rousseau in Dockray & Liang 2015

rent Stirton/Getty Images.

_Foederis aequas Dicamus leges _

(Let us make fair terms for the compact.)

—Virgil’s  _Aeneid_ , XI

Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.1All excerpts from _The
Social Contract_ are from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, _The Social Contract: And,
The First and Second Discourses_, ed. Susan Dunn and Gita May (New Haven, CT:
Yale University Press, 2002).

> _June 30, 2015_


> _Dear Sean,_


> _I have been asked by Raqs Media Collective to contribute to a special
ongoing issue of _e-flux journal _that is part of the Venice Biennale. Raqs’s
section in the issue rethinks Rousseau’s social contract and the possibility
of its being rewritten, as a way of imagining social bonds and solidarities
that can help instigate and affirm a vision of the world as a space of


> _I was wondering if you would join me in a co

drive that costs less than seventy-five dollars), it is also about how we
think of transformations in social relations mediated by sharing books._


> _If the striking image of books in preprint revolution was of being “in
chains,” as Rousseau puts it, I am prompted to wonder about the contemporary
conflict between the digital and mechanisms of control. Are books born free
but are everywhere in chains, or is it the case that they have been set free?
In which case are they writing new socia

y, in the form of a card or something, but we don’t ask
enough what we want, maybe. Also what about a social contract of books? Does a
book consent to being in a library? What rights does it have or expect?_


> _I really loved the math equation Rousseau used to arrive at the general
will: if you subtract the pluses and minuses of particular wills that cancel
each other out, then the general will is the sum of the differences! But why
does the general need to be the lowest common denominator—certai

to write out a short statement of their reason for joining
Aaaaarg and have around fifty thousand of these expressions of intention. I
think it’s more interesting to think of the social contract, or at least a
"general will," in terms of those. If Rousseau distinguished between the will
of all and the general will, in a way that could be illustrated by the catalog
of reasons for joining Aaaaarg. Whereas the will of all might be a sum of all
the reasons, the general will would be the sum of what remains


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