What would life be like in a «state of nature» without government? While we accept that human life has always been conditioned by political institutions that have clouded its true nature, what would happen if we were to imagine a world free of this power external to the human being to see its socio-political nature. This situation has been analyzed by three different perspectives given by Hobbes, Rousseau, and Locke.
Hobbes will speak of the fatal consequences of living without a state in his most important work; the Leviathan (1651). Very concerned about the English civil war, he believed that his country could fall into a state of nature, which would be the doom of humanity. For Hobbes, it is essential that there be a government to back us up and prevent us from falling into a war of all against all. Hobbes comes to this conclusion because, for him, human beings, in pursuit of their individual happiness, have a great thirst for power. This is not, but that happiness is assured in the powerful man. The State has the obligation to curb this selfishness. In the State of nature no one is safe, in the sense that anyone can kill anyone to get what he needs to increase his power. Man is a wolf to man.
Unlike Hobbes’ vision, Locke argues that it would be possible to live an acceptable life in a state of nature, since it expresses a state of perfect freedom, equality and where the law of nature rules. For Locke, the most universal law of nature is that no one by nature has the right to govern other people. Only God is superior to us, and He decides when and how we will die, we have no right to kill other people. Humanity must be preserved as much as possible. He also pointed out that morality must govern our free acts, since a state of total freedom and equality does not ensure that the men who live in it are necessarily good.
The Genevan philosopher Rousseau gives us a very different image of human nature from that given by Hobbes. While recognizing that man’s main interest still lies in preserving his self-preservation, he alludes to the innate repugnance that it gives a man to see a fellow man suffer. Compassion will also act as a powerful restraint on impulses that could lead to war and attack. In contrast to the enlightened spirit prevailing in his time, Rousseau disavows enlightened values, such as, for example, the progress that makes men turn away from their good nature by making them cruel.
Three perspectives of the many that exist when we analyze the concept of perdition in the human being.
I invite you to read Matías’ post with the topic of the day.
Finally, I encourage everyone to reflect on the concept of the day. No one else but us can re-signify our own being
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