An Overview of Rousseau’s and Nietzsche’s Approaches Regarding Their Thoughts on The State of Nature and SocializationÇağdaş Emrah Çağlıyan
The history of thought has progressed through the continuous contributions from past accumulations. In this respect, one must be meticulous when examining the struggle successor-thinkers have had with their predecessors. A careful examination of these thinkers’ ties with their predecessors will reveal that no complete disagreement exists between them, with the thoughts of Rousseau and Nietzsche able to be shown as an example. Although Nietzsche harshly criticized Rousseau’s thoughts in some of his works, when looking at Nietzsche’s philosophy as a whole, many points are found where the thoughts of both philosophers overlap. For example, man in the state of nature as Rousseau had postulated is strong and self-sufficient, and all evil arises from sociality, or more appropriately, from the inequality brought about by sociality. When looking at Nietzsche’s thoughts, one again sees the affirmation of nature, but nature, and therefore humans in their natural state, also has a horrible face. In this context, although Nietzsche criticized Rousseau’s thoughts on many points, one should not ignore the issues both philosophers held in common. The main aim of this study is to draw attention to the overlapping points these two philosophers’ views had that developed in the center of human nature. Demonstrating some points that coincide between Nietzsche and Rousseau also includes an objection to the underestimation of the positivist considerations that human beings are benevolent by nature, because in the struggle to end the ongoing injustices in social life, one important factor is to have people understand their fellow humans as good beings by nature.
Doğal Durum ve Toplumsallaşma ile İlişkili Düşünceleri Bağlamında Rousseau ve Nietzsche’nin Yaklaşımlarına Genel Bir BakışÇağdaş Emrah Çağlıyan
Düşünce tarihi, geçmişten gelen birikimin katkısıyla ilerlemektedir. Bu bakımdan, ardıl olan düşünürlerin, geçmişteki filozoflarla olan hesaplaşmalarını incelerken titiz davranmak gerekmektedir. Düşünürlerin öncelleriyle olan bağı dikkatli biçimde irdelendiğinde, aralarında bütünüyle bir uyuşmazlık olmadığı görülecektir. Bu konuya örnek olarak Rousseau ve Nietzsche’nin düşüncelerini gösterebiliriz. Nietzsche’ye baktığımızda, onun bazı eserlerinde Rousseau’nun düşüncelerini sert bir dille eleştirmiş olduğunu görürüz. Bununla birlikte, Nietzsche’nin felsefesi bütünlüklü olarak incelendiğinde, her iki filozofun düşüncelerinin örtüştüğü pek çok nokta bulunmaktadır. Örneğin, Rousseau’nun varsaydığı biçimiyle doğa durumundaki insan, güçlü ve kendi kendine yeterlidir; her türlü kötülük toplumsallıktan, ya da daha yerinde bir ifadeyle, toplumsallığın getirdiği eşitsizlikten doğar. Nietzsche’nin düşüncelerine baktığımızda, yine doğanın olumlandığını görürüz; ancak doğa – ve dolayısıyla doğal haliyle insan- dehşetengiz bir çehreye de sahiptir. Bu konu, her iki filozofun görüşlerinde birbirleriyle olan uyumlarına bir örnek oluşturur. Çalışmamızdaki temel çabamız, söz konusu iki düşünürün insan doğası merkezinde gelişen görüşlerinde özellikle birbirleriyle örtüşen noktalara dikkat çekmektir. Burada, Nietzsche ve Rousseau arasında birtakım bağdaşma noktalarının gösterilmesi, insanın doğası gereği iyicil bir varlık olduğuna ilişkin olumlu çıkarımların naif bulunarak hafife alınmasına yönelik bir karşı çıkış da barındırmaktadır. Çünkü toplumsal yaşamda süregelen adaletsizliklerin sona erdirilmesi için mücadele edilmesinde, insanın kendi türdeşlerini doğası gereği iyi varlıklar olarak kavraması önemli bir etkendir.
People’s concessions about human nature also determines their positioning with regard to social incidents. For example, when one assumes human beings to be unconscious masses behaving only for their own profit, being reckless toward the injustices they encounter and underestimating their suffering becomes easier. One would assume the bother felt by any piece of the invaluable mass to be deserved, and the only reasonable action at this point would be to pull oneself out of this insignificant pain. However, even simply giving importance to human existence allows one to feel the sensed misery within the self and to try to terminate it. Therefore, if one feels that the injustices one witnesses should be terminated, one’s thoughts about human nature must contain hope so as not to assume these injustices to be deserved for humans. For this purpose, one would need to remove the obstacles prevent them from empathizing with other people and developing common sense. One of humans’ most important supports for removing these obstacles is to give up the tendency of considering humans as being evil by nature.
This study will evaluate Rousseau’s ideas on human nature and compare them with Nietzsche’s thoughts about the topic, which appear to be in contrast with Rousseau’s ideas. Paying attention to the articles by Rousseau and Nietzsche will let one perhaps become aware of the disgust they had felt from the hypocritical actions they’d encountered. One may also observe how their efforts to get rid of this would coalesce with nature as well as the individual nature of human beings. However, the survival of human beings in equality, whom Rousseau had described as possessing complete existence in the state of nature, caused his invitation to return to nature to include an invitation to a more equalitarian organization. In contrast, Nietzsche comprehended nature as containing every unjust and unfair deed which was affirmed by this state. Thus, individuals try to generate a justification for their selfishness by using Nietzsche’s ideas, which actually went completely against Nietzsche’s objectives. Therefore, as one frequently encounters during their era, invalidating the effort to generate excuses to legitimize human insensitivity as a result of the thoughts of philosophers such as Nietzsche carries vital priority. In this context, the article will discuss these philosophers not only in terms of their differences, but also more intensively in terms of their similarities. The study will attempt to invalidate every ideational effort at legitimizing conditions unsuitable for human beings.
The points upon which these two philosophers shared broadly similar views can form the basis for actions aimed at improving social order and correcting injustices, despite their understanding of human nature differing. While Rousseau was seen more clearly to express good intentions regarding humanity, one cannot say that Nietzsche’s thoughts had paved the way for only keeping human beings captive to the conditions they are in or to be deserving of the injustices they suffer. This is because both philosophers revealed the illusory nature of the sheltered conditions of freedom in which humans find themselves; as a result, they have assigned humans the duty of transforming the necessities upon which they depend into a form they will love. In this context, making general will a part of one’s own destiny should not be considered contradictory, nor should the thought that we submit to rationality on one hand and nature on the other while adapting individual will to it be considered contradictory. In the history of thought, the hope that humans will be freed from the bondage of their own selfishness and completely isolate themself from the passions of self-interest is considered the fundamental common ground one has with other people.
Nevertheless, the attempt in the study must be said to not be aimed at proving that the positive and benevolent aspects of humans in the natural state are irresistibly valid, as based on Rousseau. Opinions that fully affirm the natural state may be a fiction, as much evidence in support of this can be found throughout history. What matters, though, is what this fiction serves.