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Escaping From The Nature Of Humans As Depicted In Thomas Hobbes Book, The Leviathan

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Thomas Hobbes

In the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes is describing what makes up the core conditions of human nature and the constant state of war people face with each other from living in a state of nature. The state that humanity lives in now has come about after struggling in a crude and primitive state of nature, where every human being is in conflict with each other for their very own survival. Humankind without a centralized government or community is always in a state of war or conflict with each other. In this state, humans are always surrounded by death, lacking the necessities that are crucially needed to survive, which prohibits their ability to live in peace and advance into a community or society. The only way for humans to escape a state of nature is by creating a social contract with one another to establish a community that can be civil with each other.

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Hobbes also wrote about how all men are created equal by nature, and that every man can attain their needs either through physical conflict or “secret machination” with each other. One man can have more physical strength over another, but another may be stronger in mind with more intelligence; therefore every man is ultimately equal to each other. If a man is equal to another man from having equal talents and abilities, then man will never fully reach true equality with one another, leading to a constant state of war with one another. According to Hobbes “And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in a way to their end endeavour to destroy or subdue one another. And from hence it comes to pass that where an invader hath no more fear than another man’s single power, if one plant, sow, build, or possess a convenient seat, others may probably be expected to come prepared with forces untied to dispossess and deprive him, not only of the fruit of his labour, but also of his life or liberty. And the invader again is in the like danger of another.”

The nature of human beings is made up from three principal causes of conflict with one another which according to Hobbes is “First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly glory.” When humankind lives in a condition without a common goal or purpose, then they are living in a constant state of war that pits “every man against every man.” Whereby the war waged is not only actual physical confrontation with each other but also the will to live and survive throughout time indefinably. Since every man is an enemy to each other during a time of war, humanity is not able to flourish and progress. Hobbes painted a very bleak description of the effects from being in a constant state of war in the Leviathan when he said that “In such condition there is no place for industry, because fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor the use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no art; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

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