Rousseau opposed both traditional and modern (empiricist) thinking when he made self-love the cornerstone of his system. Other modes of thought treat self-consciousness as constituted primarily by temporal desire. Rousseau raises love, for him the suspension of desire, to a position of ontological primacy in regard to self-consciousness. Like Pascal, he throws the empirical existence of the self into radical question and finds it to be as insubstantial and empty a concept as the Western tradition has found it—from Ecclesiastes and Socrates on. Rousseau declines the moralistic reproof of the self, however, and emphasizes its insubstantiality as its one strength, although a fictional one. The self exists only in the mode of a hypothesis (the fictional “as if”); it is a failure at being. But to amour (and to pitié) it makes all the difference and is worthy of their support.