Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.
--Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher and author (1712-1778)
(81:5.3-5) But cultural society is no great and beneficent club of inherited privilege into which all men are born with free membership and entire equality. Rather is it an exalted and ever-advancing guild of earth workers, admitting to its ranks only the nobility of those toilers who strive to make the world a better place in which their children and their children's children may live and advance in subsequent ages. And this guild of civilization exacts costly admission fees, imposes strict and rigorous disciplines, visits heavy penalties on all dissenters and nonconformists, while it confers few personal licenses or privileges except those of enhanced security against common dangers and racial perils.
Social association is a form of survival insurance which human beings have learned is profitable; therefore are most individuals willing to pay those premiums of self-sacrifice and personal-liberty curtailment which society exacts from its members in return for this enhanced group protection. In short, the present-day social mechanism is a trial-and-error insurance plan designed to afford some degree of assurance and protection against a return to the terrible and antisocial conditions which characterized the early experiences of the human race.
Society thus becomes a co-operative scheme for securing civil freedom through institutions, economic freedom through capital and invention, social liberty through culture, and freedom from violence through police regulation.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic and educational thought.
His Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. Rousseau's sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise (1761) was important to the development of preromanticism and romanticism in fiction. His Emile, or On Education (1762) is an educational treatise on the place of the individual in society. Rousseau's autobiographical writings—the posthumously published Confessions (composed in 1769), which initiated the modern autobiography, and the unfinished Reveries of the Solitary Walker (composed 1776–1778)—exemplified the late-18th-century "Age of Sensibility", and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing.
Rousseau befriended fellow philosophy writer Denis Diderot in 1742, and would later write about Diderot's romantic troubles in his Confessions. During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophers among members of the Jacobin Club. He was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death.