By Samantha Apanasewicz
Our current culture is living in the aftermath of the sexual revolution of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Contrary to popular belief, however, this free love movement originated long before the 20th century.
The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau invented the basis for this ideology in 1755 in his essay “Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men.”
In it, Rousseau argues that humanity’s original state of nature and the way to human happiness are purely animalistic; there is no civilization, no property, no love, no family and no moral code of which to speak.
Any moral code, said Rousseau, limits what he defines as “human freedom” and therefore leads to unhappiness.
In his “Discourse,” one of Rousseau’s primary focuses is the unit of society. He defines this as the individual, not the family unit.
In doing so, the philosopher reduces human sexuality to purely instinctual intercourse. Because one desires it, one should receive or take it and part ways with the other, with no care for the other because we all are only individuals after all.
To sum up, Rousseau insists that for individuals to be happy, one should be able to have sex with anyone and everyone with no consequences, no expectations and no obligations, all on the basis that there exists no morality by which we ought to abide.
Sounds like a prophetic vision instead of a fabricated fiction if you ask me.
Fast forward to modern times and we have taken Rousseau at his word. The new way that people get together and “hookup” reflects this sentiment.
Look at the invention of dating apps. For all intents and purposes, dating apps were created to further the sexual revolution by giving people “sex on demand.”
Sex does not have to arrive with emotional baggage anymore – how liberating!
Assuming that Rousseau was correct in his ideas, one can only assume that the current population must be ecstatic over dating apps and the experiences they provide.
However, according to a CNBC article published earlier this year, 90 percent of women and 87 percent of men claim that they are “disappointed with what they have seen on dating apps.”
So, the very apps that were designed to make us “happier individuals” by providing us with unlimited sex do not make us very happy.
How could this be? If humans were meant to live an animalistic life and have sex without consequences as Rousseau proposed, dating apps would seem to be the perfect solution.
Yet the feedback from dating app users suggests that sex without any relational attachment is not only unpopular but also unwanted.
So, if meaningless sex does not make us happy, one can only conclude the opposite: humans crave relationship. We are drawn to live in community with one another; we want to be desired by others.
And most of all, we yearn for love. True love – to will the good of the other – is the cornerstone of the human condition. Without it, human life loses purpose.