October 18, 2008

Doing what is loathsome

The conclusion I can draw from all these reflections is that I have never been truly suited for civil society where everything is annoyance, obligation, and duty and that my independent natural temperament always made me incapable of the subjection necessary to anyone who wants to live among men. As long as I act freely, I am good and do only good. But as soon as I feel the yoke either of necessity or of men, I become rebellious, or rather, recalcitrant; then I am ineffectual. When it is necessary to what is opposite to my will, I do not do it at all, no matter what; I do not even do what accords with my will, because I am weak. I abstain from acting, for all of my weakness is with regard to action, all of my strength is negative, and all of my sins are of omission, rarely of commission. I have never believed that man's freedom consisted in doing what he wants, but rather in never doing what he does not want to do; and that is the freedom I have always laid claim to, often preserved, and most often scandalized my contemporaries about. Because, as for them - busy, restless, ambitious, detesting freedom in others and not wanting any for themselves, provided that they sometimes do what accords with their will, or rather, that they dominate the will of others - they torment themselves their whole life long by doing what is loathsome to them; they omit nothing servile in order to command.
From the Sixth Walk in Rousseau's The Reveries of a Solitary Walker, p83
Handed in my notice today, although will work up until December 19th, when I leave for my UK vacation. After that, no bosses for as long as possible.

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