Humans and society are able to reveal each other their most private thoughts. In other words, man can speak for society and society for man. That way man knows about his relationship to society.
But these facts are not explained by an earlier social contract. 1. It’s the current agreements we project into some contract to account for those agreements. 2. However, we aren’t carrying out our common will, but we exert our will for group interests. 3. Thus we obey the logics of conspiracy, although we believe it applies to others. So it’s an illusion that others mean to us as equals as well as that we mean something for each other, e.g. as free citizens.
So when we know our position, then we do know what should happen. This is what Cavell thinks Rousseau may have found out. Not some new knowledge, but a new manner to use the self as an access to society. In the same breath a new form of ignorance is discovered—the “unconscious”, an effect of repression.
Talking like Rousseau is for Cavell some kind of lunacy, which notwithstanding doesn’t talk at large. So how should we judge this lunacy? As psychic problems? Or is it some kind of mourning about a society behaving like this: consciously repressing the knowledge about its own conspiracies?
Now, of what use is a fable? A fable that set words aside and altogether surrenders itself to pictures. And pictures that shine in bright, full and fruity colours. Maybe it’s our turn to close our eyes and watch the cultivated tiger promenading,
the young girl dressing in white garments
and the aged man lying off-colour in bed.
(Best view when right click on Ah! and “save target as”. Then watch in full screen.)