that cannot be predetermined. James Lovelock's 'Gaia hypothesis' which argues that the earth i t s e l f is  'alive'  is a form of t h i s type of argument. (Lovelock, 1990, 1) Optimists,  in f a c t , see the current debates over the  environment as evidence that there is a new phase of mankind's h i s t o r i c and cultural development unfolding, that c i v i l i z a t i o n i s , once again, facing a fundamental transformation in thinking, or what Capra refers to as a 'paradigm s h i f t . '  (Capra 1982, 1)  The growth and p r o l i f e r a t i o n of the environmental movement may be  16  further evidence of t h i s Pessimists,  shift.  however, see l i t t l e evidence of a general decline  in f a i t h that technological solutions to the environmental will  crisis  be found. They argue that environmentalists make up only a  small yet vocal portion of society that do not r e f l e c t general attitudes. They go on to c i t e the pervasiveness of apathy towards environmental issues on the part of people who are too preoccupied with paying t h e i r b i l l s and 'getting ahead.' Pessimists emphasize the hypocricy of people who believe they are doing t h e i r part to stop environmental degradation by refusing to use p l a s t i c a l l the while continuing to drive gas-burning  utensils  cars. They  thus, reject the idea that a fundamental s h i f t in thinking  is  underway. Instead, they argue that society w i l l only change when the situation becomes so desperate that our very s u r v i v i a l  as a  species is threatened. As mentioned, for most people, this possibility s t i l l  seems a long way o f f .  For Rousseau, however, society condemned i t s e l f long ago to an uncertain future, a future based on false values and false needs, by adopting a m e c h a n i s t i c / s c i e n t i f i c view of the world and by denying ' f e e l i n g ' in favour of r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . He, too, was a pessimist about s o c i e t y ' s future; thus, he demanded fundamental changes in the way we think, the way we work, and the way we govern ourselves. Much l i k e modern environmentalists, Rousseau wanted to see p o l i t i c a l systems evolve whereby people could d i r e c t l y participate in government, thereby ensuring, he supposed, that the best decisions for society as a whole would be made. He also advocated that man  17  c u l t i v a t e a h e a l t h y r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h n a t u r e which he b e l i e v e d , a f t e r a l l , was God's handiwork.  F i n a l l y , he argued v o c i f e r i o u s l y  f o r a r e t u r n t o s i m p l e t a s t e s and v a l u e s , and he r e j e c t e d t h e i d e a o f m a t e r i a l i s t i c measures o f s e l f - w o r t h . These c o n c e p t s w i l l be t h e p r i m a r y f o c u s o f t h i s p a p e r , and i t i s t o h i s i d e a s c o n c e r n i n g man's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h n a t u r e t h a t we now t u r n .  18  CHAPTER TWO: ROUSSEAU AND NATURE  Introduction Rousseau's w r i t i n g s on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between man and nature r e p r e s e n t s one of the f o c a l p o i n t s o f h i s philosophy. Throughout h i s l i f e he wrote p a s s i o n a t e l y about the need f o r man to get back i n touch with h i s t r u e s e l f , to cut through the c o r r u p t i n g i n f l u e n c e o f s o c i e t y , and to reassess s o c i e t y ' s emphasis on r a t i o n a l i s m represented by the s c i e n t i f i c r e v o l u t i o n and the t e n e t s o f Enlightenment philosophy. Rousseau f e l t very s t r o n g l y t h a t t h a t s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n c o u l d be achieved, i n p a r t , by communing with nature. Although h i s regard f o r nature i s a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c , Rousseau s t e a d f a s t l y advocated a c a r e f u l stewardship t h a t r e f l e c t e d h i s r e s p e c t f o r what he c o n s i d e r e d God's c r e a t i o n . He f e l t a profound reverence f o r nature which he b e l i e v e d was a c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n of God's presence, and he wrote long eloquent passages about h i s experiences walking i n the woods, c l i m b i n g mountains, and studying the f l o r a and fauna o f the w i l d e r n e s s areas he v i s i t e d . He seemed to f e e l c l o s e r to God d u r i n g these p e r i o d s of s o l i t a r y contemplation. In f a c t , he p r e f e r r e d these times alone. In the f i f t h chapter o f h i s Reveries o f a S o l i t a r y Walker he pointed out t h a t h i s long e x c u r s i o n s i n t o nature were perhaps the happiest times o f h i s l i f e : (J.H. Mason 1979,  308)  I would s l i p away and go throw myself alone i n t o a boat t h a t I rowed to the middle of the lake when the water was calm; and t h e r e , s t r e t c h i n g myself out f u l l length i n the boat, my eyes turned to heaven, I l e t myself slowly d r i f t back and f o r t h with the water,  19  sometimes for several hours plunged in a thousand confused, but d e l i g h t f u l , reveries which, even without having any well-determined or constant object were in my opinion a hundred times preferable to the sweetest things I have found in what are c a l l e d the pleasures of 1 i f e . (J.H. Mason 1979, 265) This simple but moving passage r e f l e c t s much of what Rousseau represented, and has d i s t i n c t romantic overtones: the s o l i t a r y individual on a quest for self-discovery emphasizing f e e l i n g over rational s c i e n t i f i c analysis. In f a c t , Rousseau has often been referred to as the ' f a t h e r of Romanticism'  (Masters 1968, 93) p a r t i c u l a r l y for his emphasis  on individualism (Harvey 1980, 13), temperate realism and i t s opposite sentimental ism. (Masters 1968, 93) In essence, Rousseau's emphasis on feeling rather than reason r e f l e c t e d his b e l i e f , l i k e so many of his romantic followers, "that the l i v e i n s t i n c t s are more often right than the deadening dictates of social convention." (Featherstone 1978, 174) This is not to say, however, that Rousseau ignored reason in favour of simple f e e l i n g , but instead that he believed that "emotions and reason were complementary and i t was only in areas where the reason could give no c l e a r guidance that he followed what he termed the 'preuve du sentiment' in matters of conscience." (Harvey 1980, 7) For Rousseau, reason was always ' s t r a i g h t - j a c k e t e d ' by i t s reliance on sense experience. In addition, his e f f o r t s to develop "a conception of his authentic s e l f , a true s e l f underlying the 'personae' imposed on him by society" (1980, 14) can also be considered further  20  evidence of his romantic leanings. According to Samuel Taylor the t r a d i t i o n a l elements, so oft repeated as to have become stereotypes or c l i c h e s , include: the c u l t of nature and return to a natural mode of existence, the restoration of the rights of the emotions v i s - a - v i s the reason, individualism, both as the c u l t of freedom and as the c u l t of introspection or ' l e moi,' the mountain, lake and r u s t i c community in the novel, the prototype romantic hero: Saint Preux, romantic love in the Nouveau Heloise and the r e b i r t h of l y r i c i s m in French l i t e r a t u r e . Some would also add the restoration of the religious s p i r i t . (1980,  9-10)  Taylor argues that Rousseau was not a cause of romanticism, although c e r t a i n l y "aspects of his writings and character... may...legitimately be regarded as romantic." (1980, 2) In f a c t , Rousseau never used the term 'romantique' "nor any other single label to characterize his writings."  (1980, 3) Accordingly,  Taylor argues that i t is in Rousseau's "quest for  self-awareness  that we see his closest approach to the romantic s p i r i t , and i t is t h i s fact which makes i t profoundly inadequate to attach any label such as pre-romantic to Rousseau."  (1980, 17) While  recognizing the dangers involved in ascribing t i d y labels to philosophical thought (especially when dealing with a thinker as complex and controversial as Rousseau); i t can be said that the romantic elements within his thought c e r t a i n l y provided inspiration for l a t e r thinkers, many of whom would influence environmental philosphy in the 19th and 20th century.  i  21  Rousseau and the Romantic S p i r i t The term 'romantic' can be used i n many ways, so many ways in f a c t that i t has almost l o s t i t s o r i g i n a l f l a v o u r ( i f i t ever had one). According to A r t h u r Lovejoy romanticism was a 'phenomenon' that developed i n a ' s e r i e s o f d i s s i m i l a r waves' or "as a s e r i e s o f seminal l i t e r a r y f i g u r e s producing o r g a n i c mutations so profound that they defy common d e s c r i p t i o n . " !  (1980, 3) In essence, the European romantic movement of the 18th and lSith century, w h i l e a l s o an a r t i s t i c and i n t e l l e c t u a l i  (  movement, grew i n l a r g e part as a r e a c t i o n against the i  material changes brought on by the s c i e n t i f i c r e v o l u t i o n and the r i s e o f i n d u s t r i a l c a p i t a l i s m . As c i t i e s grew and production processes expanded, there was a growing sense o f unease that these processes, r a t h e r than l e a d i n g to a more p e r f e c t world order had instead unleashed ' v i o l e n t natural f o r c e s ' that had " l e d to a s p i r i t u a l a l i e n a t i o n of the mass o f people from the land and from each other." (Pepper 1984, 76) People were simply regarded as parts i n the grand economic machine--"they were o b j e c t i v i z e d , they and t h e i r labour were reduced to the status of a commodity." (1984, 76) As these processes o f u r b a n i z a t i o n and i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n grew, many people began to perceive them as degrading the environment and being d i r e c t l y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the growth o f urban ghettos marked by s q u a l o r and d e p r i v a t i o n . (1984, 76) "They began to symbolize the f a i l u r e o f the Locke and Hume p h i l o s o p h i e s that a p e r f e c t s o c i e t y could be a t t a i n e d by p e r m i t t i n g people to f o l l o w i n an 22  e n l i g h t e n e d way t h e i r s e l f i n t e r e s t . " (1984, 76) Thus, Romanticism was a r e a c t i o n " a g a i n s t the narrowness o f the 18th c e n t u r y . . . a g a i n s t the c u l t u r e o f r a t i o n a l i s m and the e m p i r i c i s t and m a t e r i a l o u t l o o k which i t had generated." (Campbell 1987, 181) In essence, Romanticism developed i n o p p o s i t i o n t o the Enlightenment's " e x c e s s i v e f a i t h i n reason, or i t s i n s u f f i c i e n t f a i t h i n f a i t h . " (Halsted 1965, v i i i ) For Carl Schmitt the Romantic movement represented "both a process o f s e c u l a r i z a t i o n and a process o f s u b j e c t i f i c a t i o n and p r i v a t i z a t i o n . " (1986, 121) Henri Peyne, meanwhile, argued that the movement was marked by "extreme i n d i v i d u a l i s m and r e b e l l i o n a g a i n s t an over-mechanized s o c i e t y and i t s h i e r a r c h i e s and b u r e a u c r a c i e s . " (1977, 36) Romanticism was a l s o marked by a deep-seated and " p a s s i o n a t e l o v e o f n a t u r e . " (1977, 36) For A r n o l d Hauser, Romanticism was t h e e x p r e s s i o n o f a world-view "which no l o n g e r b e l i e v e d i n a b s o l u t e values, c o u l d no l o n g e r b e l i e v e i n any values without t h i n k i n g of t h e i r r e l a t i v i t y , t h e i r h i s t o r i c a l l i m i t a t i o n s  " (Halsted  1965, xv) According t o David Morse, however, Romanticism was p r o b l e m a t i c : The c a r d i n a l d o c t r i n e o f Romanticism, the i n s i s t e n c e on the autonomy o f the i n d i v i d u a l and the r e j e c t i o n o f external laws, i n j u n c t i o n s and r e s t r a i n t s lead t o a r e p e t i t i o n o f P r o t e s t a n t Angst: the extreme i s o l a t i o n o f the i n d i v i d u a l as he i s thrown back on h i s own resources under the h i g h e s t law o f i n t r o s p e c t i o n and s e l f s c r u t i n y . The c o r o l l a r y o f the saving o f the s e l f i s the l o n e l i n e s s and i s o l a t i o n o f the s e l f that i s saved. (1981, 172) Joseph Featherstone went f u r t h e r arguing t h a t (t)he Romantic c u l t o f s e n s i b i l i t y , the noble savage, and c h i l d r e n ' s innocence which Rousseau began l e d t o 23  egotism, n o s t a l g i a , s e n t i m e n t a l i t y , and the other forms of evasion of r e a l i t y we r i g h t attack when we t h i n k of the weakheaded side of a l l the various Romanticisms. (1978, 177) I r v i n g Babbitt went so f a r as to condemn the movement a l t o g e t h i n d i c t i n g Romantic m o r a l i t y f o r i t s emotionalism, s e n t i m e n t a l i t y , p r i m i t i v i s m , intellectualism, self-indulgent individualism, and r e p u d i a t i o n of the r e a l i t y p r i n c i p l e in an p l i n e d r i o t of the i m a g i n a t i o n — n o t to mention c a r n a l i t y and l i b e r t i n i s m (Lockridge 1989,  antipassivity, undisciits  15)  Furthermore, Babbitt argued that "(t)he Romantic movement (was f i l l e d with the groans of those who...evaded a c t i o n and at the same time (became) h i g h l y s e n s i t i v e and h i g h l y s e l f - c o n s c i o u s . " (Halsted 1965, 17) According to Samuel T a y l o r , however, B a b b i t t ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s " g r o s s l y inaccurate, d i s c u r s i v e , and biased  " (Harvey 1980, 2) Lockridge, meanwhile, c a l l s  B a b b i t t ' s c o n c l u s i o n s "a c l e a r and d i s t i n c t  misrepresentation  of the e t h i c s of Romanticism." (Lockridge 1989, 16) He  countered  that Romantic theory "assumes that man i s n a t u r a l l y good, that man's impulses are trustworthy, that the r a t i o n a l f a c u l t y i s u n r e l i a b l e to the point of being dangerous or p o s s i b l y e v i l . " (Lockridge 1989,  16)  Romanticism, thus, was not simply a philosophy, but was more a mode of f e e l i n g . With respect to i n d i v i d u a l i s m , romantic thought emphasized the q u a l i t a t i v e r a t h e r than the q u a n t i t a t i v e aspects of l i f e as c h a r a c t e r i z e d by the Enlightenment. Thus, i t s t r e s s e d "a person's uniqueness or p e c u l i a r i t y , r a t h e r than the f e a t u r e s which he (or she) shared with a l l mankind." (Campbell 1987,  24  183)  Although romantic thinkers agreed with the philosophes of the Enlightment that individuals had the right of self-determination, " t h e i r conception of the s e l f as an e s s e n t i a l l y d i v i n e , and unique ' c r e a t i v e ' genius meant that this was largely interpreted as the right to ' s e l f - e x p r e s s i o n , ' or s e l f discovery." (1987, 183) By placing c r e a t i v i t y at the center of t h e i r thought,  Romantics  emphasized "the d i s t i n c t i v e nature of t h e i r own selves." (1987, 183), a preoccupation c l e a r l y anticipated and indeed inspired by Rousseau in his  Confessions:  I have resolved on an enterprise which has no precedent and which, once complete, w i l l have no imitator. My purpose is to display to my kind a p o r t r a i t in every way true to nature, and the man I shall portray w i l l by myself. Simply myself. I know my own heart and under stand my fellow man. But I am made unlike anyone I have every met: I w i l l even venture to say that I am l i k e no one in the whole world. I may be no better, but at least I am d i f f e r e n t . (Cohen 1953, 17) It can be argued that t h i s statement marked one of the f i r s t and most forceful descriptions of the romantic i d e a l . By placing the s e l f at the center of t h e i r thought, Romantics emphasized the creative process arguing that i t was the "forces of nature within man, the passions and promptings of the i d , which came to be regarded as the ultimate source of a l l thought, f e e l i n g and action, the very seat of the imagination."  (Campbell 1987, 184)  However, while counter-cultural theorists exalt f e e l i n g and the imagination in this manner, Rousseau stressed the importance of combining the functions of feeling and reason towards a higher form of i n t e l l e c t u a l development. It  is t h i s synthesis or mediation  of reason and feeling that marks one of Rousseau's contributions  25  to the h i s t o r y o f ideas. H i s ideal o f the imagination guided by reason and r e i n f o r c e d by f e e l i n g r e f l e c t s a r a t i o n a l balance i n h i s thought t h a t i s o f t e n neglected by contemporary  c r i t i c s who focus,  perhaps t o o much, on h i s c o n t r a d i c t i o n s , h i s pessimism, and h i s tendancy t o overstatement. As o u t l i n e d i n Emile, h i s t r e a t i s e on natural education, the n a t u r a l man i s "a man o f reason whose mind i s i n the s e r v i c e o f a s e n s i b i l i t y , a r a t i o n a l t h i n k e r who i s not a f r a i d t o c r y . " (Featherstone 1978, 177) For Rousseau, man must "understand the general r a t i o n a l design o f nature as well as the mazes o f the human heart, Rousseau's v e r s i o n o f Kant's two sovereign r e a l i t i e s , the s t a r r y heavens above and the moral law w i t h i n . " (Featherstone 1978, 177) According t o Ronald Grimsley at the center o f Rousseau's thought " i s the f i r m c o n v i c t i o n t h a t happiness and s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n are always a t t a i n a b l e by those who have the wisdom t o r i s e above the f a l s e values o f c o r r u p t s o c i e t y and t o r e - a f f i r m t h e i r f a i t h i n the power o f nature." (Grimsley 1983, 185) Indeed, i t i s h i s reverence f o r the n a t u r a l environment which c o n s t i t u t e s one o f the most s t r i k i n g elements o f h i s thought. Rousseau and Man's R e l a t i o n s h i p with the Natural World For Rousseau e v e r y t h i n g r e l a t e d t o nature, and was based on f e e l i n g s he " c u l t i v a t e d from the f i r s t awakening o f h i s s p i r i t u a l self-awareness." ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 85) One must keep i n mind, however, t h a t Rousseau used the term 'nature' i n several d i f f e r e n t ways. I t could mean "the p h y s i c a l environment, the l i v i n g f o r c e in the world and i n a person, what i s o r i g i n a l or inherent o r 26  spontaneous,  (or) what is manifest and what is p o t e n t i a l . "  (Mason 1979, 260) This chapter focuses primarily on the relationship between Rousseau and nature in the sense of the natural world, a relationship marked by his almost mystical sense of d i r e c t communion with nature. This approach p a r a l l e l s l a t e r thinkers such as Thoreau and Leopold and is r e f l e c t e d today in a variety of approaches to the environment. As Cassirer has suggested these feelings intoxicated him "long a f t e r he had become a s o l i t a r y misanthrope who avoided a l l intercourse with men." (1989, 85) According to Rousseau: finding among men neither i n t e g r i t y nor truth, nor any of the feelings...without which a l l society is but i l l u s i o n and vanity, I withdrew into myself; and, in l i v i n g with myself and with nature, I tasted an i n f i n i t e sweetness in the thought that I was not alone (Cassirer 1989, 85-86) Rousseau, thus, expresses an ' i d y l l i c passion'  for a s o l i t a r y  existence within nature. (Bookchin 1989, 153) According to Murray Bookchin, however, this mode of thinking had 'a less innocent s i d e ' since i t could also lead to a denial of the need for social intercourse and ' a needless opposition between wilderness and c i v i l i z a t i o n . ' He argues that V o l t a i r e ' s c r i t i c i s m that Rousseau was 'an enemy of mankind' was "not e n t i r e l y an overstatement."  (1989, 153)  Neverthless, Rousseau's l y r i c a l power, at i t s  'purest in  the Nouvelle Heloise, was his a b i l i t y to "depict a l l human sentiment and passion as i f enveloped in the atmosphere of pure s e n s i t i v i t y to nature." (Cassirer 1989, 86) Instead of being a neutral observer above nature, "he dips into i t s inner l i f e and  27  v i b r a t e s with i t s own rhythms. And i n t h i s he f i n d s a new  source  of happiness that can never dry up." ( C a s s i r e r 1989, 86) By d i s c o v e r i n g how we are a f f e c t e d by our natural world, Rousseau hoped to show the b e n e f i t s of c u l t i v a t i n g a healthy r e l a t i o n s h i p with i t . This i s demonstrated by Rousseau i n the f i r s t part of the Nouvelle H e l o i s e i n which he d e s c r i b e s a walk i n t o the mountains of the High V a l a i s : It was here that I discerned i n the p u r i t y of the a i r , the true cause of the change i n my mood and of the r e t u r n of that inner peace that I had l o s t f o r so long. T h i s , indeed, i s a general f e e l i n g common to a l l men, though not a l l are aware of i t . In the high mountains, where the a i r i s pure and r a r e f i e d , we breathe more e a s i l y , our bodies f e e l l i g h t e r , our minds more serene, our pleasures l e s s keen, our passions more r e s t r a i n e d . (J.H. Mason 1979, 137-38) According to S t a r o b i n s k i " ( t ) h e mountain to him was the answer to h i s hunger f o r the a b o l i t i o n of the i n e v i t a b l e impediments to v i s i o n and communication elsewhere." (Harvey 1980,  10)  In a d d i t i o n to the mystical aspect of Rousseau's r e l a t i o n s h i p with nature there e x i s t s a general enjoyment of the world of t r e e s , p l a n t s and flowers. In f a c t , Rousseau became i n t e n s e l y i n t e r e s t e d in the study of botany. "I know of no study in the world b e t t e r s u i t e d to my natural t a s t e s than that of p l a n t s . " (J.H. Mason 1979, 262) Rousseau not only s t u d i e d botany but wrote on i t as w e l l , c o l l e c t i n g together h i s observations i n h i s D i c t i o n a r y of Botanical Terms. Thus, h i s experiences  with  nature became marked not only by keen observation but a l s o of experience and p a r t i c i p a t i o n . "Instead of being overwhelemed by the weight of the universe, he was now overwhelmed by the marvels  28  of the natural world," (J.H. Mason 1979, 263) and in his f i n a l years the euphoria he f e l t when interacting with nature almost became his only sanctuary from a world he f e l t had abandoned him. As an example of t h i s , the following is an extract from his Reveries of the S o l i t a r y Walker written during his stay on the island of S a i n t - P i e r r e : When the evening approached I went down from the top of the island and happily sat on the shore beside the lake, in some hidden spot. There the sound of the waves and the agitation of the water captivated my senses; they drove every other agitation from my soul and plunged i t into delicious r e v e r i e s ; the night often surprised me without my having noticed i t ; the ebb and flow of the water, with i t s continous sound, r i s i n g and f a l l i n g , constantly struck my ears and my eyes; they made up for the internal movements which the reverie had extinguished inside me; they were enough to make me feel my existence with pleasure, without taking the trouble to think. Sometimes some weak and b r i e f r e f l e c t i o n was born on the i n s t a b i l i t y of earthly things, the image of which was on the surface of the water. But soon these l i g h t impressions were awed in the uniformity of continuous movement which l u l l e d me and held me, without any active help from my soul, to such an extent that, when called by the hour and the signal agreed upon, I could not tear myself away from there without e f f o r t . (J.H. Mason 1979, 265-66) The sense of communion with nature, t h i s reaffirmation of i t s cleansing s p i r i t contrasted sharply with the dominant mechanistic paradigm of nature so prevalent during Rousseau's era. According to Cassirer, "Rousseau once again discovered the soul of nature" (Cassirer 1989, 106) thus perhaps becoming the f i r s t to enunciate a t r u l y theological ecology, an ecological outlook based on f a i t h rather than straight  fact.  This concept of nature's soul was to become central to Rousseau's view of the natural world. In his Profession of Faith  29  of a Savoyard Vicar Rousseau outlined his b e l i e f that, contrary to the m a t e r i a l i s t view that matter has movement or order of i t s own, "there must be an independent source of l i f e and i n t e l l i gence... that is outside of the world and ourselves, namely, God." (J.H. Mason 1979, 210-11) Thus, the order or design he saw in the world was a d i r e c t proof of the existence of God. In addition, he argued for the concept of ' f i r s t cause,'  supporting  i t by r e f e r r i n g to the dictates of his 'inner voice' or conscience: So the world is not some huge animal which moves of i t s own accord; i t s movements are therefore due to some external cause, a cause which I cannot perceive. But the inner voice makes t h i s cause so apparent to me that I cannot watch the course of the sun without imagining a force which drives i t , and when the earth revolves I think I see the hand that sets i t in motion.... (J.H. Mason 1979, 217) Thus, he could not fathom the materialist concept "that passive and dead matter can have brought forth l i v i n g and feeling beings, that blind chance has brought forth i n t e l l i g e n t beings, that that which does not think has brought forth thinking beings."  (J.H.  Mason 1979, 219) Instead he believed that the world was governed by ' a wise and powerful w i l l , ' and he saw the 'spectacle of nature' as God's handiwork. If matter in motion points me to a w i l l , matter in motion according to fixed laws points me to an i n t e l l i g e n c e ; that is the second a r t i c l e of my creed. To act, to compare, to choose, are the operations of an active thinking being; so t h i s being e x i s t s . Where do you find him e x i s t i n g , you w i l l say? Not merely in the revolving heavens, nor in the sun which gives us l i g h t , not in myself alone, but in the sheep that grazes, the bird that f l i e s , the stone that f a l l s and the l e a f blown by the wind. (J.H. Mason 1979, 218)  30  For Rousseau, God's handiwork could be seen everywhere in the natural world. E s s e n t i a l l y Rousseau believed in a natural r e l i g i o n based on our own experiences of the world and ourselves. As mentioned, he argued against r e v e l a t i o n , in favour of the concept of the 'spectacle of nature' and a b e l i e f in the 'inner v o i c e . ' He rejected any r e l i g i o n that r e l i e d on Scripture, or miracles, and instead professed a f a i t h that "was not a systematic set of b e l i e f s based on reason, but the r e a l i z a t i o n of the s p i r i t u a l element in our nature, a matter of experience rather than argument." (J.H. Mason 1979, 211) Thus, he placed his f a i t h squarely towards "a sense of wholeness in oneself and with the natural world," (Mason, 211) a world in which nature's order and i t s aesthetic q u a l i t i e s c l e a r l y revealed the hand of God. Rousseau also supported the concept of man's stewardship of nature. In the Profession he pointed out that "not only does he tame a l l the beasts, not only does he control i t s elements through his industry; but he alone knows how to control i t . " (J.H. Mason 1979, 220) But he cautions man not to be arrogant about this position of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y syaing that while "'man is lord of the earth on which he dwells,' he should not be 'puffed up by t h i s thought' but should instead be 'deeply moved by i t , ' because i t was a 'post of honour.'" (J.H. Mason 1979, 220) For Rousseau, the concept of stewardship was a trust that God placed in man's hands, while demanding of him that he rule " i t in a way consistent with being responsible to God for his realm." (Pepper 1984, 45)  31  Rousseau also developed a theory on the hierarchy of l i f e forms which marked perhaps the most ' t r a d i t i o n a l ' element of his philosophy regarding the natural world, much of i t 'borrowed' from the great n a t u r a l i s t of his day: George-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon. Buffon's  ideas, drawn p a r t i c u l a r l y from his Natural  History, would permeate much of Rousseau's work e s p e c i a l l y in the second Discours.  (Starobinski  1988, 323) Rousseau's method in  t h i s Discours was similar to Buffon's  in that they both "begin by  describing an elementary form of existence as exhaustively as possible; they then identify what is due to the subsequent development of higher f a c u l t i e s by comparing the developed with the elementary form." (Starobinski  1988, 323) For Rousseau,  there was a great difference between primitive man and the apes. In f a c t , Rousseau even speculated that some higher forms of apes l i k e orangutans were not apes at a l l but primitive men, thus he expanded "the l i m i t s of mankind." (Starobinski  1988, 327) The  second Discours, written a century before Darwin's Origins the Species,  of  essentially  took a resolutely evolutionary view toward human nature. Two hundred years before students of animal behavior... brought us extensive studies of our primate r e l a t i v e s , Rousseau focused on the behavior of these species as a clue to our own o r i g i n s . And long before a generation of anthropologists brought back t r u l y careful accounts of p r e l i t e r a t e or 'savage' s o c i e t i e s , Rousseau insisted that they f u l l y deserved the name 'human.' (Masters 1968, 95) Furthermore, Rousseau insisted on the idea of 'natural s e l e c t i o n ' or ' s u r v i v a l of the f i t t e s t ' long before Darwin, too. In the second Discours he argued that:  32  considering (man), in a word, as he must have come from the hands of nature...children bringing into the world the excellent constitution of t h e i r fathers and f o r t i f y i n g i t with the same t r a i n i n g that produced i t , thus acquire a l l the vigor of which the human species is capable. Nature treats them p r e c i s l y as the law of Sparta treated the children of c i t i z e n s : i t renders strong and robust those who are well constituted and makes a l l the others perish. (Masters 1968, 96) Although Rousseau recognized man as a member of the b i o t i c community, he j u s t i f i e d seeing man at the top of the evolutionary scale by arguing that man's a b i l i t y to reason and his 'freedom to a c t ' separated him from other l i f e forms. This does not necessarily put Rousseau at odds with modern environmentalists, because many of them recognize that human beings play a special role within the b i o t i c community. It  is only the 'deep ecolo-  g i s t s , ' who deny t h i s special role and equate human beings with all  other constituents of planet earth. The most important  consideration, Rousseau would argue, would be to preserve and respect the i n t e g r i t y of God's handiwork, in other words to act as careful  stewards.  According to N.J.H. Dent, Rousseau supported his b e l i e f that man was above the animals "because of the scope and ingenuity of his action; because of his industry and p r a c t i c a l i n t e l l i g e n c e ; because of his capacity to understand the whole and his own position in that."  (1989, 240) For J . C . Greene, however,  "by his d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of men and animals on the basis of the p e r f e c t i b i l i t y of the former only, Rousseau in effect denied the p o s s i b i l i t y of organic evolution in the rest of the animal kingdom  " (Horowitz 1987, 54) Asher Horowitz, on the other  33  hand, denies t h i s interpretation saying that by distinguishing between animals and man Rousseau was merely arguing that the two have d i f f e r e n t modes of evolution. Horowitz argues that  Rousseau  is actually s i l e n t about evolution in the lower forms of l i f e , but he s k i l l f u l l y intertwines man's ' b i o l o g i c a l  and c u l t u r a l  evolution' suggesting that cultural evolution in man is speeded up by his capacity for p e r f e c t i b i l i t y which animals do not possess; thus the gap between man and animals " i s not absolute, even though the differences amount to q u a l i t a t i v e ones." (1987, 64) While Rousseau did refer to animals in some of his  writings  as nothing more than 'ingenious machines,' he does appear that he f e l t they deserved respect as creatures created by God with purpose and i n t r i n s i c value. In the second Discours he pointed out that, as sentient beings, animals should not be mistreated, but i f i t came down to a choice between man and animal, man was to p r e v a i l . (Crocker 1967, 172) In opposition to Descartes, who denied that animals had conscious f e e l i n g , Rousseau argued that as they partake in some measure of our nature in virtue of that s e n s i b i l i t y with which they are endowned, we may well imagine they ought likewise to partake of the benefit of the natural law, and that man owes them a certain kind of duty. In f a c t , i t seems that, i f I am obliged not to injure any being l i k e myself, i t is not so much because he is a reasonable being, as because he is a sensible being; and this q u a l i t y , by being common to men and beasts, ought to exempt the l a t t e r from any unnecessary i n j u r i e s the former might be able to do them. (1967, 172) Tied in with this is Rousseau's b e l i e f in p i t y as an innate tendancy in man--"a natural aversion to seeing any other being,  34  but e s p e c i a l l y any being l i k e ourselves, suffer or p e r i s h . " (1967, 171) One gets the sense that Rousseau believes that unnecessary cruelty to animals may desensitize man to the extent that he may begin to turn on his fellow man. In t h i s respect, Rousseau's regard for other sentient beings may have a certain anthropocentrism that would be considered a u t i l i t a r i a n and therefore f a l s e value by some ecocentrics, e s p e c i a l l y those in favour of animal  rights.  In other respects, however, Rousseau "seems to have recognized the strength of the arguments for vegetarianism without actually adopting the practice  " (Singer 1990, 203)  In the Emile, his educational t r e a t i s e , he quotes Plutarch who attacks "the use of animals for food as unnatural, unnecessary, bloody murder:" (1990, 203) ...was i t a courage appropriate to men that possessed the f i r s t one who brought his mouth to wounded f l e s h , who used his teeth to break the bones of an expiring animal, who had dead bodies--cadavers--served to him, and swallowed up in his stomach parts which a moment before bleated, lowed, walked, and saw? How could his hand have plunged a knife into the heart of a f e e l i n g being? How could his eyes have endured a murder? (Bloom 1979, 154) It  is not c l e a r , however, how far Rousseau was prepared to extend  t h i s p o s i t i o n ; although, i t would not be u n r e a l i s t i c to conclude that only sentient beings, and perhaps only the highly 'developed' ones, would be considered. For Rousseau, hierarchy in the natural order determined the extent to which man owed lower forms of l i f e a duty to recognize t h e i r right to e x i s t . However, i t appears that Rousseau would have violated this right i f i t was considered  35  necessary, although i t i s l i k e l y he would have held a high standard of what e x a c t l y would be considered 'necesssary.' T h i s approach, thus, r e j e c t s the e g a l i t a r i a n p o s i t i o n taken by modern 'deep e c o l o g i s t s ' t h a t every member of the b i o t i c community has i n t r i n s i c worth and at l e a s t the r i g h t to e x i s t . One c o u l d argue, o f course, t h a t l i o n s do not n e c e s s a r i l y t h i n k of r i g h t s when s t a l k i n g antelope. According to Roderick Nash non-human forms o f l i f e l a c k "the mental c a p a c i t y to t h i n k of t h e i r behavior i n terms of r i g h t and wrong or to enter i n t o a r e c i p r o c a l e t h i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p with humans." (1989, 124) At any r a t e , to extend r i g h t s to lower forms of l i f e would r e q u i r e , in the words o f Peter Singer, " g r e a t e r a l t r u i s m on the p a r t o f mankind than any other l i b e r a t i o n movement because the b e n e f i c i a r i e s c o u l d not p r o t e s t on t h e i r own b e h a l f . " (Nash 1989, 138) For many, Rousseau i n c l u d e d , t h i s e t h i c a l  boundary  ends with s e n t i e n c e . The e s s e n t i a l i n g r e d i e n t s , t h e r e f o r e , of Rousseau's p h i l o s o p h i c a l approach to nature i n c l u d e the a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c idea that man b e n e f i t s from a communion with nature; a r e c o g n i t i o n o f God's handiwork i n the n a t u r a l order and man's duty to r e s p e c t God's c r e a t i o n s ; an emphasis on the a e s t h e t i c w i t h i n nature; a p r a c t i c a l i n t e r e s t i n the study o f botany; a b e l i e f i n a h i e r a r c h i c a l order i n nature with an emphasis on man's stewardship o f i t ; support f o r the concept of s e n t i e n c e as the grounds f o r r e c o g n i z i n g c e r t a i n ' r i g h t s ' f o r lower forms o f l i f e ; and a r e j e c t i o n o f the mechanistic view o f nature which sees i t as 'dead matter' governed by u n i v e r s a l mathematical  36  principles.  In summary, Rousseau appears to have favoured a view of nature r e f l e c t e d by modern s c i e n t i f i c ecocentrics. He r e a l i s e d that man was a member of the b i o t i c community (not above i t ) , but in recognizing man's stewardship of nature he supported the view that society had to reduce i t s impact on the natural world by c a r e f u l l y regulating those a c t i v i t i e s that would be harmful to i t .  37  CHAPTER THREE: ROUSSEAU. THOREAU AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM Rousseau, Romanticism and the Transcendentalist Connection Rousseauian ideas would soon form part of the philosophy of romantic thought which would eventually find i t s way to the United States in the form of Transcendentalism. According to Richard Schneider "(t)ranscendentalism was an American offshoot of European romanticism based mostly on the philosophy of Kant and Hegel as f i l t e r e d through the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge." (1987, 5) Kant himself recognized the debt he owed to Rousseau in his thought acknowledging that Rousseau's concept of moral i n s t i n c t made him "the Newton of the moral world" (Temmer 1962, 113); thus, i t is not overstatement to argue that Transcendentalism i s , at least p a r t i a l l y , indebted to Rousseau. Indeed, Norman Foerster argues t h i s point saying that Rousseau, Kant and his successors in German philosophy, the Romantic movement in Germany and England " i n large degree supplied both the substance and point of view" (1969, 2) to the American Romantic movement r e f l e c t e d by the Transcendentalists. Mark Temmer supports this contention arguing that since Kant and the German Idealists were deeply indebted to Rousseau there exists "a strong ideological current that leads from Rousseau to Emerson and Thoreau." (1962, 113) Walter Harding, on the other hand, downplays t h i s connection by arguing that "(w)hile i t is widely recognized that a l l the American Transcendentalists derived much of t h e i r i n s p i r a t i o n from the German Transcendentalists, most of i t came second hand through Coleridge and C a r l y l e . " (1980, 97) In support of t h i s  38  supposition, James Mcintosh argues that "(t)he influence of European romantic writers...(was) occassional, not c e n t r a l . " (Mcintosh 1974, 50) It  is contended here, however, that even  ' o c c a s s i o n a l ' or 'second hand' inspiration recognizes the idea that there are, at l e a s t , connections between Rousseau, the romantics and American Transcendentalists. The term 'transcendental' was f i r s t used by Kant as "a formal response to the skeptical or sensational  philosophy of  Locke, which i n s i s t s that the mind contains only that which has been previously experienced by the senses."  (Bodily,  205)  According to Christopher Bodily, Kant believed that a class of ideas existed which were not derived from sense experience but which instead consisted of "natural i n t u i t i o n s of the mind through which experiences become meaningful  " (1987, 205)  These i n t u i t i o n s 'transcended' ordinary forms of understanding gleaned through the senses, and are e s s e n t i a l l y "a p r i o r i fundamental p r i n c i p l e s or structuring processes of a l l knowledge."  (Angeles 1981, 297)  Transcendentalists believe in the superiority of the i n t u i t i v e or s p i r i t u a l over empirical knowledge, and they hold that "there is an i d e a l , s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t y beyond the spacetime world of our experience that can be grasped and with which a l l things are infused." (1981, 297) According to Foerster the central words in t h e i r thought include ' i n t u i t i o n , ' ' s e l f - r e l i a n c e , ' and 'following one's genius.'  (1969, 3)  In  addition, transcendental thought divided the world into m a t e r i a l i s t s and i d e a l i s t s . This position put the Transcenden-  39  t a l i s t s i n d i r e c t o p p o s i t i o n to m a t e r i a l i s t s o c i e t y and demanded: an inner s t r e n g t h and s e l f - r e l i a n c e t h a t was a c h a l l e n g e to maintain. I t meant t h a t 'whosoever would be a man must be a nonconformist;' t h a t i s , the i n d i v i d u a l must be w i l l i n g t o a c t on h i s or her conscience r a t h e r than on the o p i n i o n s o f s o c i e t y whenever the two c o n f l i c t . (Schneider 1987, 6) The Rousseauian f l a v o u r i n these comments i s unmistakable, p a r t i c u l a r l y i t s emphasis on i n d i v i d u a l conscience over the opinions of society. It i s Ralph Waldo Emerson who i s recognized as the l e a d i n g proponent o f T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t thought. He "presumed a s p e c i a l knowledge or r e l a t i o n s h i p with nature d e r i v e d from i n t u i t i o n . " ( B o d i l y 1987, 206) Furthermore, he i n s i s t e d t h a t i f "we continue to suppress and ignore the n a t u r a l i n t u i t i o n s o f our mind, t o r e f u s e t o g i v e these i n t u i t i o n s a u t h o r i t y over our experience, then we w i l l be bound to a v u l g a r , l o w - l i v e d , and f r i v o l o u s e x i s t e n c e . " ( B o d i l y 1987, 206) For Emerson, Transcendentalism was a r e a c t i o n a g a i n s t "dogmatism, a g a i n s t P u r i t a n Orthodoxy, and a g a i n s t formalism and t r a d i t i o n , " ( B o d i l y 1987, 206) and h i s emphasis on i n t u i t i o n can be compared to Rousseau's concept o f a balance between reason and s e n s i b i l i t e . Emerson emphasized mind over matter arguing t h a t "(m)ind i s the only r e a l i t y , o f which a l l other natures are b e t t e r or worse r e f l e c t o r s . Nature, l i t e r a t u r e , h i s t o r y , are only s u b j e c t i v e phenomena." (Sneider 1987, 203) Emerson focused on the r e a l i t y o f ' s o u l ' alone, and t h i s s u b j e c t i f i c a t i o n and s u b o r d i n a t i o n o f the n a t u r a l world i s p r i m a r i l y the reason why Emerson i s not recognized as an i n s p i r a t i o n f o r modern environmental ism. That  40  'honour' would go t o one o f h i s p u p i l s : Henri David Thoreau. Rousseau and Thoreau: A Comparative A n a l y s i s Thoreau has been d e s c r i b e d as "a c h i l d o f the Romantic e r a . " (Sneider 1987, 392) According t o Mcintosh, Thoreau's romantic consciousness i s " c o n d i t i o n e d by h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l i n h e r i t a n c e from romanticism,; a n d . . . r e f l e c t s h i s contemporary awareness as a T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t . . . " (1974, 22) He was " c o n t i n u a l l y f a s c i n a t e d by the r e l a t i o n o f the p o e t i c mind t o the e x t e r n a l world. Mcintosh sees him as a 'romantic n a t u r a l i s t ' because he regarded man's "communication with nature as s p i r i t u a l , not d e s t r u c t i v e o f human s p i r i t , " (1974, 9) and a l s o because he gave "nature the d i g n i t y o f an independent s t a t u s . " (1974, 53) Thoreau f i r s t came i n t o contact with Emerson as a c o l l e g e student a f t e r reading h i s seminal work Nature d u r i n g h i s s e n i o r at Harvard. (Schneider 1987, 5) Emerson, thus, became Thoreau's i n t e l l e c t u a l mentor and he even l i v e d with Emerson and h i s f a m i l y f o r a p e r i o d o f time. Thoreau, however, d i d not share Emerson's doubt about the e x i s t e n c e o f the n a t u r a l world. H i s b e l i e f i n the " r e a l i t y o f nature was unshakable..." (Schneider 1987, 7) For Thoreau, " r e a l i t y c o n s i s t e d i n the r e l a t i o n among God, humanity, and nature--a s o r t o f t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t t r i n i t y - - e a c h with i t s own i n t e g r i t y and c r e a t i v i t y . " (Schneider 1987, 7) Thoreau b e l i e v e d that the " i d e a l was not t o be found so much beyond the m a t e r i a l world (as Emerson argued) as w i t h i n and through i t . " (Schneider 1987, 7) Instead, Thoreau want "to get p a r t way out o f h i s i s o l a t e d mind and c l o s e r t o nature, t o e x i s t i n a border area  41  between t h a t mind and nature." (Mcintosh 1974, 21) and thus f a c i l i t a t e the process of s e l f - d i s c o v e r y . Thoreau put t h i s process i n t o a c t i o n i n 1845 when Emerson gave him permission to use some of h i s land at Walden Pond, where Thoreau went to l i v e f o r two y e a r s . There he used an axe to c l e a r a small p i e c e of land and b u i l t h i m s e l f a modest c a b i n . During t h i s time Thoreau immersed h i m s e l f i n the p r a c t i c a l study o f nature developing h i s s k i l l s as a b o t a n i s t much l i k e Rousseau d i d one hundred years e a r l i e r . Both seemed to f e e l t h a t an a p p r e c i a t i o n of nature c o u l d not be f u l l y developed without a p r a c t i c a l working knowledge o f i t s f u n c t i o n s . The work he produced d u r i n g t h i s time, Walden, would represent much of the core of h i s thought, but i t i s a l s o c h a l k f u l l of h i s p r a c t i c a l o b s e r v a t i o n s . According to B o d i l y , his two years at Walden Pond was "an attempt at pragmatic d i s c o v e r y , at c o n f r o n t i n g l i f e , e x p e r i e n c i n g and experimenting, working to i n c r e a s e l i f e ' s present meaning." (1987, 212) Thoreau would subsequently w r i t e of h i s reasons f o r going i n t o the woods i n an essay t i t l e d "Where I L i v e d , and What I L i v e d For:" I went to the woods because I wished to l i v e d e l i b e r a t e l y , to f r o n t only the e s s e n t i a l f a c t s o f l i f e , and see i f I could not l e a r n what i t had to teach and not, when I came to d i e , d i s c o v e r t h a t I had not l i v e d I wanted to l i v e deep and suck out a l l the marrow o f life. (Anderson 1973,  168)  One o f the primary purposes of Walden, thus, was to show t h a t people were capable of l i v i n g i n nature and t h a t the experience would be s p i r i t u a l l y e n l i g h t e n i n g . Although Thoreau recognized mankind's s e p a r a t i o n from nature he s t i l l wanted to experience  42  a f e e l i n g o f being 'at home' i n i t : (Mcintosh 1974, 51) We need the t o n i c o f w i l d n e s s - - t o wade sometimes i n marshes where the b i t t e r n and the meadow-hen l u r k , and hear the booming o f the snipe; t o smell the whispering sedge where only some w i l d e r and more s o l i t a r y fowl b u i l d s her nest, and the mink crawls with i t s b e l l y c l o s e t o the ground We can never have enough o f Nature...(and at Walden Pond I w a s ) . . . a f f e c t e d as i f in a p e c u l i a r sense I stood i n the l a b o r a t o r y o f the A r t i s t who made me. (Shanley 1971, 317-18) Although there i s no evidence t o suggest Thoreau ever read Rousseau d i r e c t l y , Thoreau's i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f God with nature and h i s r e v e r e n t r e s p e c t f o r nature c l e a r l y harken back to Rousseau. In the essay "The Ascent o f Saddleback"  Thoreau  again h i n t s at the concept o f d i v i n e handiwork i n nature by d e s c r i b i n g the beginning o f h i s walk with the o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t " ( i ) t seemed a road f o r the p i l g r i m t o enter upon who would climb t o the gates o f heaven." (Anderson 1973, 123) According to Nash, Thoreau's T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t background l e d him t o believe in an 'Oversoul' o r g o d l i k e moral f o r c e t h a t permeated e v e r y t h i n g i n nature. Using i n t u i t i o n r a t h e r than reason and s c i e n c e , humans could transcend p h y s i c a l appearances and p e r c e i v e 'the c u r r e n t s o f the U n i v e r s a l Being.' b i n d i n g the world together. (Nash 1989, 36) Commentators, however, have argued t h a t Thoreau's d e s c r i p t i o n s of nature are not n e c e s s a r i l y t h e o l o g i c a l i n connotation so much as 'mental and c e l e s t i a l , ' i n other words a "romantic, not a C h r i s t i a n , r e v e l a t i o n . " (Mcintosh 1974, 163) Another p a r a l l e l t o Rousseau can be found i n Thoreau's love o f s o l i t a r y walks as a means o f r e v e r i e . In h i s essay 43  "The Wild," Thoreau d e s c r i b e s the b e n e f i t s o f t h i s form o f i n t e r a c t i o n with nature: "I t h i n k t h a t I cannot preserve my h e a l t h and s p i r i t s , unless I spend f o u r hours a day at l e a s t . . . s a u n t e r i n g throught the woods and over the h i l l s and f i e l d s , a b s o l u t e l y f r e e from a l l w o r l d l y engagements." (Anderson 1973, 135) Indeed, Thoreau p i t i e s those who cannot or do not enjoy walking throught the woods as he does saying "I t h i n k they they deserve some c r e d i t f o r not having a l l committed s u i c i d e long ago." (Anderson 1973, 135) L i k e Rousseau, Thoreau used these walks f o r s o l i t a r y contemplation, as a means o f breaking through the b a r r i e r s s e p a r a t i n g man from nature and p r e v e n t i n g him from d i s c o v e r i n g h i s t r u e s e l f . In essence, he sought a kind o f u n i t y or oneness with nature and, l i k e Rousseau, Thoreau made the p r i n c i p l e "'Know t h y s e l f " the s i n e qua non o f the t r u t h o f ( h i s ) words." (Temmer 1962, 112) According t o W i l l i a m Wolf, thus, there were two major components t o Thoreau's e c o l o g i c a l philosophy: "(1) a m y s t i c a l sense o f the oneness o f a l l l i f e throught r e c i p r o c a l i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p s , and (2) a s e n s i t i v i t y toward a l l o f nature, o r g a n i c and i n o r g a n i c , and a d e s i r e f o r f e l l o w s h i p with a l l t h i n g s . " (1974, 147) L i k e Rousseau, he acknowledges t h a t man i s a p a r t o f the n a t u r a l world and he expresses a d e s i r e f o r d i r e c t communion with i t , t o become "wholly i n v o l v e d i n nature...(even though)...our thoughts tend t o separate us from nature." (Mcintosh 1974, 249-50) In a d d i t i o n , Thoreau argued t h a t "nature f e e l s , sympathizes, i s s e n t i e n t , and t h a t as the r e s u l t o f her kindness the r e l a t i o n between man and nature i s one o f i n t i m a t e f r i e n d s h i p . " (Mcintosh 44  1974, 24) In the chapter " S o l i t u d e " from Walden t h i s sense t h a t nature i t s e l f i s a l i v e and t h a t man i s i n t i m a t e l y connected with i t i s made c l e a r : A l l Nature would be a f f e c t e d , and the sun's b r i g h t n e s s fade, and the winds would s i g n humanely, and the clouds r a i n t e a r s , and the woods shed t h e i r leaves and put on mourning i n midsummer, i f any man should ever f o r a j u s t cause g r i e v e . S h a l l I not have i n t e l l i g e n c e with the earth? Am I not p a r t l y leaves and vegetable mould myself? (Shanley 1971,  138)  Thus, h i s philosophy r e v e a l e d a r e j e c t i o n of the e a r t h as a dead, i n e r t mass, but i n s t e a d r e f l e c t e d a b e l i e f t h a t " i t i s a body, has a s p i r i t , i s organic and f l u i d to the i n f l u e n c e o f i t s s p i r i t . " (Nash 1989, 37) The natural world, thus, i s d e s c r i b e d as an i n t e g r a t e d community o f which man was a p a r t . For Thoreau, there was no h i e r a r c h y or d i s c r i m i n a t i o n i n nature. "What we c a l l w i l d n e s s . . . i s a c i v i l i z a t i o n other than our own  The woods...  were not t e n a n t l e s s , but c h o k e - f u l l o f honest s p i r i t s as good as myself any day." (Nash 1989,  37)  Furthermore, according to Paul de Man,  "Saddleback"  can be compared to the t w e n t y - t h i r d l e t t e r o f Rousseau's Nouvelle H e l o i s e where "the p o e t - p r o t a g o n i s t t e l l s o f h i s f e e l i n g s o f transcendence, freedom, and peace i n the high mountains (Paul de Man 1984, 13) The f o l l o w i n g example from  "  "Saddleback,"  which d e s c r i b e Thoreau's observations and f e e l i n g s upon reaching the summit o f the mountain, c l e a r l y p a r a l l e l Rousseau: As the l i g h t i n c r e a s e d , I d i s c o v e r e d around me an ocean o f mist, which by chance reached up e x a c t l y to the base o f the tower, and shut out every v e s t i g e of the e a r t h , while I was l e f t f l o a t i n g on t h i s fragment o f the wreck o f a world, on my carved plank, i n c l o u d l a n d ; a s i t u a t i o n which r e q u i r e d no a i d from the imagination to render i t 45  impressive. (Anderson 1973,  127)  The ' s p e c t a c l e of nature,' thus, i s e x a l t e d by Thoreau and provides him with a mystical sense of peace and sympathetic f r i e n d ship with the natural world that could not be achieved w i t h i n the bosum of s o c i e t y : A l l around beneath me was spread f o r a hundred miles on every s i d e , as f a r as the eye could reach, an undulating country of clouds, answering i n the v a r i e d swell of i t s s u r f a c e to the t e r r e s t r i a l world i t v e i l e d . I t was such a country as we might see i n dreams, with a l l the d e l i g h t s of p a r a d i s e . (Anderson 1973,  127)  Obviously, Thoreau emphatically r e j e c t e d the idea of man's domination of nature, i n s t e a d l e a n i n g towards a kind of  stewardship  that was the l e a s t i n t r u s i v e . In t h i s r e s p e c t , Thoreau seems to have gone f u r t h e r than Rousseau. The environmental  e t h i c that  Thoreau advocated argued that a l l l i f e f o r m s are worthy of r e s p e c t , r e g a r d l e s s of t h e i r value to humans. He argued t h a t " ( e ) v e r y c r e a t u r e i s b e t t e r a l i v e than dead, men and moose and pine t r e e s . " (Nash 1989, 37) It would seem that Thoreau went much f u r t h e r than Rousseau i n applying the concept of sentience as a means of d i v i n i n g c e r t a i n r i g h t s to lower forms of l i f e . While Rousseau argued that animals should not be ' u n n e c e s s a r i l y ' harmed and t h a t to do so would denigrate man, Thoreau seems to be saying t h a t a l l members of the b i o t i c community had an i n t r i n s i c r i g h t to l i f e . Thus, he r e j e c t e d human domination of nature, going so f a r as to imply t h a t humans degraded nature by t h e i r very  46  presence.  As mentioned, Thoreau recognized t h a t nature had i n t r i n s i c value, an 'independent s t a t u s . ' He denied the concept o f h i e r a r c h y and argued t h a t b e l i e v i n g t h a t one c o u l d possess nature was a c t u a l l y c o u n t e r - p r o d u c t i v e . According to Mcintosh: ...(T)he d e s i r e f o r a t o t a l possession o f nature by the separated mind leads to a s e l f i s h and dangerous d i s t o r t i o n o f the observed world and a r e d u c t i o n o f t h i s source o f t h e i r being, a way of k i l l i n g a god they need. T h e r e f o r e , they (should) t r y to conceive the imagination as r e c o n c i l e d to nature, not as c o n t r o l l i n g i t or wholly t r a n s f o r m i n g i t ; and they seek an imaginative balance between mind and nature. (1974, 53) In f a c t , i t c o u l d be argued t h a t t h i s balance between mind and nature echoes Rousseau's c a l l f o r a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n between reason and f e e l i n g and between man and nature i t s e l f . For Thoreau, t h i s s y n t h e s i s o f reason and f e e l i n g went beyond simply obeying the i n s t i n c t s o f one's temperament, but i n s t e a d i n v o l v e d s u b j e c t i n g these i n s t i n c t s to the s c r u t i n y of man's innate c a p a c i t y f o r r e f l e c t i o n . U l t i m a t e l y , Thoreau was convinced t h a t the man/nature r e l a t i o n s h i p o f h i s time had become s t r a i n e d by man's d e s i r e f o r dominion over nature. He r e j e c t e d the materi a l i s t , as well as the u t i l i t a r i a n conceptions o f h i s time, and by doing so guaranteed h i m s e l f immortality as a i n s p i r a t i o n to later environmentalists. Rousseau and John Muir Another major f i g u r e of the 19th century who would become a major i n f l u e n c e of modern environmental ism was John Muir, founder of the S i e r r a Club (1892). S i m i l a r to Thoreau, Muir b e l i e v e d  47  that nature e x i s t e d f i r s t and foremost f o r i t s e l f and f o r i t s c r e a t o r . Everything had value. But Muir went even f u r t h e r by promoting a r a d i c a l l y e g a l i t a r i a n form of ecocentrism.  For  example, he placed absolute value on every part of the natural world asking such extreme questions as "would not the world s u f f e r . . . b y the banishment of a s i n g l e weed." (Nash 1989,  39)  Muir agreed with e a r l i e r romantic t h i n k e r s that the "basis of respect f o r nature was to recognize i t as part of the created community to which humans a l s o belonged." (1989, 39) He s t r o n g l y f e l t that God's presence was everywhere, not only i n animals but in p l a n t s and rocks as w e l l . He a l s o denied the concept of h i e r a r c h y w i t h i n the natural order asking the question:  "Why  should man value himself as more than a small part of one great u n i t of c r e a t i o n . " (1989, 39) In part, Muir was i n s p i r e d by the s c i e n t i f i c ecocentrism  of  Darwin whose " e v o l u t i o n a r y explanation of the p r o l i f e r a t i o n of l i f e on earth undermined d u a l i s t i c philosophies...(which  argued  f o r ) . . . h i e r a r c h y , dominion...(and t h e ) . . . e x p e c t a t i o n that the r e s t of nature e x i s t e d to serve one precocious  primate."  (1989, 42) Thus, f o r Muir the concept of e v o l u t i o n "was  an  enormously humbling idea, suggesting that every c r e a t u r e on the planet had a r i g h t to e x i s t - - o r at l e a s t the r i g h t to s t r u g g l e to e x i s t — e q u a l to that of every other c r e a t u r e . " (1989, 43) In t h i s sense, Muir went beyond the concept of  stewardship  advocated by Rousseau who, as s t a t e d , saw man as being  ordained  by God to manage the world in an ' e n v i r o n m e n t a l l y - f r i e n d l y ' Muir a l s o expressed,  way.  in s i m i l a r f a s h i o n to Rousseau, the view that 48  communion with nature was a s p i r i t u a l l y u p l i f t i n g experience. According to Murray Bookchin, Muir found i n wilderness a s p i r i t u a l l y r e v i v i n g form o f communion with nonhuman l i f e ; one t h a t presumably awakened deep-seated human longings and i n s t i n c t s . T h i s view goes back to...Rousseau' i d y l l i c passion f o r a s o l i t a r y way o f l i f e amidst n a t u r a l beauty. (1989, 152-153) For Muir " ( n ) a t u r e was h i s church, the p l a c e where he p e r c e i v e d and worshipped God, and from t h a t standpoint p r o t e c t i o n o f nature became a holy war." (Nash 1989, 41) Like Rousseau, thus, Muir seemed to forward an a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c view t h a t p r e s e r v i n g nature b e n e f i t e d man by c l e a n s i n g h i s s p i r i t of the e v i l s o f an e x p l o i t a t i v e s o c i a l order. In h i s defence, however, Nash argues t h a t Muir's l a t e r emphasis on the b e n e f i t s o f nature f o r people was designed to "camouflage h i s r a d i c a l e g a l i t a r i a n i s m i n more acceptable r h e t o r i c . " (Nash 1989, 41) T h i s was done i n order to convince those i n p o l i t i c a l power of the n e c e s s i t y of passing l e g i s l a t i o n designed to preserve n a t u r a l w i l d e r n e s s areas such as Yosemite National Park and the High S i e r r a i n h i s home s t a t e o f California. In f a c t , Muir clashed v i g o r o u s l y with managerial  conser-  v a t i o n i s t s such as G i f f o r d Pinchot who opposed 'wilderness f o r wilderness-sake' p r e s e r v a t i o n i s t s l i k e Muir. For Pinchot: The f i r s t great f a c t about c o n s e r v a t i o n . . . i s t h a t i t stands f o r development Conservation does mean p r o v i s i o n f o r the f u t u r e but i t means a l s o and f i r s t o f a l l the r e c o g n i t i o n of the r i g h t of the present g e n e r a t i o n to the f u l l e s t necessary use o f a l l the resources with which t h i s country i s so abundantly b l e s s e d . (Pepper 1984,  82) 49  T h i s h i g h l y u t i l i t a r i a n concept of nature, however, enraged Muir who "held nothing back when i t came to a t t a c k i n g people who would d e s t r o y the w i l d e r n e s s . " (Nash 1989, 41) His was a "manichaen world o f b l a c k and white, good and e v i l , vying f o r the American environment," (Nash 1989, 41) and he f e r v e n t l y b e l i e v e d t h a t h i s opponents, Pinchot i n c l u d e d , were not simply wrong but m o r a l l y bankrupt. For Muir, the best "human economic a c t i v i t y . . . w a s n e a r l y i n v i s i b l e . " (Paehlke 1989, 17) In s i m i l a r f a s h i o n to both Thoreau and Rousseau, he admired the n a t i v e peoples o f North America who "walk s o f t l y and hurt the landscape h a r d l y more than the b i r d s or s q u i r r e l s , and t h e i r brush and bark huts l a s t h a r d l y l o n g e r than those o f woodrats." (Paehlke 1989, 17) In essence, Muir f e l t t h a t "humans had no r i g h t to a l t e r the n a t u r a l surrounding in ways nature c o u l d not r e s t o r e w i t h i n a s h o r t p e r i o d o f time." (Paehlke 1989, 17) Thus, Muir's approach m i r r o r s t h a t o f Thoreau, but goes much f u r t h e r than Rousseau. While Rousseau supported stewardship and e s s e n t i a l l y regarded communion with nature as b e n e f i c i a l to man, Muir denied h i e r a r c h y i n nature and supported the idea of the nature's i n t r i n s i c worth r e g a r d l e s s o f i t s u t i l i t y to man. L i k e Rousseau, however, Muir equated the n a t u r a l world with the presence o f God and regarded human a c t i v i t y t h a t degraded t h i s world as a s a c r i l e g e . Muir's o r i e n t a t i o n , thus, gave "the p r e s e r v a t i o n crusade a c e r t a i n moral i n t e n s i t y " (Nash 1989, 41) t h a t would be adopted by the r a d i c a l e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s o f l a t e r g e n e r a t i o n s , l e a d i n g one to conclude t h a t i t i s Muir who may t r u l y be the f a t h e r o f modern environmental ism ( p a r t i c u l a r l y 'deep ecology').  50  Rousseau and Aldo Leopold Before going on to d i s c u s s some modern p e r s p e c t i v e s and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p with romanticism, we need to touch on one p h i l o s o p h e r whose " i n t e l l i g e n t blending o f ecology and e t h i c s " (Paehlke 1989, 18) has d i r e c t p a r a l l e l s to Rousseau and the romantic movement: Aldo Leopold. In doing so, we must keep in mind Rousseau's general approach to nature: h i s anthropocentrism, h i s sense o f duty to nature, h i s f a i t h i n the concept o f benign stewardship, h i s emphasis on the study o f botany, and h i s m y s t i c a l q u a s i - r e l i g i o u s reverence f o r God's handiwork. There i s l i t t l e doubt t h a t Aldo Leopold r e p r e s e n t s one o f the major i n f l u e n c e s i n the e v o l u t i o n of environmental e t h i c s . J . B a i r d C a l l i c o t t r e f e r r e d to Leopold as "the f a t h e r or founding genius o f recent environmental e t h i c s . " (Nash 1989, 63) In h i s h i g h l y p r o v o c a t i v e book A Sand County Almanac (1949) he enunciated the idea o f the interdependence of the b i o t i c community t h a t we have a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d . For Leopold, man had to change h i s r o l e from t h a t o f a conqueror o f nature to simply t h a t o f a member of the 1 and-community, a community he b e l i e v e d was, i n f a c t , an organism or l i v i n g r e a l i t y . (Paehlke 1989, 18) He argued t h a t "(w)e abuse land because we regard i t as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use i t with love and r e s p e c t . " (Nash 1989, 69) He b e l i e v e d t h a t s i n c e man alone has the power to a f f e c t nature, we a l s o have the power to d e s t r o y o u r s e l v e s . Thus, we have a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to e s t a b l i s h what he r e f e r r e d to as the 'land  51  e t h i c ' which r e j e c t s the idea that we are sustained by i n d u s t r y and economy, but are instead sustained, "as are a l l l i v i n g t h i n g s , by the l a n d . We are but one part of an i n t e r a c t i v e global ecosystem, and we i n j u r e the land i n any way at our own p e r i l . " (Paehlke 1989, 18) Thus, the 'land e t h i c ' argues t h a t "(a) t h i n g i s r i g h t when i t tends to preserve the i n t e g r i t y , s t a b i l i t y and beauty of the b i o t i c community. It i s wrong when i t tends otherwise." (Leopold 1987, 224-25) This simple  statement  marked the core of Leopold's p h i l o s o p h i c a l approach. Leopold, h i m s e l f an e c o l o g i s t who worked as a manager of n a t i o n a l f o r e s t s i n New Mexico and A r i z o n a , s k i l l f u l l y combined science and sentiment, much l i k e Rousseau. His e a r l i e r w r i t i n g s , in p a r t i c u l a r , revealed a Rousseauian f l a v o u r by t a k i n g an instrumental view of the land e t h i c arguing that i t was  simply  prudent of man to t r e a t nature with an e t h i c a l regard s i n c e i t was the land t h a t sustained him. According to Nash, Leopold recognized t h a t expressing u t i l i t a r i a n c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i n h i s philosophy would win more adherents i n p o l i t i c a l c i r c l e s than i f he took a more a n t a g o n i s t i c approach ( s i m i l a r to Muir). (1989, 63) He r e a l i z e d that "philosophy and r e l i g i o n (had) not y e t h e a r d . . . ( o f ) . . . t h e extension of s o c i a l conscience  from  people to l a n d . " ( C a l l i c o t t 1987, 83) Yet i n the concluding s e c t i o n of the Almanac he took the f i n a l step from  anthropo-  centrism to a more r a d i c a l l y e c o c e n t r i c approach that argued in favour of the " i n s t r i n s i c r i g h t s to e x i s t e n c e of nonhuman l i f e forms and of l i f e communities or ecosystems." (1987, 81) S p e c i f i c a l l y , he a f f i r m e d that man had o b l i g a t i o n s to the  52  land "over and above those d i c t a t e d by s e l f - i n t e r e s t , o b l i g a t i o n s grounded on the r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t humans and the other components o f nature are e c o l o g i c a l equals." (1987, 81) F i n a l l y , i n order t h a t t h i s e t h i c be recognized and adhered to, Leopold argued f o r " a complete r e s t r u c t u r i n g o f b a s i c . . . p r i o r i t i e s and behavior, and a r a d i c a l r e d e f i n i t i o n o f progress." (1987, 84) Leopold's land e t h i c , thus, forwarded the view t h a t "the e a r t h was...an organism possessing a c e r t a i n kind and degree o f l i f e . " (1987, 78) T h i s concept would l a t e r be a f f i r m e d i n the 'Gaia hypothesis' o f James Lovelock who argues t h a t the e a r t h i s a l i v e . (Lovelock 1990,  3-14)  For Rousseau, the idea t h a t the land i t s e l f was a l i v e and had c e r t a i n r i g h t s , i n and of i t s e l f , was completely f o r e i g n . As mentioned, h i s philosophy was more of an 'eco-theology' c e n t e r i n g on the duty o f man to r e s p e c t God's n a t u r a l order and to act as a benign steward. Rousseau would have been more i n l i n e with Leopold's e a r l i e r w r i t i n g s t h a t argued i n favour o f a r e s p e c t f u l r e l a t i o n s h i p with nature t h a t was s p i r i t u a l l y u p l i f t i n g f o r man, and thus a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c i n i t s sentiments. However, Leopold's ecophilosophy, as i t developed, d i d reveal an outrage at simple u t i l i t a r i a n c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y those based on economics t h a t was c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Rousseau and the romantic movement. For Leopold, the d e s t r u c t i o n of land was wrong " i n the same sense t h a t abuse o f another human being was wrong." ( C a l l i c o t t 1987, 79) Rousseau, however, d i d not go t h i s f a r , d e s p i t e h i s reverence f o r the n a t u r a l world ( p o s s i b l y because i n Rousseau's  time  untouched w i l d e r n e s s was s t i l l abundant). In a d d i t i o n , the  53  concept o f extending r i g h t s to c e r t a i n c l a s s e s of people was s t i l l i n i t s i n f a n c y ; thus, the idea o f extending r i g h t s to the land would not have even been c o n s i d e r e d . Rousseau d i d b e l i e v e , however, t h a t s e n t i e n t beings deserved some form o f c o n s i d e r a t i o n , even though man's i n t e r e s t s may have to take precedence. Perhaps, though, the most d i s t i n c t p a r a l l e l between Rousseau and Leopold was t h a t they both shared what C a l l i c o t t has c a l l e d a 'land a e s t h e t i c ' As mentioned, Leopold argued t h a t a c t i o n s were r i g h t i f they tended to preserve the i n t e g r i t y , s t a b i l i t y , and beauty o f the b i o t i c community and were wrong i f they tended otherwise (emphasis added). Rousseau, too, spoke o f the j o y and reverence he f e l t f o r the 'wildness' o f the n a t u r a l order. His Reveries and the Nouvelle H e l o i s e are f u l l o f d e s c r i p t i v e passages (examples p r e v i o u s l y quoted) a l l u d i n g to the m a j e s t i c beauty o f nature i n i t s p r i s t i n e s t a t e . Both Rousseau and Leopold were n a t u r a l i s t s - - L e o p o l d was a t r a i n e d e c o l o g i s t and Rousseau  was  a s e l f - t a u g h t b o t a n i s t - - t h u s , both based t h e i r a p p r e c i a t i o n o f the a e s t h e t i c s o f the land on knowledgeable grounds. In h i s t h i r d l e t t e r to Malesherbes, Rousseau d e s c r i b e s a walk i n the f o r e s t of Montmorency: There nature seemed to u n f o l d before my eyes an ever-new magnificence. The gold of the broom and the purple o f the heather s t r u c k my eyes with a r i c h n e s s t h a t moved my heart. M a j e s t i c t r e e s covered me with t h e i r shade, d e l i c a t e shrubs surrounded me; the a s t o n i s h i n g v a r i e t y of herbs and flowers which I t r o d underfoot kept my mind c o n t i n u a l l y a l t e r i n g between o b s e r v a t i o n and admiration. (J.H. Mason 1979,  261) 54  For Leopold, t o o , a p p r e c i a t i o n o f the n a t u r a l beauty o f the land depended on one's own knowledge o f t h i n g s such as ecology, h i s t o r y , geology, and even paleontology, which helped form a r e f i n e d a p p r e c i a t i o n not only o f what one saw but what the r e l a t i o n o f t h a t v i s i o n was t o the whole o f nature and n a t u r a l h i s t o r y . "What one experiences i s as much a product o f how one t h i n k s as i t i s the c o n d i t i o n o f one's senses and the s p e c i f i c content o f one's environment" ( C a l l i c o t t 1987, 164)--the 'land aesthetic.' S i m i l a r l y , Rousseau d i s c u s s e s h i s f e e l i n g s about the study o f p l a n t s d u r i n g one p a r t i c u l a r walk: The constant s i m i l a r i t y , and at the same time e x t r a o r d i n a r y v a r i e t y , which p l a n t s possess, only a f f e c t s those who have some knowledge o f them. (Those who do not have t h i s knowledge) have only a s t u p i d and monotonous admiration, when they look on these t r e a s u r e s o f nature. They see nothing i n d e t a i l , they do not even know what they ought t o look a t . Nor are they aware o f the whole, because they have no idea o f the r e l a t i o n s and combinations which overwhelm with t h e i r marvels the mind o f the observer. (J.H. Mason 1979, 164) In a d d i t i o n , the 'land a e s t h e t i c ' i n v o l v e d a l l the senses: s m e l l , t a s t e , hearing and touch, as well as s i g h t . According t o C a l l i c o t t , t h i s combination enhanced one's sense o f a e s t h e t i c s and l e d one t o f i n d beauty i n w i l d nature as well as the s c e n i c or p i c t u r e s q u e . For Leopold, " ( t ) h e land a e s t h e t i c enable us t o mine the hidden r i c h e s o f the o r d i n a r y ; i t ennobles the commonplace; i t b r i n g s n a t u r a l beauty l i t e r a l l y home from the h i l l s . " (1987, 168) In t h i s sense i t f o s t e r s an a p p r e c i a t i o n of "the r i v e r bottoms, f a l l o w f i e l d s , bogs, and ponds on the  55  back f o r t y . " (1987, 168) T h i s i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e ' l a n d a e s t h e t i c ' becomes c l e a r when i t i s l i n k e d w i t h t h e e t h i c s o f environment a l ism. W h i l e e t h i c s i m p l y l i m i t a t i o n s on a c t i o n s which  may  be u n d e s i r a b l e , e n v i r o n m e n t a l a e s t h e t i c s d e a l s w i t h t h e b e a u t y o f t h e n a t u r a l e n v i r o n m e n t ; t h e r e f o r e , i t i s an a t t r a c t i o n and not a d u t y . "Duty i s d e m a n d i n g — o f t e n  something t o s h i r k ;  b e a u t y i s s e d u c t i v e — s o m e t h i n g t o l o v e and c h e r i s h . " (1987,  158)  Hence, L e o p o l d b e l i e v e d t h a t t o " ' c u l t i v a t e i n t h e p u b l i c . . . a r e f i n e d t a s t e i n n a t u r a l o b j e c t s ' i s v i t a l t o e n l i g h t e n e d democ r a t i c l a n d - u s e i s s u e s . " (1987, 158) Rousseau u n d o u b t e d l y would have a g r e e d . In summary, L e o p o l d ' s "most s i n g u l a r achievement was h i s i n t e l l i g e n t b l e n d i n g o f e c o l o g y and e t h i c s . He saw t h e l a n d i t s e l f as an o r g a n i s m , a l i v i n g r e a l i t y . " ( P a e h l k e 1989,  18)  R e c o g n i z i n g t h a t man a l o n e had t h e power t o d e s t r o y ' n a t u r e - a s - a whole,' he "went on t o d e v e l o p a r i c h e t h i c a l b a s i s f o r t h e p r e s e v a t i o n o f n a t u r e " ( P a e h l k e 1989, 18) and used s c i e n t i f i c o b s e r v a t i o n t o d i s c o v e r "the e x t e n t t o which humanity was a p a r t o f n a t u r e . " ( P a e h l k e 1989, 18) H i s work would p r o v e t o be one o f t h e g r e a t e s t i n f l u e n c e s on modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l ism, p a r t i c u l a r l y t h a t b r a n c h o f t h e movement which a s c r i b e s i n t r i n s i c v a l u e t o n a t u r e s e p a r a t e from man's u t i l i t a r i a n c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . Rousseau, Romanticism and t h e Modern E n v i r o n m e n t a l Movement A c c o r d i n g t o R o b e r t P a e h l k e , modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l ism "might be s a i d t o have begun i n 1960 w i t h t h e p u b l i c a t i o n o f Rachel C a r s o n ' s p r o f o u n d l y i m p o r t a n t book, S i l e n t S p r i n g . " (1989,  56  21)  T h i s book b l e n d e d s c i e n t i f i c , p o l i t i c a l and moral  arguments  b u i l d i n g on t h e work o f L e o p o l d "and became the h a l l m a r k o f p o p u l a r e n v i r o n m e n t a l ism." ( P a e h l k e 1989,  28)  E s s e n t i a l l y the book was w r i t t e n t o " i n f o r m t h e p u b l i c about t h e u n r e s t r i c t e d p r o l i f e r a t i o n o f c h e m i c a l p e s t i c i d e s i n the environment...(and  emphasized)...the  necessity of l i n k i n g  s c i e n t i f i c knowledge and p o l i t i c a l a c t i o n . " ( P a e h l k e 1989,  28)  C a r s o n " g a l v a n i z e d p u b l i c i n t e r e s t i n p o l l u t i o n by p o p u l a r i z i n g an u n d e r s t a n d i n g epidemiology--the  i n f o r m e d by t o x i c o l o g y , e c o l o g y ,  and  three sciences of p o l l u t i o n . " (Paehlke  1989,  29) Her work c o n f i r m e d what e a r l i e r p h i l o s o p h e r s c o u l d o n l y s p e c u l a t e about i n a b s t r a c t terms: the i n t e r r e l a t e d n e s s o f a l l members o f t h e b i o s p h e r e . By u t i l i z i n g her s c i e n t i f i c b a c k g r o u n d she p r e s e n t e d an argument based on f o u r key n a t u r a l p r o c e s s e s : bioaccumulation  (the buildup of t o x i c substances i n food c h a i n s ) ;  n a t u r a l r e s i s t e n c e ( l o w e r o r d e r s p e c i e s shrug o f f t o x i n s t h a t h i g h e r o r d e r s p e c i e s cannot r e s i s t ) ; n a t u r a l d i s p e r s i o n ( t o x i n s are d i s p e r s e d t h r o u g h o u t the b i o s p h e r e ) ; and, the b i o c h e m i c a l i n t e r a c t i o n of t o x i c substances  ( t o x i n combinations  l e t h a l forms o f p o l l u t i o n ) . ( P a e h l k e 1989, As a r e s u l t o f Carson's g r o u n d b r e a k i n g ,  c r e a t i n g more  31-32) yet controversial  work modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s have been a b l e t o d e v e l o p concept of interdependence  by r e c o g n i z i n g , r a t h e r than  the denying,  the v a l u e o f s c i e n t i f i c o b s e r v a t i o n . In much the same way t h a t Rousseau, Thoreau, and L e o p o l d i n s i s t e d t h a t a f u l l a p p r e c i a t i o n o f n a t u r e r e q u i r e s p r a c t i c a l knowledge o f i t s i n t e r w o r k i n g s , most modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s , l i k e C a r s o n , have come t o r e c o g n i z e  57  the need to support t h e i r philosophical contentions with p r a c t i c a l evidence deduced from observation. This emphasis on science, however, has meant that, by in large, romantic concepts r e l a t i n g to a quasi-mystical  relationship with nature are  generally downplayed or rejected by modern environmentalists. In addition, as mentioned, the modern environmental movement is not represented by a d i s t i n c t set of p r i n c i p l e s . Some groups recognize the role science plays in providing s o l i d evidentiary backing to claims about man's impact on the natural world, while others condemn science as the rationale behind the man's e x p l o i tation of the environment. The l a t t e r i n s i s t on "fundamental changes in the values, attitudes and behavior of individuals and social  institutions  " (Pepper 1984, 28)  As a r e s u l t , modern environmental ism appears to be highly d i f f u s e d , and indeed has " d i s t i n c t i v e and opposite p o l i t i c a l wings." (Pepper 1984, 213). 'Conservative' ecocentrics favour l i m i t s to growth and the concept of ' l i f e b o a t e t h i c s ' relying on conservation and careful stewardship, while ' l i b e r a l ecocentrics  insist  on fundamental changes in s o c i e t y ' s attitude to the environment and demand rights for a l l constituents of the biosphere (some even include mountains, r i v e r s , and forests)  regardless of the  impact t h i s approach might have on humans. E s s e n t i a l l y , some base t h e i r positions on ethical u t i l i t a r i a n i s m while others are decidedly deontological  in t h e i r outlook ('deep  ecologists').  Furthermore, i t should be pointed out that even within certain ecocentric groups "there are deep ambiguities and contradictions."  (Pepper 1984, 213)  58  In t h i s sense, thus, Rousseau is hard to categorize.  In  some respects his philosophy might be i d e n t i f i e d as ' c o n s e r v a t i v e ' , while in other respects he reveals a rather decidedly ' l i b e r a l ' form of ecocentrism. In summary, his philosophy argued that sentient beings are worthy of consideration i f not actual  rights;  that environmental i n t e g r i t y is necessary for man's s p i r i t u a l w e l l being, that man has a duty to respect God's creation, and that there is a necessity, indeed an obligation to be careful  stewards.  Rousseau, thus, emphasized man's unique role within the biosphere, a concept many radical or ' l i b e r a l ' ecocentric environmentalists, for example, would deny. For them, man has a "moral  obligation  towards nature 'not simply for the pleasure of man, but as a biotic right.'  (Pepper 1984, 27) ' L i b e r a l ' ecocentrics, however,  do agree with Rousseau in terms of his advocacy of decentralized, small-scale democratic communities of which more w i l l be said in Chapter Five, but his emphasis on nature as a conduit for s e l f - d i s c o v e r y is generally ignored except by a very narrow part of the modern environmental movement that emphasizes mystical aspects of environmental philosophy. To repeat, modern environmentalists, p a r t i c u l a r l y ecocentrics, tend to de-, emphasize u t i l i t a r i a n considerations that argue nature is good for man's soul. As mentioned, they instead focus on respecting nature for i t s own sake, above and beyond i t s usefulness to man. There is one modern ecophilosopher who deserves mention for the p a r a l l e l s between his thought and Rousseau's regarding the question of hierarchy, sentience, and animal  59  rights:  Murray Bookchin. Like Rousseau, Bookchin recognized the ' s p e c i a l ' role humans play within the ecosystem. He argues that human beings possess the 'capacity to think conceptually' and to ' f e e l  a deep empathy for the world of l i f e , '  and i t  is  because of t h i s quality that he believes i t is "possible for humanity...to reverse the devastation i t has i n f l i c t e d on the biosphere." (1990, 186-187) He argues that "humanity's vast capacities to a l t e r . . . n a t u r e are themselves a product of natural evolution--not of a deity or the result of some sort of cosmic perversity."  (1990,42) He i n s i s t s that environmentalists must  recognize the indisputable fact that " a l l the non-human l i f e forms that exist today are, l i k e i t or not, to some degree in human custody, and whether they are preserved in t h e i r w i l d l i f e depends largely on human attitudes and behavior." (1990, 43) Bookchin, l i k e Rousseau, recognized the idea of stewardship. For these reasons Bookchin condemns those in the ecological movement who equate human worth to that of lower forms of l i f e (sometimes including mountains and r i v e r s ) . He argues that such thinking "degrades the entire project of a meaningful ecological ethics."  (1990, 46) It f a i l s to recognize the uniquesness of  humans within the biosphere and our a b i l i t y to attribute moral worth to non-humans. He argues that there is no "hierarchy, domination, class structure, nor State in the matural world other than projections that the s o c i a l l y conditioned human mind extends into non-human biological r e l a t i o n s h i p s . " (1990, 184) What Bookchin fears is that i f an ethic based on biospheric egalitarianism were accepted, then mankind would not have an  60  ethical basis, given the logic, f o r eliminating malaria or y e l l o w - f e v e r m o s q u i t o s . F u r t h e r m o r e , i f s o c i e t y b e g i n s making e x c e p t i o n s , i t would d e s c e n d i n t o t h e t r a p o f r e l a t i v i s t i c e t h i c s i n which one p e r s o n ' s p r o t e c t e d s p e c i e s i s a n o t h e r ' s e x p e n d a b l e e l e m e n t . Thus, t o t a l k i n terms o f b i o s p h e r i c r i g h t s i s t o i n t r o d u c e d e c i d e d l y human c o n c e p t s i n t o a non-human w o r l d t h a t does n o t , i n d e e d c a n n o t , a p p r e c i a t e o r even r e c o g n i z e such c o n s i d e r a t i o n . Bookchin, o f course, s t r o n g l y supports the idea o f s t e w a r d s h i p by a d v o c a t i n g t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f an ' e c o l o g i c a l s o c i e t y ' i n which man i s i n b a l a n c e w i t h n a t u r e , b u t , l i k e Rousseau, he i s n o t w i l l i n g t o e x t e n d r i g h t s t o i n d i v i d u a l s members o f t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d . With r e s p e c t t o Rousseau's p o s i t i o n r e g a r d i n g man's r e l a t i o n s h i p t o t h e n a t u r a l w o r l d , i t i s argued t h a t h i s c o n c e p t s a r e d e c i d e d l y t r a d i t i o n a l , a f a c t o r which may a c c o u n t f o r t h e l a c k o f s c h o l a r l y work on Rousseau i n t h i s a r e a . I t i s h i s condemn a t i o n o f t h e i d e a o f p r o g r e s s , h i s c r i t i c i s m s o f man w i t h i n s o c i e t y , and h i s adovocacy o f p a r t i c i p a t o r y d e m o c r a t i c forms o f government which a r e much more p r o v o c a t i v e and, t h e r e f o r e , r e l e v a n t t o modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l t h o u g h t . The n e x t c h a p t e r w i l l d i s c u s s t h e f i r s t two i s s u e s , w h i l e t h e l a t t e r c o n c e p t w i l l be p r e s e n t e d i n t h e c h a p t e r f o l l o w i n g a f t e r w a r d s .  61  CHAPTER FOUR: ROUSSEAU. PROGRESS AND MODERN ENVIRONMENTALISM We cannot r e s i s t 'progress' but, on the other hand, we must not simply surrender to i t . We must guide i t and, in f u l l independence, designate i t s goal. (Rousseau as quoted in Cassirer 1989, 105) Introduction Modern environmental ism may be ' a house d i v i d e d ' but there is one underlying concept that a l l environmentalists, even technocentrics, seem to share: the idea that growth must be limited so as to preserve the i n t e g r i t y of the biosphere. No matter what ' p o l i t i c a l ' approach is adopted, modern environmental ism, in general, "questions whether expansion beyond a reasonable level is a net benefit at a l l  regardless  of how those benefits are d i s t r i b u t e d . " (Paehlke 1989, 7) In f a c t , E.J. Mishan is convinced that "further growth within highly developed economies w i l l probably do more harm than good." (Paehlke 1989, 251) In contrast, Barry Commoner argues that further economic growth is possible as long as "more e f f e c t i v e technological choices are made along the way." (Paehlke 1989, 251) Inextricably linked to the idea of progress is  society's  reliance on the s c i e n t i f i c paradigm which regards the natural world as a resource to be exploited. This idea had i t s roots in the mechanistic view of the world f i r s t advanced by the p h i l o sophers of the Enlightenment already discussed. The s c i e n t i f i c revolution and the Enlightenment, thus, l a i d the basis for a  62  world view that g l o r i f i e d , and continues to g l o r i f y the concept of continuous progress and material wealth. Since economic expansion depends "on advances in s c i e n t i f i c and technological knowledge, the control and manipulation of nature is given f u l l legitimacy."  (Jones 1987, 19) Furthermore, technological deve-  lopment actually creates new needs and the system maintains i t s e l f by making people associate the 'good l i f e ' with "an ever increasing supply of the goods and services produced by the i n s t i t u t i o n s of s o c i e t y . " (Jones 1987, 31) Thus,  society's  standard of l i v i n g is defined in material terms making consumption an end, "rather than a means, and t i e s consumers not just to t h e i r possessions, but more p a r t i c u l a r l y to the v i r t u a l l y unconscious adoption of the ideology of consumerism." Jones 1987, 32) Rousseau, thus, is quite c l e a r l y a central figure for the debate on progress and the values i t has spawned. He rejected the idea of unregulated progress arguing that history has unfolded in such a way as to reveal "a process of decline, a decay of morals, c i v i c v i r t u e , naturalness, community."  (Featherstone  1978, 182) Rousseau's passionate yearning for solitude,  his  search for his true s e l f , and his d e i f i c a t i o n of the natural world discussed in the l a s t chapter are d i r e c t l y related to his sense of alienation from society. According to Saunders, Rousseau "rebelled against the r u l e s , conventions and a r t i f i c e s of a s t i l t e d and pompous society whose atmosphere choked and poisoned him." (Halsted 1965, 2)  63  Rousseau was the f i r s t great countermodern i n t e l l e c t u a l . . . ( t o argue t h a t ) . . . ( p ) e o p l e ' s sense of themselves and t h e i r sense of values were social creations, products of the 'empire of o p i n i o n , ' not the promptings of t h e i r own nature and t h e i r own impulses. (Featherstone 1978, 167-9) He believed that society i t s e l f created f a l s e needs and desires and "that conscious thought and action must offset the imbalances of modernity by restoring a proper balance between nature and human nature." (1978, 171) According to Judith Sklar, Rousseau offered "two possible and quite d i s t i n c t Utopian alternatives for moderns to behold— and possibly act upon." (Featherstone 1978, 185) The f i r s t Utopia rested on an ideal of individual autonomy and i t stresses the need for a countercultural education, private family l i f e , and countermodern i n s t i t u t i o n s to protect the individual from the modern world's empire of opinion, error, oppression, inequality, and greed ( La Nouvelle Heloise , Emile ) (Featherstone 1978, 185) The second Utopia was c i v i c , p o l i t i c a l and c o l l e c t i v e : i t is to be found in works l i k e Contrat social and i t s underlying image is that of the c i t y - s t a t e , where the individual finds unity by merging himself with the c i v i c u n i t — l a t e r the nation, the party, the movement. (Featherstone 1978, 185) This chapter w i l l focus primarily on Rousseau's concepts regarding the f i r s t of S k l a r ' s two alternatives. Rousseau, Human Nature and the Fall of Man The f i r s t work that revealed Rousseau's contempt or the d i r e c t i o n society had taken was the Discours sur les sciences et  64  les arts. According to F.C. Green i t was in this work that Rousseau f i r s t "set out to prove on h i s t o r i c a l evidence that cultural progress always results in a corresponding decline in morality."  (Green 1950, 7) From the f i r s t Discours  Rousseau  argues that "our souls have been corrupted in proportion to the advancement of our sciences and arts toward p e r f e c t i o n . " (Masters 1968, 101) He would go on to develop this idea further in the Discours sur l ' o r i q i n e et les fondements de V i n e q a l i t e in which he proclaims that, after the epoch of 'savage s o c i e t y '  "all  subsequent progress has been in appearance so many steps towards perfection of the individual and in fact towards the decrepitude of the species." (Masters 1968, 102) Roger Masters has called the f i r s t Discours "the one which speaks most d i r e c t l y to the crises of our time (1968, 443) According to Green, i t was here that  "  Rousseau  expressed his deep concern that "the c u l t of i n t e l l e c t u a l progress  (was)  incompatible with man's true nature, and he  feared that i t would ultimately destroy what is s p e c i f i c a l l y human in our species." (1950, 3) Rousseau went on to argue that "culture rots the moral f a b r i c of a nation and makes i t s p o l i t i c a l decay inevitable" (1950, 8) by g l o r i f y i n g those in the arts and sciences who worship "luxury, social  inequality, s e r v i l i t y , and that urbanity which  counterfeits v i r t u e . " (1950, 8) Rousseau f e l t that the arts and sciences encouraged the pursuit of luxury, creating f a l s e needs. According to Masters  65  (w)hatever the causal process involved, an objective consideration of our own era confirms Rousseau's claim that the pursuit of luxury and wealth based on s c i e n t i f i c and technical progress coincides with grave social and moral problems. (Masters 1968, 441) Rousseau f e l t that the idea of freedom and c i t i z e n s h i p had been l o s t and that the only standards were f i n a n c i a l and commercial--standards devoid of morals. As Masters puts i t : Given the unquestioned acceptance of the pursuit of wealth and material well-being in modern i n d u s t r i a l society, Rousseau's insistent challenge commands attention: 'what w i l l become of virtue when one must get r i c h at any price? (1968, 440) One of Rousseau's primary aims, thus, was to encourage people to see through s o c i e t y ' s a r t i f i c i a l social mores and get back in touch with t h e i r true selves. In order to accomplish t h i s , he wrote, much as Hobbes and Locke had done before him, about the the idea of a natural state of man. In the f i r s t Pi scours he wrote that ...before art had fashioned our manners and taught our passions to speak an affected language, our mores were r u s t i c but natural, and differences in behavior heralded, at f i r s t glance, differences of character. At base, human nature was no better, but men found t h e i r safety in the ease with which they saw through each other, and that advantage, which we no longer value, spared them many vices. (Cress 1987, 4) This a b i l i t y to 'see through each other' or transparency is what Jean Starobinski  believes Rousseau was emphasizing as being  obstructed by manmade a r t i f i c e s of c i v i l i z a t i o n that blurred the d i s t i n c t i o n between appearance and r e a l i t y .  66  "Unwittingly  and against our w i l l we are embroiled in e v i l .  I l l u s i o n does  not merely cloud our understanding; i t v e i l s the t r u t h , d i s t o r t s a l l our actions, and perverts our l i v e s . "  (Starobinski  1988,  4-5) For Rousseau: (o)ne no longer dares to seem what one r e a l l y i s ; and in t h i s perpetual constraint, the men who make up t h i s herb we c a l l society w i l l , i f placed in the same circumstances, do a l l the same things unless stronger motives deter them. Thus no one w i l l ever r e a l l y know those with whom he is dealing. Hence in order to know one's f r i e n d , i t would be necessary to wait for c r i t i c a l occasions, that i s , to wait u n t i l i t is too l a t e , since i t is for these very occasions that i t would have been essential to know him. What a retinue of vices must attend this incertitude! No more sincere friendships, no more real esteem, no more well-founded confidence. Suspicions, offences, fears, coldness, reserve, hatred, betrayal w i l l unceasingly hide under that uniform and deceitful v e i l of politeness, under that much vaunted urbanity that we owe to the enlightenment of our century. (Cress 1987, 4-5) For Rousseau, man had been happy when his inventive powers were balanced with his innate desires. Society, on the other hand, promoted f a l s e desires through s c i e n t i f i c progress which destroyed t h i s "inner harmony or equilibrium by multiplying our artifical  needs." (Green 1950, 19) Thus, Rousseau argued that  instead of fostering men's pride in his s c i e n t i f i c progress we ought teach him to be prouder s t i l l  of  'the more precious f a c u l t i e s which...make man r e a l l y sociable and kind, which make him prize order, j u s t i c e and innocence above a l l other goods. (Green 1950, 19) E s s e n t i a l l y , Rousseau argued against h i s t o r i c a l development in favour of timeless human nature. He believed that the only way to restore man's natural goodness was to revolt against the  67  social conventions of his day. Rousseau would go on to develop these arguments in the second Discours r e f i n i n g his view that man was naturally good and had only become corrupted as a result of his entrance into society. In order to do t h i s , Rousseau constructed a hypothetical state of nature and used this construct to speculate on what were the natural, or elementary tendancies of man. In his version of the t r a d i t i o n a l ' s t a t e of nature' Rousseau agreed with Hobbes on one essential point: "primitive man was a creature of f e e l i n g and s e n s i t i v i t y to whom rational moral p r i n c i p l e s are quite unknown." (Grimsley 1973, 26) In the state of nature man was e s s e n t i a l l y driven by two p r i n c i p l e s p r i o r to the dvelopment of reason: "one of them i n t e r ests us deeply in our own preservation and welfare, the other inspires us with a natural aversion to seeing any other being... suffer or p e r i s h . " (Crocker 1967, 171) From these two assumptions Rousseau concluded that man was naturally good. It has been argued, however, that Rousseau should have included a t h i r d p r i n c i p l e of nature "consisting of such impulses as aggression,  acquisitiveness, jealousy, sensuality"  (R.D.  Miller  1983, 1) following what S c h i l l e r c a l l e d the 'crude aspect' of man's nature. Rousseau, however, attributes these t r a i t s to c i v i l i z a t i o n , implying that human beings, through society, have been forced to act " i n a manner that is not in accordance with t h e i r own nature." (1983, 3) Thus, "(i)nstead of attempting to derive modern aggression and oppression from t h e i r supposed roots in a primitive state of nature...(Rousseau argued t h a t ) . . .  68  we must learn to detect the source of decay in c i v i l i z a t i o n itself."  (1983, 2) According to Rousseau, previous thinkers  l i k e Hobbes and Locke had confused c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of social man with those of man in the state of nature, s p e c i f i c a l l y that "they were over-hasty in concluding that man is naturally c r u e l . " (1983, 2) This conclusion led Rousseau to be highly c r i t i c a l  of the  depths to which man had f a l l e n as a r e s u l t of his move from the mythical state of nature into society. He f e l t that man's l i f e in the state of nature was characterized by independence, indifference, and a healthy concern with s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n , limited to the f u l f i l l m e n t of basic needs--a condition he referred to as 'amour de s o i . ' However, according to R.D.  Miller  in order for Rousseau to support his thesis that there was no such thing as a crude element in human nature he had to assume that man's existence was s o l i t a r y , that he did not experience love, and that he had no possessions.  The s o l i t a r y l i f e  Rousseau  depicted in the state of nature was necessary to prove that man was not innately aggressive,  but by including the motivation to  self-preservation Rousseau was forced to admit, a l b e i t inadvertently, that aggression was present in the state of nature, "though he pleads that cases of aggression were not always sanguinary."  (1983, 5)  C r i t i c s of Rousseau, however, have maintained that his descriptions of the state of nature in the Discours sur 1'inegalite  simply "sang the praises of the noble savage."  (Hinsley 1963, 46) V o l t a i r e , in f a c t , wrote to Rousseau  69  saying:  (n)ever us into fours since I i t will  has so much talent been used to want to make animals; you make one want to walk on a l l However, as i t is more than sixty years lost the habit, I feel unfortunately that be impossible for me to regain i t  (J.H. Mason 1979, 68) In response Rousseau wrote back denying V o l t a i r e ' s arguing:  "I  allegation  do not aspire to re-establish us in our animality,  although I greatly regret, for my part, the l i t t l e that I have lost...."  (J.H. Mason 1979, 69)  For Rousseau, what forced man to leave his  solitary  existence in the state of nature was related to his goodness-his innate desire for p e r f e c t i b i l i t y : He does not tarry in his original condition but s t r i v e s beyond i t ; he is not content with the range and kind of existence which are the original g i f t s of nature nor does he stop until he has devised for himself a new form of existence that is his own. (Cassirer 1989, 105) Unfortunately, by renouncing nature's guidance, man also gives "nature's protection and a l l the benefits i t had o r i g i n a l l y conferred upon him." (Cassirer 1989, 105) This move exposes man to a l l the e v i l s of society that Rousseau believed were created by an unequal d i s t r i b u t i o n of the f r u i t s of man's labour. This led to the poor becoming dependent on the r i c h for t h e i r existence creating a state of perpetual c o n f l i c t . "The ambition of the p r i n c i p l e d men induced them to take advantage of these circumstances to perpetuate the hitherto temporary o f f i c e s in t h e i r families  " (Crocker 1967, 238) Rousseau argued, thus,  that government was i n s t i t u t e d by the r i c h as a form of ' p r o -  70  t e c t i o n ' for the poor while at the same time safeguarding  their  possessions: By pursuing the progress of inequality in these d i f f e r e n t revolutions...the establishment of laws and of the right of property was the f i r s t term of i t ; the i n s t i t u t i o n of magistrates the second; and the t h i r d and l a s t the changing of legal into a r b i t r a r y power (Crocker 1967, 238) Social  inequality, thus, was established for the benefit of  the privileged classes and mankind was forever condemned to permanent s t r i f e . What Rousseau favoured was a form of social organization (to be discussed in chapter five) in which the differences between r i c h and poor simply r e f l e c t e d t h e i r natural physical and mental capacities which he hoped would deter social inequality. While Rousseau was correct in distinguishing  between  natural inequality and social inequality, according to R.D. he was "mistaken in thinking that social or conventional  Miller  inequality  (differences of p r i v i l e g e , wealth, honour, and power) does not arise from human nature." (1983, 4) Thus, i t is important to keep in mind that Rousseau's natural man was a theoretical construct on which he based his conclusion that man was naturally good. How far we are ready to agree with him may be more a matter of sentiment than reason. For Rousseau, once man entered society "a d i v i s i o n within man's soul  (was created) resulting from man's bodily and  s p i r i t u a l dependence on other men which ruptures his o r i g i n a l unity or wholeness."  (Bloom 1984, 4) This he referred to as  'amour propre.' In the state of nature 'amour de s o i ' or s e l f -  71  preservation was natural, while 'amour propre' or self-esteem only exists in society. It was i l l u s t r a t e d by a " c e r t a i n low human type which Rousseau was the f i r s t to isolate and name: the bourgeois.  " (1984, 4) This type of individual places his own  good ahead of a l l else and is p r i m i a r i l y concerned with s e l f preservation; thus, he exploits others a l l the while relying on them. "(H)e is the man who, when dealing with others, thinks only of himself, and on the other hand, in his understanding of himself, thinks only of others." (1984, 5) For Rousseau, social was a necessary e v i l  inequality which fostered 'amour propre'  i f mankind were ever to perfect i t s e l f . While  he "deplored the advent of p o l i t i c a l s o c i e t y . . . t h e opinion from which he never wavered...was that p o l i t i c a l society was the 'moralizing agent' as well as the degrading force in men's l i v e s . " (Hinsley 1963, 46) Rousseau regarded as ' e v i l '  things such as  desires for prestige, appearances, and the possession of material goods. " E v i l is v e i l and obfuscation, i t is mask, i t is  intimately  bound up with f i c t i o n , and i t would not exist i f man had not the dangerous freedom to deny, by means of a r t i f i c e , what is given by nature." (Starobinski  1988, 21) Thus, he f e l t that man could  find "his salvation by turning inward." (Starobinski  1988, 20)  Man's inner natural state could be resurrected since i t was permanent and endured beneath the surface, despite the movement of history. This innate drive for moral development, or p e r f e c t i b i l i t y , was man's primary driving force. Despite the negatives of society Rousseau believed that i t was in society that man's  72  " f a c u l t i e s are exercised and developed; his ideas are expanded; his feelings are ennobled; his whole soul is exalted  "  (Crocker 1967, 22) In the state of nature man was unable to achieve t h i s higher moral development; thus, despite i t s defects, Rousseau regarded society as a necessary development, and he c e r t a i n l y never advocated a return to man's natural state despite V o l t a i r e ' s comments to the contrary. (M)an is the state of nature is non-social, amoral, and makes no use of his reasoning powers...(but) he possesses an undeveloped capacity for morality and reason which is brought into action as a result of l i f e in society. (Cobban 1934, 62) In order to f a c i l i t a t e this process Rousseau set out to devise a natural form of education, which he believed would counteract the negative influences of society, or at least protect the individual from them as he struggled to survive. This system was outlined in the Emile. a system that would create c i t i z e n s guided by 'amour de s o i ' which would bring them back to t h e i r true natural state. This would ensure that they would not see themselves in opposition to society, but instead would i d e n t i f y t h e i r good with the common good of a l l . According to Kant, thus, Rousseau attempted the noble goal of reconciling "nature with history, man's s e l f i s h nature with the demands of civil  society, hence i n c l i n a t i o n with duty." (Bloom 1979, 3) Rousseau's purpose was not simply an exercise in s o c i a l -  ization leading to the creation of productive c i t i z e n s .  If  t h i s was the only goal of education, then i t would only serve to reproduce the social system with a l l of i t s blemishes. In other  73  words, i f society was corrupt, the education system would be corrupt, as w e l l . This is exactly the situation Rousseau believed was in force in the p o l i t i c a l orders of his time. (N)ature has made man with a propensity to morality, but man had made defective environments which have corrupted him in p r i n c i p l e . What we have made we can remake once we recognize the defects in our institutions. (Cook 1975, 110) As mentioned, this was exactly the purpose of the educational system Rousseau devised in the Emile - - t o produce c i t i z e n s that were e f f e c t i v e l y shielded from the negative influences of society. In order to do t h i s , however, Rousseau recognized that more than simply changing the system of education would be necessary; thus, he attached to the Emile another work designed to f u l f i l l  this  purpose--the Contrat social which outlined a d i f f e r e n t form of political  organization designed to complement the education  system he advocated. This argument w i l l be discussed in the next chapter. As should be quite evident from the forgoing  discussion,  Rousseau f e l t extremely alienated from the society of his time leading many to conclude that he was a misanthrope. This c r i t i c i s m was strenuously denied by Rousseau who f e l t that  it  was society that had abandoned him, not the other way around: "I  would have loved men in spite of themselves. Only by ceasing  to be humane, have they been able to s l i p away from my a f f e c t i o n . " (J.H. Mason 1979, 306) According to Harvey, however, there was " l i t t l e doubt that Rousseau's revolt against the mores of his generation was founded in (his) youthful f a i l u r e to adapt."  74  (1980, 14) Nevertheless, as his thought progressed i t became clear that he f e l t very strongly that mankind had l o s t  its  s o u l - - i t sense of true i d e n t i t y . For Harvey, Rousseau's alienation "from the 'mores' of his day and his personal alienation were the conditions for his moves to discover a new i d e n t i t y , an authentic s e l f " f i r s t book of the Confessions case-study of alienation  (1980, 14) and that the  "could have been written as a  " (1980, 223)  Society, according to Rousseau, had unfortunately created barriers to discovery of the true s e l f and had created f a l s e needs/desires which he r e v i l e d . To be sure, his own l i f e experiences (the h o s t i l e response he received upon publication of the Contrat social  is a prime example) contributed to his sense  of a l i e n a t i o n . In f a c t , towards the end of his l i f e he began to suspect 'phantom conspiracies' amongst 'former' friends and society in general which contributed to his alleged misanthropy. As stated, however, Rousseau always maintained that while society, such as i t was, corrupted man, i t also was necessary for man to reach his f u l l  potential as an independent, s e l f - r e g u l a t i n g  being.  Progress, thus, had to be c a r e f u l l y guided by a people governed, not by a r t i f i c i a l social mores, but by t h e i r own individual consciences that emphasized feelings tempered by reason. According to Featherstone, Rousseau was the " f i r s t major thinker to argue that the pace of change and the psychological consequences of modern dividedness are enemies to inner peace and psychic wholeness."  (Masters., 185) In summary, Rousseau  argued that the way society had evolved was characterized by  75  individuals who sensed t h e i r own self-worth by comparing themselves to others with an emphasis on appearance, manner, and material possessions. This attitude only served to set individuals against each other in a competitive spiral which produced winners and l o s e r s . Social  inequality, thus, was perpetuated and aggravated  as individuals scurried to c o l l e c t as much as they possibly could, regardless of the consequences to others. This sentiment  is  c l e a r l y present in the following passage from the Nouvelle Heloise: This atmosphere--of agitation and turbulence, psychic dizziness and drunkeness, expansion of experientical p o s s i b i l i t i e s and destruction of moral boundaries and personal bonds, self-enlargement and self-derangement, phantoms in the street and in the s o u l - - i s the atmosphere in which modern s e n s i b i l i t y is born. (Berman 1988, 17) What Rousseau c r i t i c i z e d was the way that "change,  inequality,  the d i v i s i o n of labour in an unequal society, and the pathology of the restless  imagination...eroded the p o s s i b i l i t y of either decent  family l i f e or c i v i c p a r t i c i p a t i o n . " (Masters 1968, 183) Combined with a dominant scientific/mechanistic paradigm that encouraged the exploitation of the natural world, Rousseau's bourgeois society had no reason to consider the accumulation of wealth and the promotion of modernization problematic. Of course, in Rousseau's time wilderness was abundant. It  is only  now that we are beginning to r e a l i z e the downside to t h i s type of mindset. In essence, we have an environment that is steadily and quicky losing i t s capacity to support a m a t e r i a l i s t based on continued progress.  society  For Rousseau, thus, the solution  was to "set up a middle landscape, halfway between savage nature  76  and a corrupt and overrefined society, to modernize in some realms and to protect others from the extremes of modernization." (Masters 1968, 186) It can be argued that t h i s approach has d i r e c t p a r a l l e l s to modern environmental philosophy that advocates sustainable development. Thoreau and Modernity Like Rousseau, Henry David Thoreau's approach to modernization and i t s e f f e c t s was one of skepticism, even downright  hostility.  According to Nash, Thoreau was one of the f i r s t Americans "to perceive i n e x h a u s t i b i l i t y as a myth," (Nash 1989, 36) an idea that was a n t i t h e t i c a l to the f r o n t i e r s p i r i t unfolding on the continent as people pushed ever further westward. The idea of i n e x h a u s t i b i l i t y was p a r t i c u l a r l y appealing in the United States of the 19th century since the nation had been born out of a revolutionary s p i r i t that ennobled the concepts of  individualism  and s e l f - r e l i a n c e . Thoreau, however, decried the intrusion of mankind into the untouched wilderness: I love Nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him. None of his i n s t i t u t i o n s control or pervade her. There a d i f f e r e n t kind of right p r e v a i l s . In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. If t h i s world were a l l man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose a l l hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with t h i s . None of the joys she supplies is subject to his rules and d e f i n i t i o n s . What he touches he t a i n t s . In thought he moralizes. One would think that no free, joyful labour was possible to him. (Thoreau quoted in Allen 1962, 445)  77  For Thoreau, l i k e Rousseau before him, individuals were far too narrowly concerned with t h e i r own appearances and material wealth, and he had l i t t l e f a i t h "of ever getting anything quite simple and honest done in t h i s world by the help of men." (Moller 1980, 3) Furthermore, he questioned "the effectiveness of 'mere p i t y ' and of the l i t t l e ' c h a r i t i e s ' practised by complacent people, in which he suggests that much of our 'sympathy' is mere self-indulgence." (Moller 1980, 9) This idea p a r a l l e l s Rousseau's argument that ' p i t y ' was natural to man but that in f e e l i n g ' p i t y ' man is comforted by the knowledge of his own moral worthiness. In s i m i l a r fashion to Rousseau, there is strong evidence to support the allegation that Thoreau was decidedly misanthropic. E s s e n t i a l l y , Thoreau argued that "society is always diseased, and the best is the s i c k e s t . "  (Moller 1980, 2) He agreed with  Rousseau that society and social mores degraded the individual s p i r i t . This sentiment is prevalent throughout Thoreau's work such as t h i s passage from Book IV of his Journals: What men c a l l social v i r t u e s , good fellowship, is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a l i t t e r , which l i e close together to keep each other warm. It brings men together in crowds and mobs in barrooms and e l s e where, but i t does not deserve the name of v i r t u e . (Thoreau as quoted in Moller 1980, 12) Furthermore, he stated that even after having l i v e d over t h i r t y years on the planet he had "yet to hear the f i r s t s y l l a b l e of valuable or even earnest advice from (his)  seniors...(and  t h a t ) . . . t h e commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring."  (Moller 1980, 2) He argued that  78  " i n the street and in society I am almost invariably cheap and dissipated, my l i f e is unspeakably mean...I wish to f o r g e t . . . a l l mean, narrow, t r i v i a l men." (Moller 1980, 4) This f e e l i n g echoes Rousseau who argued that 'bourgeois man' emphasized his own narrow concerns, regardless of the impact on society and is f a r too preoccupied with appearance. In similar fashion, Thoreau noted that "the mass of men, just l i k e savages s t r i v e always after the outside, the clothes and finery of c i v i l i z e d l i f e , the blue beads and t i n s e l and centre t a b l e s . "  (1980, 5)  Thoreau, thus, attacked what he believed was social man's i n f u r i a t i n g s u p e r f i c i a l i t y . He believed that "the vast majority of men...live on the surface; they are interest in the transient and f l e e t i n g ; they are l i k e driftwood in the flood  "  (Moller,  1980, 3) E s s e n t i a l l y , he argued that "we think that that is which appears to be" (Anderson 1973, 171) much l i k e Rousseau pointed out that we tend to see ourselves through the eyes of others, that to bourgeois society appearance is the r e a l i t y . In addition, Thoreau likened man to insects: Such is man, t o i l i n g , heaving, struggling a n t - l i k e to shoulder some stray unappropriated crumb and deposit i t in his granery; then runs out, complacent, gazes heavenward, earthward...there seen of men, world-seen, deed-delivered, vanishes into all-grasping night. (Thoreau as quoted in Moller 1980, 2) In Walden, in p a r t i c u l a r , Thoreau questions t h i s  seemingly  neverending struggle to achieve material security in decidedly Rousseauian  fashion:  Why i f men are free are they so enslaved? Who made them serfs of the s o i l ? Why should they eat t h e i r sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his  79  peck of d i r t ? Why should they begin 'digging t h e i r graves as so as they are born?' (Thoreau as quoted in Houde 1980, 193) According to Carl Houde, Thoreau recommends a decidedly Rousseauian solution to this dilemma: "a f l i g h t out of society to a state of nature. In the woods motion can be kept to an essential minimum, ' c u t ' and 'shaved c l o s e '  'reduced to i t s lowerst terms'  and thus can be made meaningful."  (Thoreau from Houde 1980, 193)  For Thoreau, society could only be redeemed i f i t were w i l l i n g to simplify the complexities of social i n t e r a c t i o n . He asked: "why should we l i v e with such a hurry and waste of l i f e ? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry."  (Thoreau as  quoted in Anderson 1973, 169) In his essay "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For" Thoreau declared: " S i m p l i c i t y ,  simplicity,  s i m p l i c i t y ! I say, l e t your a f f a i r s be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a m i l l i o n count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail." (Thoreau from Anderson 1973, 168) In this way we are not preoccupied with t r i v i a l i t i e s . According to Thoreau: "When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the r e a l i t y . " (Thoreau from Anderson 1973, 171) The primary problem that Thoreau believed had soiled man's i n t e g r i t y was the idea that "people have turned...necessaries into luxuries...and have thus unnecessarily complicated t h e i r lives."  (Schneider 1987, 56) He favoured an ascetic approach  80  which argued that a l l that was necessary was food, shelter, clothing, and f u e l . Thus, he believed that clothing had become more 'fashion than necessity;' that housing was too ornate; that man needed only a simple diet for health and strength; and, that the r i c h used so much fuel that they "are not simply kept comfortably warm, but unnaturally hot  " (1987, 56-57)  Rather than emphasizing such dubious material gains, Thoreau urged his readers to consider aiming for true s p i r i t u a l progress: "'Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth."  1  (1987, 58) According to Schneider, thus, Thoreau  believed that "the most practical view of l i f e is the most s p i r i t u a l . The problem of l i v i n g is to see r e a l i t y accurately, both p h y s i c a l l y and s p i r i t u a l l y . " (1987, 58) In order to accomplish t h i s , Thoreau argued in favour of a simple l i f e , one that is in d i r e c t communion with nature and rejects the imposition of a society based on appearances and material wealth. The message of Walden, in p a r t i c u l a r , is that happiness, virtue and salvation can be achieved i f one l i v e s in a simple fashion and s t r i v e s for self-improvement through earnest hard work within a framework that emphasizes the denial of frivolous desires in favour of basic needs and s p i r i t u a l  self-awareness.  Both Rousseau and Thoreau recognized that mankind had begun to emphasize material wealth as the benchmark for self-worth; that the i n s t i t u t i o n s of society helped create and perpetuate f a l s e needs and desires; that the d i r e c t i o n society had taken by emphasizing material over s p i r i t u a l concerns degraded mankind; and that only by simplifying ones l i f e and fostering a healthy  81  relationship with the natural world could mankind hope for spiritual  rebirth.  E s s e n t i a l l y , both men denied that "a state devolved to the pursuit of individual happiness conceived of in hedonistic 'consumer' terms could ever r e a l i z e . . . s o c i a l virtue and public happiness."  (Harvey 1980, 203) However, while Rousseau condemned  society in general for having taken the wrong turn far back in the distant past, Thoreau's c r i t i c i s m s seem to be directed at s p e c i f i c i n s t i t u t i o n s ,  "or s p e c i f i c human f o i b l e s and not  necessarily at mankind generally."  (Moller 1980, 7) Some examples  include "the t i m i d i t y and hypocrisy of the Church, p o l i t i c i a n s , the press, and lecture committees which...are surely legitimate objects of indictment and s a t i r e . " (Moller 1980, 7) However, according to Moller, in many instances "Thoreau seems to be gratuitously...attacking,  or dismissing, the whole of mankind"  (1980, 7) in favour of nature. For Thoreau, i t would seem that "you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and Nature." (1980, 6) Thoreau's arguments, for the most part however, f e l l  on deaf  ears since the dominant feeling in the America of the 19th century emphasized expansion, modernization and the accumulation of wealth. At that time the idea of i n e x h a u s t i b i l i t y was unquestioned; thus, people f e l t l i t t l e need, nor desire, to simplify t h e i r existence, to conserve, or to search for the s p i r i t u a l within nature. Developments over the past t h i r t y years, however, suggest that there is indeed a maximum carrying capacity for the planet and that Thoreau was correct in concluding that  82  inexhaustibility  i s a myth. Today, across the spectrum of environmental  movements,  the idea of progress i s brought i n t o question as well as the m e n t a l i t y of rampant consumerism and wealth accumulation.  Thus,  we now to turn to an examination of modern thought i n t h i s regard that p a r a l l e l s that of Rousseau: the c r i t i q u e of progress and m a t e r i a l i s t i n d i v i d u a l i s m . Rousseau. Modern Environmental ism and the C r i t i q u e of Progress Perhaps the best way to introduce t h i s s e c t i o n would be to o u t l i n e some of modern enviromentalism's  c e n t r a l value a s s e r t i o n s ,  p a r t i c u l a r l y those r e l a t e d to Rousseau. Using the l i s t created by Robert Paehlke those p r i n c i p l e s would i n c l u d e : 1.  An a p p r e c i a t i o n of a l l l i f e forms and a view that the complexities of the e c o l o g i c a l web of l i f e are p o l i t i c a l l y s a l i e n t , (conservation)  2.  A sense of h u m i l i t y regarding the human species i n r e l a t i o n to other species and to the global ecosystem.  3.  An a e s t h e t i c a p p r e c i a t i o n f o r season, s e t t i n g , c l i m a t e , and natural m a t e r i a l s .  4.  A r e v u l s i o n toward waste i n the face of human need ( i n more extreme forms, t h i s may appear as a s c e t i c i s m ) .  5.  A love of s i m p l i c i t y , although t h i s does not i n c l u d e r e j e c t i o n of technology or 'modernity.'  6.  A measurement of esteem, i n c l u d i n g self-esteem and s o c i a l merit, in terms of such nonmaterial values as s k i l l , a r t i s t r y , e f f o r t , or i n t e g r i t y .  7.  An a t t r a c t i o n to autonomy and self-management i n human endeavors and, g e n e r a l l y , an i n c l i n a t i o n to more democratic and p a r t i c i p a t o r y p o l i t i c a l processes and administrative structures.  8.  Some preference f o r p o l i t i c a l and/or population decentralization.  (1989, 144-5) 83  The f i r s t three concepts have already been discussed, while the l a s t two w i l l be covered in the next chapter. For the moment, we are interested in the environmental movement's revulsion of rampant consumerism fueled by the creation of f a l s e needs, i t s emphasis on s i m p l i c i t y , and i t s r e j e c t i o n of material measures of personal success.  In addition, we  are concerned with ecocentric arguments for steady-state economics, for wealth d i s t r i b u t i o n , and for a limited forms of development that mandate safeguarding environmental  integrity.  As mentioned, Rousseau condemned the s c i e n t i f i c / m e c h a n i s t i c paradigm which insisted on man's right to exploit nature and which encouraged the creation of false needs. He also argued, as did Thoreau, for a much greater degree of s i m p l i c i t y in our l i v e s . He also favoured e g a l i t a r i a n p r i n c i p l e s which would reduce the inequity between r i c h and poor to a great extent. F i n a l l y , Rousseau admonished society for creating c i t i z e n s who use material wealth and appearance as benchmarks for self-worth. He, too, believed that man needed to measure success, not in terms of wealth, but in terms of nonmaterial values such as j u s t i c e , honesty, innocence, v i r t u e , c r e a t i v i t y and i n t e g r i t y . According to Paehlke, these values may be incorporated in a "PostMaterialist"  future in which personal growth is regarded as  more important than material possessions and "involves an greater emphasis on self-expression and the quality of l i f e . " (1989, 173) Perhaps the one major area in which Rousseau's thought p a r a l l e l s certain forms of modern environmental thought is  84  his  insistence that society corrupted man and that i t had to be completely reformed along the l i n e s of the p o l i t i c a l  system  he advocated in the Contrat s o c i a l . While modern environmentalists generally do not come out and s p e c i f i c a l l y argue that society corrupts man's true nature, they do i n s i s t that, in a sense, man is trapped by his own i n s t i t u t i o n s which encourage e x p l o i tation of the environment as a by-product of our m a t e r i a l i s t consumption-oriented values. According to Brian Tokar "industrial  systems have bound people to an entangling web of depen-  dencies t o t a l l y outside t h e i r own c o n t r o l . " (1987, 80) For Murray Bookchin t h i s unhealthy state of a f f a i r s necessitates the wholesale replacement of " c i v i l i z a t i o n ' s  'institu-  tional and ethical framework" (Nash 1989, 165) in order to overcome the problems of exploitation and inequality. Boockhin was perhaps the f i r s t modern environmental philosopher to argue, much l i k e Rousseau, that "the domination of nature by man stems from the very real domination of human by human." (Nash 1989, 164) Instead, Bookchin advocates a form of ' s o c i a l  ecology'  emphasizing the need for a non-hierarchical and diverse society "as the prerequisite to an e c o l o g i c a l l y harmonious man-nature relationship."  (Pepper 1984, 202) This position has been described  as ecoanarchism. (1984, 202) E s s e n t i a l l y , he stressed "the equal value of every part of the community and the necessity of maximizing individual freedom so that every component could f u l fill  i t s p o t e n t i a l . " (Nash 1989, 164) He believed that such a  community would "approximate a [normal] ecosystem; i t would be  85  d i v e r s i f i e d , balanced and harmonious."  (1989, 164)  What Bookchin opposes is the extremism within the environmental movement that argues either humanity must y i e l d to a r e l i g i o u s , and more recently, ' e c o l o g i c a l ' humility to the d i c t a of 'natural law' and take i t s abject place side by side with the lowly ant on which i t 'arrogantly t r e a d s , ' or i t must 'conquer' nature with i t s technological and rational astuteness " (Bookchin 1990, 99) Bookchin instead argues that we must emphasize development, not change, and s t r i v e towards the r e a l i z a t i o n of an 'ecological s o c i e t y ' that balances both man's interests and those of the biosphere. This, of course, would require a radical  restruc-  turing of our ethics to move away from m a t e r i a l i s t i c goals towards more environment-centered value system. That t h i s can be accomplished, at the very least,  debatable.  Another philosopher, not generally recognized as an environmentalist, who has c r i t i c i z e d the m a t e r i a l i s t i c values of modern culture is Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse argued that modern c a p i t a l i s t society "reduced both nature and people to raw materials with s t r i c t l y u t i l i t a r i a n value." (Nash 1989, 166) Thus he created the idea of "One-dimensional men:" The masses have no egos, no ids, t h e i r souls are devoid of inner tension or dynamism: t h e i r ideas, t h e i r needs, 'even t h e i r dreams' are 'not t h e i r own'; t h e i r inner l i v e s are ' t o t a l l y enslaved,' programmed to produce exactly those desires that the social system can s a t i s f y and no more. The people recognize themselves in t h e i r commodities; they find t h e i r soul in t h e i r automobiles, h i - f i sets, s p l i t - l e v e l homes, kitchen equipment (Marcuse as quoted in Berman 1988, 28-29)  86  Much l i k e Rousseau, Marcuse condemned society for creating c i t i z e n s that i d e n t i f y themselves and t h e i r own self-worth through t h e i r possessions. For Marcuse, 'consumer' man existed in a state of anarchic competition for resources that are becoming more and more scarce, and that the environment could not be protected unless there were a revolution against these economic and p o l i t i c a l t r a d i t i o n s .  (Nash 1989, 11) In essence, Marcuse  argued in favour of a new relationship between man and nature' that would lead to the reduction of man's impact on the natural world. Marcuse argued "that everything existed f i r s t and foremost for i t s own sake" (Nash 1989, 166) and he advocated l i b e r a t i n g nature by rejecting the h i e r a r c h i c a l , exploitative values and i n s t i t u t i o n s of modern c a p i t a l i s t society. He regarded nature as another oppressed minority "deserving a place in the sun of the American l i b e r a l t r a d i t i o n . " (Nash 1989, 212) Over the past 30 or so years numerous volumes have been produced that document the deterioration of the environment. In general these varied studies have concluded that the primary dynamics of the problem are centered on "chronic imbalances in population/resource r a t i o s . . . e c o l o g i c a l l y damaging technology... (and)...wasteful  consumption patterns." (Pepper 1984, 3)  According to Pepper, the p r i n c i p l e ideas for modern environmental ism can be found in three landmark publications: The Limits to Growth (sponsored by the Club of Rome), Blueprint for Survival, and Small  is Beautiful. (Pepper 1984, 22)  Using a computer to simulate the planetary economic and resource future, The Limits to Growth study, sponsored by the  87  Club of Rome, concluded that ' i n the not-so-distant  future'  humanity would "face a series of integrated c r i s e s . . . o f overpopulation, p o l l u t i o n , nonrenewable resurce depletion, capital stock maintenance, and/or food shortage."  (Paehlke 1989, 50)  In b r i e f , the earth was reaching i t s carrying capacity and i t concluded that " i n d u s t r i a l society was both undesirable in the excess i t had attained and unsustainable in anything l i k e  it  present form." (Paehlke 1989, 53) In addition, i t advocated a r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of wealth in order to eliminate the gross economic d i s p a r i t i e s between r i c h and poor both domestically and on the international stage. Although the Limits study has  its  c r i t i c s i t did influence the debate over continued economic expansion. Despite i t s anthropocentric flavour, however, the study's main theme emphasized a steady-state world economy e s s e n t i a l l y  dis-  carding the idea of continued growth. Limits, thus, would question the idea of sustainable development advocated by the recently published Bruntland Commission report Our Common Future. One could argue, thus, that the idea of a ' s t a b i l i z e d world model' p a r a l l e l s those environmental philosophies advocating a balance between man and nature. Leopold's 'land e t h i c ' ,  Bookchin's  'ecological s o c i e t y ' or Rousseau's rejection of bourgeoise values and his concept of wholeness or unity with nature come to mind. It must be remembered, however, that Rousseau's ethic was not primarily based on a concern for environmental degradation,  in  and of i t s e l f , but on the negative affects on man himself of treating the natural world as something to be ' d e f e a t e d . ' Owing  88  to the romantic elements within his thought, Rousseau is decidedly preoccupied with individual self-discovery and s p i r i t u a l growth rather than any a l t r u i s t i c concerns for the enviroment, per se. The second major influence on modern environmental ism was The Blueprint for Survival. This study posited a model of a future B r i t i s h society based on sound ecological p r i n c i p l e s . It l a i d down "fundamental goals in which human a c t i v i t y should involve minimum ecological disruption and the maximum conservation of energy and materials."  (Pepper 1984, 24) In addition,  while material standards would be dropped, education would be used to reorient values systems "to place s p i r i t u a l and emotional aspects of l i f e in high esteem." (Pepper 1984, 24) The study further advocated d e - c e n t r a l i z a t i o n , an emphasis on ' l e s s deleterious technology', and a ' r e j e c t i o n of impersonal  large-scale  production techniques. The study also favoured a society based on small communities — another Rousseauian concept to be discussed in the next chapter. The ecotopia envisioned by the Blueprint rejected the scientific/mechanistic paradigm that encouraged nature's exploitation and instead, l i k e Rousseau, sought a balance between man and the natural world. The starting  point  for t h i s reorientation represents another Rousseauian concept, that of restructuring the education system. E.F. Schumacher's Small  is Beautiful. meanwhile, echoed  previous works that c a l l e d for a change in s o c i e t y ' s value structures. Schumacher advocated emphasizing what he c a l l e d "Buddhist economics" which rejected m a t e r i a l i s t i c values that encourage  89  exploitation of the environment: Buddhist economics must be very d i f f e r e n t from the economicis of modern materialism, since the Buddhist sees the essence of c i v i l i z a t i o n not in a m u l t i p l i c a tion of wants but in the p u r i f i c a t i o n of human character. Character, at the same time, is formed primarily by a man's work. And work, properly conducted in conditions of human dignity and freedom, pleases those who do i t and equally t h e i r products. Consumption is less important than creative a c t i v i t y , and conspicuious consumption is openly offensive. (Paehlke 1989, 173) Thus, the basis for judging oneself " i s bound up more and more with personal dignity, r e s t r a i n t and real personal achievement. Grandiosity and price are no longer a measure of uniqueness and beauty." (Paehlke 1989, 174) In s i m i l a r fashion to Rousseau, Schumacher attempted to "expose the nature and deficiences of the current philosophies which govern our relationship with nature." (Pepper 1984, 25) Though he did not go so far as Rousseau, who concluding society corrupted man, he did argue that "values shape economics...and he drove us towards a solution to the environmental ' c r i s i s ' which hinged upon the need for a changed value system in the West."  (Pepper 1984, 25) Schumacher believed  the system's goal was not to maximize p r o f i t s but to foster happy, productive c i t i z e n s . By emphasizing the values of  'Buddhist  economics,' he mirrored Rousseau's c a l l for a move away from the material towards the s p i r i t u a l whereby people identify themselves not with t h e i r material wealth but with t h e i r dedication to concepts such as j u s t i c e , c r e a t i v i t y and i n t e g r i t y . The preceeding arguments are presented as just a sampling of the modern environmental l i t e r a t u r e that has a Rousseauian  90  c o l o u r i n g : the idea o f modern c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y ' s c o r r u p t i n g i n f l u e n c e on i n d i v i d u a l s ; i t s d e n i g r a t i o n o f s p i r i t u a l g o a l s and i t s emphasis on m a t e r i a l i s t i c competition; modern s o c i e t y ' s preoccupation with appearance; i t s d i s r e g a r d f o r environmental i n t e g r i t y ; and u l t i m a t e l y the need f o r a complete r e s t r u c t u r i n g of c a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y ' s core values. How t h i s r e s t r u c t u r i n g could be accomplished i s a question o f c e n t r a l importance. For Rousseau, the only way to break down the d e l e t e r i o u s e f f e c t s o f s e l f i s h m a t e r i a l i s m was through education and a r e s t r u c t u r i n g o f the i n s t i t u t i o n s o f p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n . The f o l l o w i n g chapter, thus, presents Rousseau's views on p a r t i c i p a t o r y democracy, d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n and the concept o f small communities which w i l l be compared to contemporary p o l i t i c a l environmental ism, with p a r t i c u l a r r e f e r e n c e to 'green' philosophy and Green p a r t y p o l i t i c s .  91  CHAPTER FIVE; ROUSSEAU AND THE POLITICS OF ENVIRONMENTALISM  Introduction It seems almost a c l i c h e to say that Rousseau's p o l i t i c a l philosophy i s fraught with c o n t r a d i c t i o n s . C r i t i c s throughout h i s t o r y have debated h i s p o l i t i c a l thought, but there has been l i t t l e agreement on how to c l a s s i f y and i n t e r p r e t i t s d i s t i n c t i v e f e a t u r e s . While James M i l l e r sees Rousseau as 'the great Democrat of the 18th century, Talmon has equated h i s philosophy with t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m . ( J . M i l l e r 1984, 165) S i m i l a r to Talmon, Benjamin Constant "saw i n Rousseau's e g a l i t a r i a n i s m nothing but an e q u a l i t y of mistreatment." (Horowitz 1987, 13) Marshall Berman, however, argued that Rousseau was "a r a d i c a l i n d i v i d u a l i s t , s t r u g g l i n g with the problem of a u t h e n t i c i t y . " (Horowitz 1987, 26) Horowitz, meanwhile, equivocates on the question by a s s e r t i n g that Rousseau " i s n e i t h e r s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d l y an i n d i v i d u a l i s t nor a c o l l e c t i v i s t . " (1987, 8) He argues that Rousseau i s a c t u a l l y both a l i b e r a l and a t o t a l i t a r i a n "corresponding  to  two human types: c i t i z e n s and men, s o c i a l beings and autonomous i n d i v i d u a l s . " (1987, 15) In the end, however, Horowitz b e l i e v e s that Rousseau's s o l u t i o n to s o c i e t y ' s problems, the concept  of  the 'general w i l l , ' i s "a d e n i a l of self-hood in submission  to  a t o t a l i t a r i a n a u t h o r i t y . " (1987, 26) Whichever i n t e r p r e t a t i o n one choses to emphasize, i t i s l i k e l y that i t w i l l be wrong iN some r e s p e c t s , because Rousseau i s a philosopher whose p o l i t i c a l themes defy c a t e g o r i z a t i o n . There are, however, outstanding f e a t u r e s to h i s thought which 92  are unmistakable, features that have a d i r e c t bearing on any discussion of environmental philosophy. Rousseau, Democracy and the 'General W i l l ' The core of Rousseau's p o l i t i c a l philosophy is found in his seminal work: the Contrat s o c i a l , although certain facets of t h i s area of his thought can be found throughout his  writings—  p a r t i c u l a r l y Emile, Considerations sur l e gouvernment de Poloqne, and Pro.iet de Constitution pour l a Corse. In the Contrat social Rousseau advocated a form of social organization in which a l l men were considered equal under the law, and i t was assumed by Rousseau that i f a l l c i t i z e n s were educated as outlined in Emile his system would be the most perfect form of social organization — a system which would regard the law as outlined by his idea of the 'general w i l l '  as sacred. According to Rousseau: " i t is to  the law alone that men owe j u s t i c e and freedom; i t is  this  (beneficial) organ of the w i l l of a l l which re-establishes natural equality among men in the legal order." (Cassirer 1989, 58) But in order to i n s t i t u t e such a system, individuals had to submit to the unbending rule of law dictated by the 'general w i l l ' which was determined through a process of voting in which each member indicates his preference for recommended laws drawn up by elected legislators.  This 'general w i l l ' presupposes, however, "a  deliberate attitude of mind and a firm determination to seek the common good."  (Grimley 1973, 103)  According to Cassirer, the 'general w i l l ' was not simply an atomistic aggregate of individual w i l l s , but was instead supposed  93  to include an ethical underpinning which served as the basis for the decisions made as r e f l e c t e d in the law. For Rousseau, the law was not regarded as an external bond forcing individuals to conform, but was, instead, the constituent p r i n c i p l e behind p a r t i c u l a r w i l l s that confirmed and j u s t i f i e d them s p i r i t u a l l y . "It  wishes  to rule subjects only inasmuch as, in i t s every act, i t also makes and educates them into c i t i z e n s . " (Cassirer 1989, 63) Rousseau was primarily concerned with promoting "the dignity of man and with the means of securing and r e a l i z i n g i t "  (Cassirer  1989, 71) through the application of the law. For Rousseau, thus, dignity could only be secured under a system in which special p r i v i l e g e s for s p e c i f i c individuals or classes were eradicated by ensuring the equality of a l l c i t i z e n s before the law. (Cassirer 1989, 59) Rousseau believed that the law was not an opponent to freedom, but was i t s only true guarantor. The 'general w i l l ' was intended to distinguish  between the  "responsible social attitude of the c i t i z e n concerned with the common good and the p a r t i c u l a r w i l l of the individual who seeks merely his own advantage."  (Grimsley 1973, 103) As should be  c l e a r , this concept f l i e s in the face of modern c a p i t a l i s m ' s emphasis on the free market, material wealth, and individual choice. In order to foster the 'general w i l l ' Rousseau insisted that there be no discussion before the voting process, so that each c i t i z e n was protected from the influence of other people. Thus, the primary purpose of the voting process was  94  to obtain the total p a r t i c i p a t i o n and the total commitment of a l l to the general w i l l , and thus to achieve a unanimous, cooperative society in which individuals w i l l think of themselves as part of the whole rather than as self-centered units. (Crocker 1967, xix) By t h i s submission, each member of society was guaranteed never again to be subject to the p a r t i c u l a r w i l l of any one individual or group. Thus, Rosseau advocated a society in which c i t i z e n s were each economically equal ( r e l a t i v e to natural a b i l i t i e s )  and  independent. "Ideally, there should be a situation where 'no c i t i z e n shall be r i c h enough to buy another and none so poor as to be forced to s e l l h i m s e l f . ' "  (Pateman 1970, 22-23) The v i t a l  requirement, thus, was that each individual had his own property, because t h i s gave him security and independence that was necessary to ensure p o l i t i c a l equality and independence. (1970, 23) According to A l f r e d Cobban the Contrat social was an "attempt to put into p o l i t i c a l terms the concept of freedom in s o c i e t y . " (Cobban 1934, 61) Freedom and equality were, thus, reconciled for Rousseau in a community marked by e f f e c t i v e p a r t i c i p a t i o n for a l l members, a community Rousseau f e l t was the most natural of social orders and one that allowed the greatest form of freedom for man to perfect himself. C l e a r l y , this goal  is one shared by modern  environmentalists, p a r t i c u l a r l y those c a l l i n g for greater p a r t i c i p a t i o n by the public in the job of governing as a means of reversing the dangerous trends that threaten the i n t e g r i t y , indeed the very s u r v i v a l , of the planet. Central to the concept of d i r e c t democracy are two main thrusts: e f f e c t i v e p a r t i c i p a t i o n and the decentralization of  95  authority. S p e c i f i c a l l y , d i r e c t democracy eliminates representatives; therefore, i t is a self-governing  form of  p o l i t i c a l organization in which a l l c i t i z e n s assemble together to vote on the pressing issues of the day. Examples might include the Paris Commune of 1871, the Russian Soviets of 1905, Hungary in 1956, and the t r a d i t i o n a l New England town meeting. One could argue, however, that to be t r u l y e f f e c t i v e d i r e c t democracy could only work in very small communities that are It  is not surprising,  self-supporting.  thus, that i t has been described by some as  the "most obscure current of modern democratic p r a c t i c e . " (J. M i l l e r 1984, 205) It has been argued that i t was Rousseau who popularized the concept of d i r e c t democracy in the Contrat s o c i a l . According to M i l l e r "no one before him had been so obviously driven by an overriding vision of d i r e c t s e l f - r u l e by an entire people." (J. M i l l e r 1984, 142) The Contrat s o c i a l , thus, emphasized the concept of the inalieanable sovereignty of the people. As as r e s u l t , Rousseau was a staunch opponent of the idea of representative democracy which he concluded was a sham. He f e l t quite strongly that any law that had not been authorized by the people d i r e c t l y was not a r e f l e c t i o n of the general w i l l .  "Every  law which the people in person have not r a t i f i e d is i n v a l i d ,  it  is not a law," he argued. (Crocker 1967, 99) In f a c t , he c r i t i c i z e d representative democracy as i t was practiced in England by saying that "(t)he English nation thinks that  it  is free, but is greatly mistaken, for i t is so only during the election of members of Parliament; as soon as they are elected,  96  i t is enslaved and counts for nothing."  (1967, 99)  Rousseau's f a i t h in the idea of d i r e c t p a r t i c i p a t i o n was not e n t i r e l y based on his rejection of representative democracy. He also believed in d i r e c t democracy's positive benefits for people. He f e l t that "only through law-making could t h e i r horizons be broadened, t h e i r capacity for virtue developed." ( J . M i l l e r 1984, 143) He argued that " ( p ) a r t i c i p a t i o n broadens the mind. It makes you see the other person's point of view. It makes you understand the value of compromise and tolerance." (Held 1986, 142) He also believed that by allowing the c i t i z e n s of the state to a c t i v e l y participate in the making of laws they would be e f f e c t i v e l y protected against the resurgence of any form of despotism. He f e l t that p a r t i c i p a t i o n would "increase the value of his freedom to the individual by enabling him to be (and remain) his own master."  (Pateman 1970, 26) In other  words, i t would be extremely d i f f i c u l t for anyone to win support for a return to a less participatory form of government. In addition, Rousseau f e l t that p a r t i c i p a t i o n would foster a sense of community in which individuals would come to identify the public good with t h e i r own. Thus, the participatory process is educative as individuals learn to feel  " l i t t l e or no c o n f l i c t  between the demands of the public and private spheres."  (Pateman  1970, 25) In essence,"(i)mbued with a greater sense of community, the individual may begin to consider interests that transcend his crude personal advantage."  (R. Mason 1982, 39) Also,  "(i)f  you have helped to make a decision yourself...you may feel better even i f i t was a worse d e c i s i o n . " (Held 1986, 142) This has been  97  borne out by modern social s c i e n t i s t s who have discovered that "enforcement is f a c i l i t a t e d by p a r t i c i p a t i o n in the decisionmaking process."  (R. Mason 1982, 38) In f a c t , Rousseau believed  that by the e f f e c t i v e comprehensive p a r t i c i p a t i o n of a l l members of society the common good of a l l would always be r e a l i z e d - - h i s conception of the 'general w i l l ' . He believed that given any matter to be decided by a group or community, there is always one (and only one) just decision, one decision in the common i n t e r e s t , which they would a l l recognize for such, i f they had the relevant information and reasoned c o r r e c t l y . (Plamenatz 1973, 96) Rousseau was given the opportunity to apply these ideas to a real setting when he received a request from the leaders of the island of Corsica to draw up a new c o n s t i t u t i o n . While the work was not completed, Projet de Constitution pour l a Corse provides a p r a c t i c a l example of how Rousseau believed d i r e c t democracy could work. F i r s t , Rousseau argued that i t was crucial that the island remain agrarian, l i m i t the growth of industry, and avoid introducing commerce. "Commerce and luxury went together and the results of both were disastrous. They promoted s e l f - i n t e r e s t in the individual and inequality in s o c i e t y . " (J.H. Mason 1979, 268) Second, with respect to industry, Rousseau f e l t that the i s l a n d ' s mineral resources had to be c a r e f u l l y managed so as not to be overexploited. In addition, industries had to be c a r e f u l l y s i t e d , away from good agricultural land and away from any centres of population: only that (would) keep them in balance with agriculture and  98  prevent the imbalances that otherwise arises, to the harm of the l a t t e r . (J.H. Mason 1979, 268) Rousseau did not want to keep the island poor, necessarily, wanted to ensure that the freedom of a l l c i t i z e n s would be maintained. "Everyone sould make a l i v i n g and no one should grow r i c h ; that is the fundamental p r i n c i p l e of the prosperity of the nation...."  (J.H. Mason 1979, 271)  Third, Rousseau advocated that the state own the property and resources and that each individual share in the common property in proportion to his imput. (J.H. Mason 1979, 273) This concept would have l a t e r p a r a l l e l s to what Pepper describes as e c o s o c i a l i s t thought, although Rousseau stipulated that no property already owned was to be expropriated. He said that "(n)o law can despoil any private c i t i z e n of any part of his property; the law can merely prevent him from acquiring more  "  (J.H. Mason 1979, 273) Indeed, he argued that his idea was not to do away with private property "absolutely...but to confine i t within the narrowest l i m i t s ; to give i t a measure, a r u l e , a rein which w i l l contain, d i r e c t and subjugate i t , and keep i t ever subordinate to the public good." (J.H. Mason 1979, 273) Corsica was somewhat unique, however, in being a small island cut o f f from the d i r e c t influence of other communities. In Considerations sur le gouvernment de Pologne Rousseau offered the idea of a federal structure that would unite the various regions under one central government. C l e a r l y , Rousseau r e a l i z e d that he was creating a potential c o n f l i c t between the p a r t i c u l a r  99  w i l l s of the provinces and the general w i l l of the nation. What he feared was that the inalienable sovereignty of the people would be undermined since authority would have to be delegated to representatives of the regions whenever the central government was convened. There was the p o t e n t i a l , thus, that the concept of d i r e c t democracy would f a l l apart the larger and more e t h n i c a l l y diverse the country was. P r a c t i c a l l y speaking, however, Rousseau f e l t quite strongly that Poland had to reduce her f r o n t i e r s in order to maintain c o n t r o l . His solution, thus, was to combine "the outward strength of a great nation with the easy d i s c i p l i n e and the good order of a small State  " (Vaughan 1962, 385)  His solution was a confederation. He conditioned t h i s proposal, however, by urging that " i f there must be ' p a r t i a l s o c i e t i e s ' there should be 'as many as possible' which are as equal...as  possible."  (Dent 1988, 227) Rouseau f e l t that i t was possible, though not i d e a l , for a confederal structure to be reconciled with the 'general w i l l '  as long as size and numbers were stressed.  Rousseau's ideal society governed by the 'general  will'  has inspired a great deal of useful debate regarding the ways in which self-centered growth, as epitomized by the c a p i t a l i s t system, can be overcome f a c i l i t a t i n g a move to a more ecologically-minded socio-economic system. Rousseau's concept of the 'general w i l l , '  however, assumes a society with values  that already equate private interests with public ones. It must be remembered that Rousseau believed this could only come about as a r e s u l t of fundamental changes in s o c i e t y ' s value structures, which would primarily be fostered through education (Emile). At  100  any rate, Rousseau insisted on small, self-contained, primarily agrarian states for his system to be most e f f e c t i v e . Needless to say, t h i s type of s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l structure is unlikely in today's highly complex, predominantly urban society. In addition, i t is doubtful "that many people would wish to l i v e in such a society, even i f they could." (Resnick 1990, 105) Nevertheless, the aspiration to greater p o l i t i c a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n remains a r e a l i t y in many modern p o l i t i e s that cannot be denied. E s s e n t i a l l y Rousseau's p o l i t i c a l philosophy provides a grand unified theory of p o l i t i c a l organization which many modern environmentalists have supported in varying degrees. His idea of the 'general w i l l ' has d i s t i n c t c o l l e c t i v i s t overtones, e s p e c i a l l y in the context of ' f o r c i n g men to be f r e e '  i f they  disagree with i t s d i c t a t e s . There are indications, however, in his writings that he believed that societies governed by the 'general w i l l ' would have few laws and would meet to create new laws infrequently. In this sense, one might argue that he and Thoreau would have been in agreement, that a harmonious society would require few laws and that only the people themselves have a right to l e g i s l a t e . Thoreau, however, seems to have been a dedicated anarchist, and therefore any p a r a l l e l s between his thought and Rousseu's in t h i s regard is tenuous. Thoreau, the State and C i v i l Disobedience As mentioned, Thoreau philosophy has decidedly anarchistic overtones and, thus, d i f f e r s in many respects from the approach Rousseau took. Thoreau argued that "government is best which  101  governs l e a s t . . . ( a n d that)...government i s a t best but an expedient."  (Thomas 1966, 224) With respect t o v o t i n g , Thoreau  said: I c a s t my vote, perchance, as I t h i n k r i g h t ; but I am not v i t a l l y concerned that r i g h t should p r e v a i l . I am w i l l i n g t o leave i t t o the m a j o r i t y . I t s o b l i g a t i o n , t h e r e f o r e , never exceeds that o f expediency. (Thoreau as quoted i n Thomas 1966, 228) For Thoreau, the m a j o r i t y held on t o power, not because they were r i g h t or even f a i r , but "because they are p h y s i c a l l y the stronger." (Thomas 1966, 225) He f o r c e f u l l y argued against people r e s i g n i n g themselves t o the a c t i o n s o f l e g i s l a t o r s , and i n s i s t e d that "we should be men f i r s t , and subjects afterwards."  (Thomas 1966, 225)  According t o Thoreau, God gave us a conscience; t h e r e f o r e , i t would be wrong t o turn that conscience over t o a l e g i s l a t o r . Therefore, i f an i n d i v i d u a l perceives a law as 'unjust,' Thoreau b e l i e v e d i t was that person's duty t o disobey the law. He f e l t that "under a government which imprisons any u n j u s t l y , the true place f o r a j u s t man i s a l s o a p r i s o n . " (Thomas 1966, 233) Of course, the idea of ' i n j u s t i c e ' can become h i g h l y s u b j e c t i v e . Rousseau would l i k e l y have had none o f t h i s , because under the 'general w i l l ' there could be no unjust laws i n terms o f what i s r i g h t f o r a p r o p e r l y c o n s t i t u t e d community as a whole. In a d d i t i o n , Rousseau argued that "only the g r e a t e s t dangers can outweigh that o f changing the p u b l i c order, and the sacred power of the laws should never be i n t e r f e r r e d with except when the s a f e t y o f the country i s at stake." (Crocker 1967, 130) One could argue, o f course, that environmental  102  catastrophe  constitutes  a danger t o the s a f e t y o f the c o u n t r y . In f a i r n e s s t o Thoreau, i t seems l i k e l y that he recognized the compact t h e o r y o f p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n which i n s i s t s that once a group o f people have consented to a form o f government, they should obey i t s d i c t a t e s . He s a i d that the a u t h o r i t y o f government i s s t i l l an "impure one: t o be s t r i c t l y j u s t i t must have the s a n c t i o n and consent o f the governed. I t can have no pure r i g h t over any person and property but what I concede t o i t . " (Thomas 1966, 242-3) Thus, i t i s l i k e l y that Thoreau would would not have agreed that an i n d i v i d u a l can consent t o be governed, o b t a i n the b e n e f i t s o f s o c i e t y but r e f u s e to pay the c o s t s ( i . e . obedience to duly c o n s t i t u t e d laws). He seems t o focus p r i m a r i l y on laws t h a t a reasonable person with a l l a v a i l a b l e f a c t s would agree were u n j u s t . It should be c l e a r from the preceeding that Thoreau would have supported the concept o f c i v i l disobedience with regard to p r o t e c t i n g the environment; thus, he l i k e l y would have been sympathetic t o both the ends and means o f modern environmental r a d i c a l s . Rousseau, on the other hand, would have attacked the problem o f environmental d e g r a d a t i o n by i n s i s t i n g t h a t l e g i s l a t i o n t h a t sanctioned e x p l o i t i n g nature d i d not r e f l e c t the general w i l l but the p a r t i c u l a r w i l l o f p a r t i c u l a r c l a s s e s w i t h i n s o c i e t y . In o t h e r words, i f the 'general w i l l ' i s a p p l i e d to an ' e c o l o g i c a l s o c i e t y ' then i t i s f a i r to say t h a t the i t would r e f l e c t optimum choices f o r the biosphere as a whole. Thoreau, meanwhile, would have simply argued that a n t i - e c o l o g i c a l l e g i s l a t i o n was unjust, and that people could not simply ignore  103  such e x p l o i t a t i o n . In f a c t , h i s arguments can be seen as l e n d i n g support t o what the r a d i c a l e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s would l a t e r c a l l ' e c o l o g i c a l sabotage.' (Nash 1989, 166) Rousseau, P a r t i c i p a t i o n and Modern Ecophilosophv As p r e v i o u s l y mentioned, the modern e c o p h i l o s o p h e r with d i s t i n c t p a r a l l e l s t o Rousseauian thought and a w r i t e r o f t e n i d e n t i f i e d with a n a r c h i s t i c thought i s Bookchin. His ' s o c i a l ecology' emphasizes the problems a s s o c i a t e d with l a r g e , complex i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t i e s . He argues t h a t : Ordinary people f i n d i t impossible to p a r t i c i p a t e i n a n a t i o n : they can belong to i t but i t never belongs to them. The s i z e o f the n a t i o n - s t a t e renders a c t i v e c i t i z e n s h i p impossible...and i t t u r n p o l i t i c s . . . i n t o a form o f s t a t e c r a f t i n which the c i t i z e n i s i n c r e a s i n g l y disempowered by a u t h o r i t a r i a n e x e c u t i v e agencies, t h e i r l e g i s l a t i v e minions, and an al1-encompassing bureaucracy. (Bookchin 1987, 27-28) Instead, Bookchin favours a form o f s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n t h a t emphasizes "a n o n - h i e r a r c h i c a l s o c i e t y ( t h a t ) i s based on complementarity r a t h e r than r i v a l r y . . . ( w i t h ) . . . m o d e s o f knowing which are p a r t i c i p a t o r y and emancipatory." (Bookchin, 1987, 75) According t o Bookchin, the form o f p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n he envisions i s s c a l e d to human dimensions, i s t a i l o r e d to the ecosystem in which i t i s l o c a t e d , and ( w i l l ) open a new, d e c e n t r a l i z e d , self-managed p u b l i c realm f o r new forms o f s e l f h o o d as well as d i r e c t l y democratic forms o f self-management. (Bookchin 1987, 75-6) The p a r a l l e l s t o Rousseau i n t h i s v i s i o n are s e l f - e v i d e n t . In the preceeding chapter, we d i s c u s s e d The B l u e p r i n t f o r  104  S u r v i v a l which professed to o u t l i n e a program f o r an e c o l o g i c a l l y balanced f u t u r e s o c i e t y - - e c o t o p i a . In terms of i t s p o l i t i c a l recommendations, the r e p o r t focused on the twin i d e a l s of d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n and smallness o f s c a l e , two d i s t i n c t l y Rousseauian concepts. Among i t s fundamental  goals were minimal  e c o l o g i c a l d i s r u p t i o n , conservation of energy and resources, extensive r e c y c l i n g , and an emphasis on organic farming techniques. Central to the B l u e p r i n t was the idea o f small communities, which i t was b e l i e v e d would allow people to become d i r e c t l y i n v o l v e d and t h e r e f o r e g i v e them a d i s t i n c t i n f l u e n c e on a, b y - i n - l a r g e , l o c a l i z e d government. "Small communities would a l s o , i t was thought, have a minimal adverse impact on the ' n a t u r a l ' ecosystem."  (Pepper 1984, 25) According to Pepper, the  emphasis was on e c o l o g i c a l r a t h e r than s p e c i f i c a l l y  humanitarian  concerns. Although s o c i a l j u s t i c e was a c o n s i d e r a t i o n , there remained the question of j u s t how r e s t r i c t i v e of i n d i v i d u a l l i b e r t y such a s o c i e t y would be i n order to 'maintain the i r o n laws of ecology.' (1984, 25) By p r o h i b i t i n g a wide v a r i e t y o f p r a c t i c e s , the B l u e p r i n t came dangerously c l o s e to advocating an " e t h i c s o f r e p r e s s i o n and t o t a l i t a r i a n c o n t r o l . " (Pepper  1984,  206) T h i s aspect becomes p a r t i c u l a r l y ominous c o n s i d e r i n g the B l u e p r i n t ' s contention that the t r a n s i t i o n to i t s i d e a l s o c i e t y w i l l 'impose a heavy burden on our moral courage; and w i l l ' r e q u i r e great r e s t r a i n t . ' L e g i s l a t i o n and the o p e r a t i o n o f the p o l i c e f o r c e s and the courts w i l l be necessary to reinforce this restraint. (Pepper 1984,  207) 105  T h i s aspect o f the B l u e p r i n t i s r e m i n i s c e n t o f one o f Rousseau's c o n t e n t i o n s t h a t c i t i z e n s who are not f o l l o w i n g the general w i l l may be f o r c e d through the p a r t i c i p a t o r y process i n t o s o c i a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e a c t i o n s t o ensure everyone's freedom, or i n o t h e r words 'to be f o r c e d t o be f r e e . ' Given the looming c r i s i s i n the environment we are f a c i n g , such a s o c i a l o r d e r i n g may not be as f a r - f e t c h e d as one might t h i n k . Perhaps, though, the groups t h a t most epitomizes the p o l i t i c a l s t r a i n w i t h i n the modern environmental movement are the v a r i o u s Green p a r t i e s , i n p a r t i c u l a r the German Greens. For the Greens, l i k e Thoreau and John Muir before them, "the p r o t e c t i o n o f nature ( i s ) i n t i m a t e l y i n t e r t w i n e d with s o c i a l a c t i v i s m and a c r i t i q u e o f i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y . " (Tokar 1987, 40) Rousseau and German Green Party P o l i t i c s According t o Kim Holmes, the German Greens are the h e i r s o f to the German romantic t r a d i t i o n which began at the end o f the 18th century as a r e v o l t a g a i n s t the French Enlightenment. (Clemens 1983, 15) As mentioned, t h i s romantic t r a d i t i o n " c e l e b r a t e d the uniqueness o f the i n d i v i d u a l . . . a n d i t promised freedom from c o n s t r a i n t and the e x a l t a t i o n o f passion as the i d e a l s o f a new type o f personal s e n s i t i v i t y . " (Clemens 1983, 15) I t r e j e c t e d the t e n e t s o f western l i b e r a l i s m "and the emerging c a p i t a l i s t system which underpinned i t . " (Clemens 1983, 16) To romantic s e n s i b i l i t i e s , l i b e r a l i s m was not o n l y the s p i r i t u a l foundation o f modern decadence, i t was a l s o the foremost p o l i t i c a l e x p r e s s i o n o f the m a t e r i a l i s m and s c i e n t i f i c 106  r a t i o n a l i s m which they b e l i e v e d was e a t i n g away a t the soul o f German c u l t u r e . (Clemens 1983, 16) Thus, i n r e j e c t i n g t h e idea o f progress, there was a sense i n t h e German romantic movement that m a t e r i a l i s t c i v i l i z a t i o n had reached i t s end. According t o some, t h e t r a d i t i o n that most resembles t h e p o l i t i c a l s t y l e o f the Greens i s anarchism, because i t regards the s t a t e as i n h e r e n t l y c o e r c i v e and, t h e r e f o r e , i s an i n s t i t u t i o n t o be opposed by organized small grass roots u n i t s grouped together f o r a common purpose. (Clemens 1983, 17) This common purpose was t o present a united f r o n t against l i b e r a l i s m ' s emphasis on " l a i s s e z - f a i r e i n d i v i d u a l i s m and t h e competitive spirit of capitalism  " (Clemens 1983, 18) In order t o e f f e c t  t h i s o p p o s i t i o n , they put t h e i r f a i t h i n c o l l e c t i v e o r g a n i zation  " (Clemens 1983, 18) Holmes argues that i t was  these ' c o l l e c t i v i s t a n a r c h i s t s ' such as Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin who were t h e founders o f the concept o f d i r e c t democracy organized a t t h e grass roots l e v e l . (Clemens 1983, 18) I t i s contended i n t h i s t h e s i s , however, that i t was Rousseau, and not t h e ' c o l l e c t i v i s t a n a r c h i s t s ' who o r i g i n a l l y p o p u l a r i z e d t h e idea o f p a r t i c i p a t o r y democractic  forms.  The modern movement, thus, r e f l e c t s t h i s German romantic t r a d i t i o n and i s described by Clay demons as i n c l u d i n g a rejection of the complex r e a l i t i e s o f modern l i f e , above a l l , t e c h n o l o g i c a l progress; t h e r e l a t e d themes o f c u l t u r a l d e s p a i r , with i t s contempt f o r 'unaesthetic' i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y and parlaimentary i n s t i t u t i o n s ; t h e a n a r c h i s t 107  contempt f o r s t a t e a u t h o r i t y ; and the Utopian s o c i a l i s t emphasis on c o l l e c t i v i s m i n s t e a d o f i n d i v i d u a l i s m . (demons 1983, v i i ) E s s e n t i a l l y , German Greens a t t r i b u t e s o c i e t y ' s i l l s t o "the 'growth i m p e r a t i v e ' ; consumerism, and the t e c h n o l g i c a l impulse, as well as the a l l e g e d l y o l i g a r c h i c a l c o n t r o l over a l l i n s t i t u t i o n s . " (Clemons 1983, i x ) The modern Green movement i n Germany o r i g i n a t e d i n the l a t e 1960s out o f "the r a d i c a l l y a n t i c a p i t a l i s t , a n t i - p a r i i a m e n t a r y a c t i v i s m o f t h e . . . s t u d e n t movement" (Clemons 1983, v i i ) and developed through the 1970s as a response to what they p e r c e i v e d were the e x p l o i t a t i v e and a l i e n a t i v e e f f e c t s o f 'super-complex c a p i t a l i s t i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y . ' The primary supporters o f the e a r l y movement, thus, were d i s a f f e c t e d young people and students who were d i s s a t i s f i e d by t h e i r p o s i t i o n in s o c i e t y , as well as "members o f r u r a l communities w h o . . . f e l t threatened by ambitious h y p e r t e c h n o l o g i c a l p r o j e c t s . " (Papadakis 1984, 2) A c c o r d i n g to Rudolph Bahro, Greens reacted to what he d e s c r i b e s as the "markedly s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e , outwardly murderous and inwardly s u i c i d a l c h a r a c t e r o f our i n d u s t r i a l c i v i l i z a t i o n . " (Bahro 1986, 11) They a l s o opposed the dominant p o l i t i c a l paradigm the post-war p e r i o d , "which c e n t e r s around economic and s e c u r i t y issues...(and) i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by the predominance o f r e p r e s e n t a t i v e forms o f decision-making  " (Kolinsky 1989, 21)  The Greens, thus, were i n t e r e s t e d i n s e a r c h i n g f o r a new form o f community, a community which would emphasize " s o c i a l and s e l f - a c t u a l i z a t i o n n e e d s . . . p a r t i c i p a t i o n at the workplace and i n  108  p o l i t i c a l decision-making,  freedom of expression, a b e a u t i f u l  environment, and the a p p r e c i a t i o n of c r e a t i v i t y . " (Kolinsky 1989, 20) Furthermore, they supported a form of e c o l o g i c a l p o l i t i c s which opposed nuclear power, favoured a r e d i s t r i b u t i o n of g l o b a l wealth, demanded an end to the arms race and a guarantee of some form of p o l i t i c a l autonomy f o r the grass r o o t s . (Kolinsky 1989, 21-22) At t h e i r foundation congress i n 1980, the Green party developed a p o l i t i c a l platform that emphasized four b a s i c p r i n c i p l e s : ecology, s o c i a l goals, g r a s s r o o t s democracy, and non-violence.  In general terms, they supported the notion  that production would be on a 'smaller' more manageable d e c e n t r a l i z e d s c a l e , and that the " i n t r o d u c t i o n of new technology would be d e m o c r a t i c a l l y administered and monitored c a r e f u l l y to ensure c o m p a t i b i l i t y with the environment  "  (Kolinsky 1989, 62-3) According to Bahro, the Greens wanted "to get away from c e n t r a l i z e d , b u r e a u c r a t i c s o c i a l a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and b u i l d up s e l f - a d m i n i s t e r e d s o c i a l s e r v i c e s on a community b a s i s . " (Bahro 1986, 38) D i r e c t democracy and d e - c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of a u t h o r i t y were seen as c r u c i a l n e c e s s i t i e s i n order to counteract "the i n c r e a s i n g monopolization  of economic power...(as well  as)...the growing b u r e a c r a t i z a t i o n and c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of government." (Bahro 1986,  41)  According to Spretnak and Capra, the f i r s t p i l l a r of the German Greens, ecology, r e f l e c t s a concept p r e v i o u s l y d i s c u s s e d : "an understanding  that we are part of nature, not above i t , and  that a l l our massive s t r u c t u r e of commerce—and l i f e i t s e l f — 109  u l t i m a t e l y depend on wise r e s p e c t f u l i n t e r a c t i o n with our b i o sphere." (Capra 1986, 29) As mentioned, while Rousseau favoured the idea of h i e r a r c h y , he a l s o recognized the  interconnectedness  of a l l l i f e , and i t i s c l e a r he would have agreed with the Greens in the sense that we must be c a r e f u l stewards of the natural  world.  The second p i l l a r , that of s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , focuses on " s o c i a l j u s t i c e and an assurance that the poor and the working c l a s s w i l l not get hurt by programs to r e s t r u c t u r e the economy and our consumer s o c i e t y e c o l o g i c a l l y . " (Capra 1986, 35) Rousseau, too, argued that in c r e a t i n g a s o c i e t y governed by the  'general  w i l l ' the d i s p a r i t i e s between r i c h and poor would have to be, f o r the most part e l i m i n a t e d , and that the s t a t e would own most of the country's assets although he d i d i n d i c a t e in C o r s i c a that personal property already i n someone's possession would not be taken away. The t h i r d p i l l a r , that of grass roots democracy, has been the primary focus of t h i s chapter and i s , to r e i t e r a t e , an emphasis on d e c e n t r a l i z e d , d i r e c t democracy. It gives p r i o r i t y to d e c i s i o n s made at the l o c a l l e v e l and, thus, encourages the d e v o l u t i o n of a d m i n i s t r a t i v e powers to " d e - c e n t r a l i z e d , manageable grass roots u n i t s . " (Capra 1986, 37) As a r e s u l t , the Greens advocated " s i m p l i f y i n g a d m i n i s t r a t i v e u n i t s with a g r e a t e r share of government revenues going to s t a t e s , regions, c o u n t i e s , towns and neighbourhoods." (Capra 1986,  48)  The Greens a l s o p r e f e r r e d party v o t i n g take place at l a r g e  110  a s s e m b l i e s where i n d i v i d u a l s would have easy a c c e s s t o p a r t y o f f i c i a l s , and t h e y f a v o u r e d t h e i d e a o f c o n s e n s u s . 1986, 75) t h e problem w i t h the consensus  (Langwuth  approach, however, i s  t h a t i t can become an " i n s t r u m e n t o f e x t o r t i o n d i r e c t e d a g a i n s t t h e m a j o r i t y . . . ( a n d ) . . . i n many c a s e s i t l e a d s t o compromises not r e f l e c t i v e o f t h e m a j o r i t y view." (Langwuth 1986, 75) In a d d i t i o n , Greens r e j e c t e d t h e n o t i o n o f h i e r a r c h i c a l s t r u c t u r e s w i t h i n the p a r t y whereby p a r t y b r a s s become e n t r e n c h e d  in positions  o f power. I n s t e a d , t h e y put i n t o p r a c t i c e the i d e a o f e l e c t i n g s t e e r i n g c o m m i t t e e s , u s u a l l y w i t h s t a g g e r e d terms o f l e s s than  two  y e a r s . The problem w i t h t h i s form o f o f f i c e r o t a t i o n i s t h a t " i n a c o m p l i c a t e d democracy demanding s p e c i a l i z a t i o n , p o l i t i c i a n s need time t o l e a r n and t o g a i n e x p e r i e n c e and an u n d e r s t a n d i n g  of  d e t a i l . . . ( i n o r d e r t o e n s u r e ) . . . r e s p o n s i b l e a c t i o n . " (Langwuth 1986,  73) A t any r a t e , t h e t w i n i d e a l s o f d e - c e n t r a l i z a t i o n and d i r e c t  democracy, as we have seen, have d i s t i n c t p a r a l l e l s i n Rousseau's t h o u g h t . T h e r e i s a l s o a d i s t i n c t l y Rousseauian  c o l o u r i n g t o the  Greens sense o f a l i e n a t i o n from modern i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y . A c c o r d i n g t o Bahro: The p s y c h o l o g i c a l d i m e n s i o n o f t h e problem o f i n d i v i d u a l i t y i n s u p e r - c o m p l e x i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y must be made c o m p l e t e l y c l e a r . The d i f f e r e n t s p h e r e s o f l i f e - - w o r k , e d u c a t i o n , h o u s i n g , r e c r e a t i o n - - a r e so s e p a r a t e d from one a n o t h e r , almost a l l a c t i v i t i e s a r e so d e p e r s o n a l i z e d and even p r i v a t e t i e s s t r i p p e d o f so many n e c e s s i t i e s , t h a t t h e a l i e n a t i o n o f one p e r s o n from a n o t h e r t h r e a t e n s t o become the g e n e r a l f a t e . We f i n d a l o s s o f e m o t i o n a l c o n n e c t i o n even i n the i n t i m a t e c o n t a c t s o f t h e n u c l e a r f a m i l y , t h i s l a s t r e s i d u e o f the o r i g i n a l community. ( P a p a d a k i s 1984,  23)  111  According t o Elim Papadakis, the g r e a t e s t concern among Greens in modern i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y , thus, " i s the f e a r o f i s o l a t i o n and l o s s o f personal and c o l l e c t i v e i d e n t i t y . " (Papadakis 1984, 25) Much l i k e Rousseau, they sensed the n e c e s s i t y f o r completely r e - s t r u c t u r i n g modern s o c i e t y ' s value system so that 'fundamental needs would no longer be perverted by consumer s o c i e t y ' and instead o f m a t e r i a l i s m there would be an emphasis on c r e a t i v i t y . (Papadakis  1984, 53) E s s e n t i a l l y , they envisioned a s o c i e t y  where "people l i v e i n harmony with nature and decison-making processes have been s i m p l i f i e d and d e c e n t r a l i z e d , and people are provided with goods on the basis o f t h e i r needs."  (Papadakis  1984, 55) While i t might be too much t o expect a b l u e p r i n t f o r an a l t e r n a t i v e s o c i e t y , the primary c r i t i c i s m o f the Greens has been that they do not have a comprehensive a l t e r n a t i v e t o the current p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s and s t r u c t u r e s . In p a r t , t h i s i s because they may be s t r i v i n g f o r i r r e c o n c i l a b l e aims and simply cannot agree amongst themselves on how t o c a r r y out t h i s r e s t r u c t u r i n g . According t o Papadakis the Greens are, at the same time, trying to introduce g r a s s - r o o t s democracy i n t o a parlaimentary system; t o combat c e r t a i n aspects o f economic growth w h i l s t seeking t o s a t i s f y most material and s o c i a l needs; t o uphold the idea o f the charisma o f the group and the community, w h i l s t s t i l l being i n f l u e n c e d by an i n d i v i d u a l i s t c u l t u r e and forms o f p r o t e s t and a c t i o n . (Papadakis  1984, 61)  This might be a r e s u l t o f the f a c t that the Greens are a w i l d l y 'heterogenous movement' and according t o Clemons are 'hopelessly  112  Utopian' i n t h e i r outlook, (demons, i x ) As Papadakis argues, they may be "trapped by an e x c e s s i v e emphasis on a Utopian view of how to s o l v e s o c i a l and environmental problems...(based on)... an a b s t r a c t a n a l y s i s of s o c i e t y (that f a i l s to recognize the need f o r ) . . . t a n g i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e s . " (Papadakis, 61) I r o n i c a l l y , the same c r i t i c i s m can be l e v e l l e d at Rousseau.  113  CONCLUSIONS  Without a doubt the various p r e s c r i p t i o n s o u t l i n e d i n t h i s t h e s i s emphasize s o c i a l reforms and i n s t i t u t i o n a l changes that seem u n a t t a i n a b l e given the inherent d i f f i c u l t i e s i n v o l v e d in r e - s t r u c t u r i n g s o c i e t y , not t o mention the r e s i s t a n c e o f those i n t e r e s t groups and s o c i a l c l a s s e s who b e n e f i t most from the c u r r e n t system. According t o Ensenberger, while the various groups debate about the ' c o r r e c t ' form t h i s r e s t r u c t u r i n g must take, they have f a i l e d t o recognize "that there has been a fundamental quantum leap i n the environmental  t h r e a t s which  are posed by modern i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n . " (Pepper 1984, 203) He argues that i t i s becoming q u i t e c l e a r that "any p o s s i b l e f u t u r e belongs t o the realm o f n e c e s s i t y and not that o f freedom, and that every p o l i t i c a l theory and p r a c t i c e . . . ( w i l l be)... confronted not with the problem o f abundance but s u r v i v a l . " (Pepper 1984, 203) C l e a r l y , with so many p e r s p e c t i v e s on the environment, i t w i l l take time t o achieve a working synthesis o f ideas. I t i s e n t i r e l y p l a u s i b l e that such a synthesis w i l l include g r e a t e r p o l i t i c a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n and d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n o f a u t h o r i t y . J u s t how l i k e l y i t i s that d i r e c t democractic  forms w i l l be  i n s t i t u t e d and how e f f e c t i v e l y i t would f u n c t i o n i s , o f course, q u e s t i o n a b l e . According t o Resnick "given the s i z e and s c a l e o f modern-nation states...we must...accept the i n e v i t a b i l i t y o f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . " (Resnick 1990, 37) Furthermore, i n terms o f decision-making  the he argues that "we must not expect too much  114  good from human nature, f o r without some o v e r r i d i n g order we may end up,not with a model p u b l i c sphere, but with the chaos o f a Lebanon, i . e . a 'Hobbesian s t a t e o f nature.'" (Resnick 1990, 37) Nevertheless, many groups have advocated g r e a t e r p a r t i c i pation as a means o f i n s t i t u t i n g changes that w i l l p r o t e c t the environment from f u r t h e r degradation. They b e l i e v e that p a r t i c i p a t i o n w i l l f o s t e r a sense o f e f f i c a c y about d e a l i n g with environmental  problems, and thus m o b i l i z e a more e f f e c t i v e and  e n t h u s i a s t i c f i g h t i n g f o r c e . Greater p a r t i c i p a t i o n might a l s o reduce i n t o l e r e n c e between competing i n t e r e s t s and f o s t e r a g r e a t e r d e s i r e f o r compromise (although i n some sense the s i t u a t i o n i s so s e r i o u s that h a l f - h e a r t e d measures would be counterproductive). The second major p o l i t i c a l component o f many contemporary environmental  perspectives, decentralization of authority, i s  a l s o problematic. This b u c o l i c view o f s o c i e t y , as r e f l e c t e d i n the work o f Schumacher and Bookchin, among others, sounds wonderful i n theory, but may be dangerous i n p r a c t i c e . In f a c t , i t has been argued that i t i s "not only p o l i t i c a l l y r i s k y but environmentally  unsound." (Paehlke 1989, 245) In c o n t r a s t , i t  has been argued that i f the planet i s soon t o be i n h a b i t e d by t e n b i l l i o n people we may have t o "accept and even welcome increases in both urban d e n s i t y and the proportion o f population r e s i d e n t in urban areas." (Paehlke 1989, 246) According t o Paehlke such problems as the 'greenhouse e f f e c t ' and a c i d r a i n may a c t u a l l y be aggravated  by population d i s p e r s i o n . High d e n s i t y urban  cores are a c t u a l l y more energy e f f i c i e n t , and ensure that what 115  remaining t r a c t s o f w i l d e r n e s s s t i l l remain w i l l not be e x p l o i t e d to s e t up new communities.  (1989, 246)  The major problem, thus, i s the d i f f i c u l t y (indeed 'impossibility') of increasing participation, redistributing wealth and d e c e n t r a l i z i n g a u t h o r i t y while at the same time ensuring environmental p r o t e c t i o n . C l e a r l y d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n o f a u t h o r i t y can c r e a t e environmental 'ghettos' i n l e s s wealthy r e g i o n s where i t might be necessary t o s a c r i f i c e the environment in order t o maintain the economy. C l e a r l y , many environmental problems simply cannot be solved at the l o c a l l e v e l but r e q u i r e c o o r d i n a t e d n a t i o n a l p o l i c i e s and i n t e r n a t i o n a l agreements. Imagine the d i f f i c u l t y i n v o l v e d i n reaching a comprehensive r a i n agreement when t o do so r e q u i r e s agreement from of independent-minded  acid  thousands  communities.  The problem e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s face i s f i n d i n g a e f f e c t i v e process f o r i n s t i t u t i n g the necessary changes, without c r e a t i n g more problems than they s o l v e . Meanwhile, the d i v i s i o n s w i t h i n the environmental movement w i l l continue t o mean t h a t measures designed t o p r o t e c t nature w i l l continue t o be incremental and h a l f - h e a r t e d . True change w i l l only occur when the c r i s i s reaches a stage whereby we simply have no other choice but t o 'put the brakes on the engines o f growth.' U n t i l we r e a l l y begin t o question the s a n i t y o f continued economic expansion and the i d e a l o g y o f consumerism, we w i l l continue t o l i v e i n the shadow o f a growing environmental c a t a s t r o p h e . And i t w i l l be our c h i l d r e n who s u f f e r the consequences  o f our a v a r i c e .  116  For Rousseau, t h e q u e s t i o n o f i n e x h a u s t i b i l i t y n e v e r e n t e r e d h i s mind. A f t e r a l l , i n h i s t i m e the n a t u r a l w o r l d seemed abundant, and w i t h t h e d i s c o v e r y o f new c o n t i n e n t s n a t u r e a p p e a r e d e n d l e s s . Nevertheless,  s i n c e Rousseau b e l i e v e d n a t u r e was a r e f l e c t i o n o f  God's handiwork, he a r g u e d t h a t we had a d u t y t o God t o t a k e  care  o f i t . As a p h i l o s o p h e r who would l a t e r i n s p i r e Romantic w r i t e r s , however, Rousseau was p r i m a r i l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h the s e a r c h f o r self-awareness,  a b a l a n c e between reason and f e e l i n g t h a t would  ensure happiness;  t h e r e f o r e , he was u n d o u b t e d l y  anthropocentric,  a q u a l i t y t h a t has p r o b a b l y c o n t r i b u t e d t o h i s b e i n g i g n o r e d modern e c o - p h i l o s o p h e r s . on such c o n c e p t s  by  But Rousseau d i d i n i t i a t e d i s c u s s i o n s  as h i e r a r c h y o r the ' c h a i n o f b e i n g ' l a t e r  a d o p t e d by Darwin, and i n s i s t e d t h a t s e n t i e n t b e i n g s n e v e r be u n n e c e s s a r i l y harmed. F u r t h e m o r e , he argued a g a i n s t e a t i n g meat ( a l t h o u g h he d i d not p r a c t i c e v e g e t a n a r i a n i s m  h i m s e l f ) , and  he  d e d i c a t e d h i m s e l f t o the s t u d y o f botany as a means o f b e t t e r understanding  the world of nature.  In a d d i t i o n , Rousseau's d e s i r e t o e s c a p e from a s o c i a l w o r l d  he  d e s p i s e d has d i s t i n c t p a r a l l e l s t o e n v i r o n m e n t a l ism, s i n c e most modern environmental  g r o u p s , t o o , have argued a g a i n s t c a p i t a l i s m ' s emphasis on  m a t e r i a l i s t v a l u e s . S i m i l a r l y , Rousseau a r g u e d t h a t t h e f a l s e needs c r e a t e d by a s o c i e t y d o m i n a t e d by the s c i e n t i f i c / m e c h a n i s t i c p a r a d i g m d e g r a d e d i n d i v i d u a l s . A p p e a r a n c e became the r e a l i t y . He a r g u e d t h a t t h e o n l y s t a n d a r d s modern s o c i e t y e x a l t e d were f i n a n c i a l and c o m m e r c i a l . W e a l t h and m a t e r i a l w e l l - b e i n g were t h e o n l y measures o f s u c c e s s  that  modern s o c i e t y would a c c e p t . In t h i s r e s p e c t , i t i s f o r w a r d e d t h a t Rousseau r e m a i n s r e l e v a n t t o t h e modern e r a . J u s t as Schumacher a r g u e d  117  f o r what he c a l l e d ' B u d d h i s t economics' Rousseau b e l i e v e d s o c i e t y had t o be r e - e d u c a t e d so t h a t v a l u e s such as h o n e s t y , j u s t i c e ,  innocence,  i n t e g r i t y and v i r t u e would be r e g a r d e d as t h e most i m p o r t a n t . In t h i s r e g a r d , a g r e e i n g o r d i s a g r e e i n g w i t h Rousseau depends on w h e t h e r one i s an o p t i m i s t o r a p e s s i m i s t r e g a r d i n g man's t r u e n a t u r e . E x p e c t i n g s o c i e t y t o e f f e c t a w h o l e s a l e change i n i t s t h i n k i n g , however, i s U t o p i a n , t o say t h e l e a s t .  More l i k e l y , a 'new age' o r new way o f  t h i n k i n g w i l l emerge o n l y a f t e r t h e w o r l d has s u f f e r e d t h r o u g h a sustained p e r i o d of environmental catastophes that f o r c e s o c i e t y to rethink i t s core values. Rousseau, o f c o u r s e , had a s o l u t i o n t o a l l t h e s e problems, but i t i s a d e c i d e d l y u n s a t i s f a c t o r y one, which i s a n o t h e r r e a s o n why he has been i g n o r e d by modern e n v i r o n m e n t a l i s t s . As d i s c u s s e d , a l t h o u g h he was a champion o f p a r t i c i p a t o r y democracy, he a l s o a d v o c a t e d a p o l i t i c a l system w i t h o u t r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s n o r p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s . A l l members v o t e d i n d e p e n d e n t l y o f each o t h e r g u i d e d by t h e u n d e r l y i n g p r i n c i p l e o f t h e ' g e n e r a l w i l l ' which r e p r e s e n t e d t h e r e s p o n s i b l e s o c i a l a t t i t u d e i n d i v i d u a l s were supposed t o p o s s e s s . I f any p e r s o n d i s a g r e e d o r t r i e d t o a f f e c t h i s own p a r t i c u l a r w i l l , he o r she was ' f o r c e d t o be f r e e . ' T h i s l a t t e r c o n c e p t u n d o u b t e d l y unnerves t h o s e i n t h e e n v i r o n m e n t a l movement demanding l e s s p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t y from t h e c e n t r a l government; a l t h o u g h , i t does seem t o have been a d v o c a t e d by t h e authors of the B l u e p r i n t f o r S u r v i v a l . Rousseau's  i d e a l s t a t e , t h u s , was s m a l l , a g r a r i a n ,  e f f e c t i v e l y s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t , and i s o l a t e d . R e s o u r c e s were c o l l e c t i v e l y owned by t h e p e o p l e t h r o u g h t h e government and  118  protected from ' o v e r - e x p l o i t a t i o n ' ; thus, subsistence was the operative word. This Utopian state seems impossible in today's highly competitive interdependent world (although Castro's Cuba may be forced to go in t h i s d i r e c t i o n i f support from the Soviet Union dries up). The trend, instead,  is  towards greater interdependence, not l e s s . Also, the idea of returning to a kind of ' p r e - i n d u s t r i a l ' society dominated by bucolic small communities operating at a subsistence level and ' e n f o r c i n g ' cooperation between a l l members of the community is simply a 'fantasy'  given the complexities and  competing interests within modern society. The purpose of this thesis has been to establish a connection between aspects of Rousseau's thought and selected currents within modern environmental ism. The study was not meant to be comprehensive, but simply an analysis of general trends in the hopes that i t w i l l generate further analysis and discussion.  In conclusion, i t  is  forwarded that Rousseau, for the most part ignored by modern ecophilosophers, has a decidedly environmentalist strain running throughout his writings. While modern environmentalist  theorists  tend to c i t e Thoreau, Muir or Leopold as i n s p i r a t i o n , i t is contended here that Rousseau, too, deserves recognition, regardless of his anthropocentric leanings. The adoption of Rousseauian  concepts  related to the man/nature r e l a t i o n s h i p , his c r i t i q u e of modernism and bourgeois culture, and his emphasis on d i r e c t democracy, decentralization and small communities a l l have d i r e c t p a r a l l e l s in modern environmental philosophy. 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