Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the secret

For Jean-Jacques Rousseau, transparency and truth are goals to be achieved. As he writes in Book IV of the Confessions:

“I wish I could in some way make my soul transparent to the reader.

→ Mystery and secrecy

There is not much room for secrecy in his work.

His motto bears witness to this: Vitam impendere verothat is to say “devote your life to the truth”.

But this demand for truth, and therefore this undertaking to destroy secrecy, is also valid in the political sphere.

In 1772, Jean-Jacques Rousseau remarks in Considerations on the Government of Poland that the “strongest, most powerful” means consists in “making all citizens feel incessantly under the eyes of the public, that no one advances and reaches only by public favor”.

→ Quotes on Secrecy

Public esteem is the guarantee of good political functioning.

This is why Jean-Jacques Rousseau grants and notes an advantage to the smallest states, because “all the citizens know each other there and look at each other, that the leaders can see for themselves the evil that is being done, the good that they have to do.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a philosopher who lived in the 18th century. Claude Lévi-Strauss describes him as the founder of anthropology for his original reflection on the passage from nature to culture.

  • Baruch Spinoza – Everyone has the right to say what they want
  • Machiavelli – The Prince must know how to feign and dissimulate

General Knowledge: the Secret