Primitivism -- the philosophical doctrine that supposedly primitive peoples, because they had remained closer to nature and had been less subject to the influences of society, were nobler than civilized peoples.
The idea flourished in the eighteenth century and was an important element in the Romantic movement. A few steps in the development of the primitivistic doctrine may be suggested.The rationalist philosopher, the third Earl of Shaftsbury (c. 1710), in his effort to show that God had revealed himself completely in nature -- and that nature was therefore perfect -- reasoned that primitive peoples were close to God and therefore essentially moral.Human beings are by nature prone to do good: Their evil comes from self-imposed limitations of their freedom. Accounts of savage peoples by writers of travel books added impetus to the movement, as did the fanciful researches into an origin of language by such men as Lord Monboddo (The Origin and Progress of Language, 1773-1792). The movement was advanced by the writings of
Rousseau, particularly his belief that human beings were potentially perfect and that their faults were due to the vicious effect of conventional society.
One aspect of primitivism significant in English literature was its doctrine that the best poetry should be natural or instinctive, which resulted in a search for a perfect “untutored” poet. Among the many savages brought by the primitivists to England in their search for the perfect natural human being, the enthusiasts searched for evidence of poetic genius.The “inspired peasant” was sought for, too, among the unlettered, and many were feted by high society till their fame wore out:Henry Jones, the poetical bricklayer, Stephan Duck, the “thresher-poet”; James Woodhouse, the poetical shoemaker, and Ann Yearsley, the poetical milk-woman, who signed her poems “Lactilla” and was sponsored by the Bluestockings. Gray’s The Bard (1757) and James Beatie’s The Minstrel (1771-1774) reflect such a doctrine of primitive genius.For a time the forged “Ossian” poems of James Macpherson seemed to answer to the romantic prayer for the discovery in Britain of a primitive epic poem.When Robert Burns appeared, the search for the peasant poet seemed to be over, and the Scottish bard was received with enthusiasm.
I am curious to know if this romantic primitivism is the political trademark of a Taurus moon or other strong Taurus influence? Why do I ask? Because I tend to romanticize (the past) in such ways, and agree to the overall idea as conveyed here. However, I may not agree with every example of this idea, such as the, "noble savage" (or, the American Indian specifically, as being such). Regardless, it is still attractive. And I'm also curious to know if Rouseau, Voltaire, and other French philosophers who gave birth to this idea had either had Taurus moons or other strong Taurus placements?