Essay: Progress Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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[. . .] Just like the previous one, it is also based on nature. The painting is basically based by the seaside just like the previous one looked at. It has one old man walking towards two adults and two children on a hill situated next to the sea hence his back is to the viewer. In the sea right ahead of the walking old man are five boats arranged in a receding manner from the shore to the high seas.

It is characteristic of Casper's paintings to emphasize more on the nature as compared to man. The same is seen in this painting where the human figures are dwarfed against the vast sea and sky and the landscape in general. Here again we see Casper treating nature as divine above humankind hence should act as a source of inspiration to man and each man should go back to nature (Silver and Exact, 2013).

Taking into account the title of the painting, it is apparent that in all stages of life of a human being, nature stands supreme and transcends the passing stages of human life. The old man is seen to be heading back into the sea, like the ships in the sea recede one after the other into the high seas. This is an indication of the vanity of the human life that submits to nature when lifetime is over leaving the everlasting nature intact. This is the natural fate that will befall the young children playing by the sea as well when their days are done. This is an inalienable relation between man and nature as Rousseau depicted in his argument, man and nature have an attachment that only ends at the end of the life of man, leaving nature intact. And these are the stages of life.


"Our Daily Bread " by Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Rousseau indicated in his view of life and inequality that one of the main proponents of inequality is civilization that came with industrialization among other mechanization and use of advanced tools well over and above those that were innately natural. This documentary gives a clearer depiction of how the introduction of mechanization into the food production shifts the relationship between man and nature from that of equal sharing of available food and food sources to vast ownership by few people of the means of production for capitalistic gains (YouTube, 2012).

The documentary concentrates on primary food production, both the vegetable and animal foods. The director uses a still camera and records what happens which he later relays to the viewer as it is without adding any captions or voiceovers. He lets the process roll on as the viewer exercises his discretion to comment within his mind on the integrity or otherwise of the means of production of the primary foods depicted in the one and half an hour documentary.

At the end of the documentary, it is apparent that the relationship of man to nature has vastly been reshaped by the introduction of mechanization of production. The manner in which man treats animals, land and even fellow human beings is in a manner geared towards maximization of production for the owner of the farm. This maximization of production on land, animals and fellow man for a single individual creates the moral or political inequality that was pointed out by Rousseau since a few people will be able to control great wealth hence have the influence over others. Everything within the farm as depicted in the documentary is done for commercial gain from nature, from the rearing of hens, breeding of cows, pigs to the vegetable production in the fields. This exerts pressure on nature to satisfy the greed of a few people hence bringing forth inequality.


Dickinson, E., & Vendler, H. (2010). Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries. Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Dickinson, E., & McNeil, H. (2002). Emily Dickinson. London: Phoenix Poetry.

Collins, B., Hobson, C., & Pacific Editions. (2002). Taking off Emily Dickinson's clothes. San Francisco: Pacific Editions

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, (1754). A dissertation on the Origin and Foundation of the Inequality of Mankind. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from Http://

Silver and Exact, (2013). Stages of Life: Casper David Friedrich. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from

Web Gallery of Art, (2013). Friedrich Casper David: Monk by the Sea. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from

YouTube, (2012). Our Daily Bread. Retrieved August 19, 2013 from… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Progress Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  (2013, February 20).  Retrieved July 15, 2019, from

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"Progress Jean-Jacques Rousseau."  20 February 2013.  Web.  15 July 2019. <>.

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"Progress Jean-Jacques Rousseau."  February 20, 2013.  Accessed July 15, 2019.