Posted: September 12th, 2022
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IMAGINE YOU ARE JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU AND ARE READING THESE LETTERS SENT TO THE REPUBLIC OF LETTERS. RESPOND TO BOTH OF THE BELOW LETTERS (MINIMUM 200 WORDS EACH RESPONSE)
How would you, Rousseau, respond to some of the statements made in the initial letters of your colleagues ? Would he agree? Disagree? Why?
Since members of the Republic placed such a heavy emphasis on rationality, be sure to give detailed reasons and examples to support your arguments. If you are unsure about how your character would respond to an issue, make an educated guess given the information that you have available to you.
Letter #1- From Benjamin Franklin
Thank you for your previous correspondence and for our patience as you await my reply. I wish at this time to elaborate on a few of the thirteen virtues aforementioned. There seems to be much concern as to the practical implementation of these ideals in everyday living. In seeking to attain or give great effort in coming near to moral perfection, one of the important and more elusive virtue would be that of humility. Attaining humility is a task not unlike chasing the wind for it seems that if you ever acknowledged having caught it, it would at that moment have surely slipped from you grasp. Nevertheless, I seek to imitate the humility of Jesus. Who, rather you regard him as deity or not most definitely displayed putting others before himself, listening and never thinking of himself too highly. This humility can be seen displayed throughout the pages of scriipture. Therefore, I seek to listen intently, not always needing to be proven right.
Additionally, a virtue that has caused me some difficulty as I seek to master it is industry. As we know time is a precious gift therefore, I seek not to waste an hour or even a minute of it. It is for this reason, I have ordered my day in such a way as to wisely spend each hour. My day starts with an acknowledgement of the supreme being who without his providential decree, nothing is done. I then review my plans for the day and work for no less than 8 hours. I think it is wise to be in a routine that leaves little time for idleness which almost always leads to trouble. This order allows for me to be industrious.
Finally, a third virtue that has garnered much attention is that of tranquility. Tranquility is the idea that we should not get our feathers ruffled by that which comes our way, rather out of our control or within, even, whether inflicted with malice or by chance. We can live at peace knowing as I mentioned in the lines above, the supreme being has ordered all things and if you pair that knowledge with moral and virtuous living and one can live peaceably with all men and do well unto all he encounters.
I do hope this letter finds you all in prospering health and that I will hear from you in good time,
Your old friend in all humility and good will,
Letter #2 – From John Locke
To The Republic of Letters,
I would like to discuss the issue of religion. God has not given any authority to one man over another, as to compel anyone to his religion. We cannot, with confidence, evaluate the claims of clashing religious views. There cannot be an enforcement of religion because true religion consists of inward and full persuasion of the mind, and that cannot be done by violence. The people should be able to have religious freedom and there should be separation between the church and state. Besides religious freedom, people should have freedom in general. The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man. I am against the idea that men, or people, should be reserved to others. Our natural state is to be free and not bound to those who have money and power. And the last issue I want to cover is the government. I believe that everyone has the right to preservation of their lives, liberties and property. We need to be able to solve conflicts in a way that is civil that can include intervention from the government.
Write one final letter that now you can break character and finally be yourself. Imagine that you were able to transcend space and time and become a member of “The Republic of Letters” knowing what you know now.
What would you want to tell your Rousseau, as well as the Franklin and Locke? Were their ideas ever implemented? Were they successful? What ideas did you find most interesting or insightful?
Address this letter to members of “The Republic of Letters” from yourself. Your writing style may be very different than it was in the first two letters. (200 WORDS MINIMUM)
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