Pedra, Papel e Tesoura

13 de janeiro de 2023


Filed under: Livros — Tags:, , — Yure @ 19:49

In “Racial Innocence,” Robin Bernstein argues that the performance of childhood is central to “large-scale racial projects,” including slavery and abolition, as well as the early civil rights movement. Bernstein examines material, literary, and visual culture, including “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and the “Black and Whiteness of Raggedy Ann,” the Oz series by L. Frank Baum, […]

Where does the concept of childhood innocence come from? Part 1 — J S McNair

According to my readings, the concept of innocence comes from the Modern Age. Back then, we had these two fellas: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Locke. I have read Rousseau’s Émile (I do not recommend, by the way, because the fourth book never fails to piss me off), as well as Origin of Inequality Among Men and Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding. Let us begin with Émile.

So, according to Rousseau, you born as a good being. Every person is born with a limited set of needs and, because of that, you are less inclined to do evil. However, with life in society, a bunch of vices begin to insinuate themselves into human behavior. Let me use an analogy I often use in the classes I lecture:

Imagine a place where everyone lives from what the Earth gives. Food, shelter and things alike are provided by nature. You have to share those things with others as well. So… you are not very fond of that. Because, sometimes, you would like to have a little extra fruit or some privacy… You then have an idea: you can make some things your own! You tell others: “Hey, this cave is mostly used by me, so it makes sense that I have it’s exclusive ownership. Other caves can be used by you guys. How is that?” Your idea seems reasonable and people give you the private property of that cave.

Now, let us suppose that someone has acquired, by the same process, the private ownership of a mango tree. What would happen if someone needed the fruit of that tree, but could not convince the owner to give that fruit? Well, there will be robbery. With robbery, violence. With violence, the need of laws. With the need for laws, the need for a state. That means that the private property was the first step of man’s downfall into a spiral of vices that made state a need. So, for Rousseau, society was built on top of wrong premises. A society that is built like that can only corrupt it’s citizens, leading them astray from their original purity, their innocence.

Now, does that mean we must leave society and go back to living like “natural men” or something? Not needed: we just need an education system that preserves one’s purity intact in a corrupt society, so that we can have a new generation that is morally better than the old generation. Émile describes such a system. Though that system sucks if applied on large scale. At most, it works for educating a son.

Those considerations, coupled with Locke’s idea that the mind starts as a tabula rasa (blank slate), made society seriously consider what are we teaching to our children. For Judith Levine, that’s when we began to separate the worlds of adults and the worlds of children, pulling children apart from work, politics… and sex, much for the discomfort of minor-attracted people… Levine points out that those are worlds that tend to blend again, tho. So, there you go! The origin of innocence!

Nowadays, most people see childhood as a special learning time in life, when you are supposed to play and be shielded from the harsh cruelness of the real world. Observe that this makes innocence, as a modern concept, a type of ignorance. It is like, today, being innocent is being ignorant, more than being “pure”. I really dislike that… I am of the opinion that the earlier you attain adult capabilities, the better… Specially because society now has a nasty tendency to keep children as children, ignoring the fact that children will eventually become adults and will be unprepared for that, if they are robbed of possibilities of having experiences on their own.

Deixe um comentário »

Nenhum comentário ainda.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Deixe um comentário

Preencha os seus dados abaixo ou clique em um ícone para log in:

Logo do

Você está comentando utilizando sua conta Sair /  Alterar )

Foto do Facebook

Você está comentando utilizando sua conta Facebook. Sair /  Alterar )

Conectando a %s

Este site utiliza o Akismet para reduzir spam. Saiba como seus dados em comentários são processados.

%d blogueiros gostam disto: