02 November 2014
Corruption, a Courtesy of the Arts and Sciences, and Its Result: Facebook
Jacques Rousseau: “No more sincere friendships; no more real esteem; no more well-founded trust. Suspicions, offenses, fears, coolness, reserve, hatred, betrayal, will constantly hide beneath this even and deceitful veil of politeness, beneath this so much vaunted urbanity which we owe to the enlightenment of our century”(Rousseau, 8). Using the term “enlightenment” ironically, Rousseau’s argument in his First Discourse is that the arts and sciences have corrupted virtue, transforming the world into one plagued by betrayal.
In the Rousseauian Era, literature, physics, mathematics, and ethics dominated the arts and sciences. In today’s society, technology dominates, and, for most people, the word technology prompts thoughts of smart phones, tablets and laptops—all of these acting as conduits through which people can reach social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). In an article for The Wire, “Is the Internet Really Making Us Rude?”, Rebecca Greenfield and Jen Doll examine how one social media outlet, Facebook, has negatively impacted human interaction.
The basis of this article is that, when hiding behind a computer screen, people do not feel the need to be polite as they would in face-to-face interactions. Greenfield and Doll state that, “In the non-digital world we have social codes that make us act less like the horrible humans we are at our cores. On the Internet we don't”(n.p.). If Rousseau were to read the article, I think he would say that if the arts and sciences hadn’t been advanced, politeness would be genuine and society wouldn’t govern our interactions: “…all