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Men by Nature are Equal - Essay Example

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Men by Nature are Equal

Hobbs vociferously argues that men are born absolutely equal in nature and the slight variations in mental or physical strength, are always equalized by some hidden might and this means that the weakest could destroy the undeniably strongest either by secret conspiracy or open challenge, alone or with the help of fellow sufferers. The originality of Hobbs' theory starts from this point. He does not deny the man his rights of eliminating his foe directly or indirectly. Instead, he almost imposes man with a natural urge and duty of doing so. He sees the man as an equalizer and he leaves it to the man to choose his weapon1. He allows man to justify his theory of natural equality. Hobbs finds mental faculties ('native faculty') that man is born with as of greater significance, compared to the additional accomplishments (science, for example, that fails to impress Hobbs!) he has attained. He argues that mental capability is of greater equality than physical strength. Faculties of mind could undermine physical strength every time. He is unimpressed by prudence, which he calls another form of experience that one could attain with time and feels that time could not be partial, and all men have to get prudence in equal share2.
Basic nature of man never abandons him and even after many accomplishments, it surfaces at unguarded moments and this proves that men are more equal than unequal. Eloquence, wit, scholarly achievements and ego3 usually bring conceit and these qualities are distributed in equal share among men. This equality of ability, according to him, brings hope of attaining our ends. If more than one man desire the same thing, it has to result in a dispute and fight, because both cannot own the same thing and both are in danger of getting vanquished by the other as now they are sworn enemies4. After destroying the other, survivor would defend himself for the rest of his life against another invader5 and afterwards against many more invaders and in the process, either he would perish, or destroy all of them. It is like the 'survival of the fittest' in a jungle law.


There are men who pursue a conquest beyond the necessity of their own security. Such a person has to chase this security point till he feels that all men who might endanger his authority are destroyed and hence, he is the most powerful6. From this point onwards, he would not create war like situation, as he is now the protector7, and not a defender or attacker. Hobbs argues that political and social stability establishes itself awed by this ultimate authority.


EMOTIONAL SIDE OF IT:


But man's struggle for power does not end here. Now he needs the reputation he had been craving for. Fear of death is a thing of past now, and mental peace prevails. Man feels unhappy at every sign of devaluation, insult and contempt by his fellow men from whom he expects high regard at which he holds himself and gets disappointed when it does not come to him automatically and this makes him unhappy in others' company more than in his own. He is well satisfied and smug in his own company8. He looks for signs of adulation around him. Quarrel among men does not end with a certain political stability. There are three main principal causes of quarrel among men: competition, diffidence and glory. For competition, man invades another to acquire his possessions, wife and children, (Hobbs seems to be comfortable with this9); for the second, for his ...Show more

Summary

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), English Philosopher, who offered stunningly original political theories, argues that the natural equality and the war of all against all lead human beings into political society because of negative human appetite, aversion towards blood and gore and need of security and stability…
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