A Reinterpretation of Rousseau: A Religious System by Jeremiah Alberg (auth.)

By Jeremiah Alberg (auth.)

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Rousseau believes that he has perceived “an occasional air vent in one spot or another above these tunnels which may indicate their windings” (CW 1:173; Pl. 1:884). These “caverns of misfortune” into which Jean-Jacques has been thrown have existed for many years. The distinction between the ethereal realms and the underground seems complete, yet Jean-Jacques inhabits both. His state is to be “in the midst of his afflictions and his fictions” (CW 1:119; Pl. 1:815). Jean-Jacques’ underground existence is such 30 A Reinterpretation of Rousseau/Jeremiah Alberg that he lives “surrounded by lies and darkness, waiting without murmur for light and truth; buried alive in a coffin, [he] remain[s] rather still without even invoking death” (CW 1:129; Pl.

From the start, he admits that what drives the Gentlemen is rivalry. It is only when they see Jean-Jacques “rising to a reputation that they could not reach” that they become suspicious of his “apparent simplicity” and see instead a “veil hiding some dangerous project” (CW 1:33; Pl. 1:701). What they find is that “this great preacher of virtue was only a monster laden with hidden crimes, who for forty years masked the soul of a scoundrel beneath the exterior of a decent man” (CW 1:33; Pl. 1:701–2).

1:913). Their ways are “obscure” and impossible to follow. Rousseau believes that he has perceived “an occasional air vent in one spot or another above these tunnels which may indicate their windings” (CW 1:173; Pl. 1:884). These “caverns of misfortune” into which Jean-Jacques has been thrown have existed for many years. The distinction between the ethereal realms and the underground seems complete, yet Jean-Jacques inhabits both. His state is to be “in the midst of his afflictions and his fictions” (CW 1:119; Pl.

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