A few words on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Constitution Project for Corsica – amongst others, drafted by Pascal Paoli


Pascal Paoli Jean Jacques RousseauI think it is correct to render homage to these men, who fought with their ideas and often their weapons, in order to search and build the foundations for future generations, with what they firmly believed, and willingly conveyed for the better of the island.

On the history of philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau certainly remains a major personality relating to his strong influence on philosophers to come, deriving from his significant additions to both moral psychology and political philosophy. His inspiration cannot be denied behind the Constitution Project for Corsica, which was drafted by Pascal Paoli, amongst others – an independent republic through modern   age, in 1765.

I would like to illustrate this desire with an extract from this project, whose weight will certainly abide through history …
“THE advantageous location of the island of Corsica, and the fortunate natural qualities of its inhabitants, seem to offer them a reasonable hope of being able to become a flourishing people and to make their mark in Europe if, in the constitution they are thinking of adopting, they turn their sights in that direction. But the extreme exhaustion into which they have been plunged by forty years of uninterrupted warfare, the existing poverty of the island, and the state of depopulation and devastation in which it finds itself, will not allow them immediately to provide for an expensive form of administration, such as would be needed if they were to organise with such an end in view.

It is not so much a question of becoming different as of knowing how to stay as you are. The Corsicans have improved greatly since becoming free; they have added prudence to courage, they have learnt to obey their equals, they have acquired virtue and morality, and all this without the use of laws; if they could continue thus, I would see little need to do more. To stimulate the activity of a nation, therefore, you must offer it great hopes, great desires, great motives for positive action. Two contrary conditions plunge men into the torpor of idleness: the first is that peace of soul which makes men content with what they possess; the second is an unlimited covetousness which makes them see the impossibility of satisfying their desires. He who lives without desire, and he who knows he cannot obtain what he desires, remain equally in a state of inaction … to act you must both aspire to something and be able to have hopes of achieving it.”  Jean-Jacques Rousseau

2 comments to A few words on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Constitution Project for Corsica – amongst others, drafted by Pascal Paoli

  • Wendalynn Jones  says:

    Both poignant and inspiring, Pamela. That last sentence, by Rousseau … so very, very true !!

    • Pamela  says:

      tks Wen! isn’t it, yes, so absolutely true .. I find these words so inspiring, profound and authentic, they certainly accomplished their effect I believe – and all of this through their sincere actions too.

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