The State Of Nature

1513 Words Mar 28th, 2016 7 Pages
In his book Leviathan, Hobbes introduces readers to his version of the “state of nature.” He describes it as a condition of perpetual war where there is no unjust, nor just, and no mine nor thine. Conversely, men can have control over their bodies, possessions, and even the bodies of others, but only as long as “[they] can keep it” (85). There is no industry, art, knowledge of the earth, or government—there is nothing that is conducive to a functioning society. This poor and brutish life men face stems from quarreling created by three principles: competition, diffidence, and glory. Men compete against each other for wealth, stature, and honor. Competition leads to diffidence, the inability to trust one another. This distrust forces men to increase their security in anticipation of an attack. Ironically, when someone does this, their neighbor or enemy will do the same in response for their own security. This cycle continues until total war breaks out. Men, at this point, are left to the hands of war, finding an enemy in everyone around him. In the face of this, Hobbes offers us a solution to escaping the state of nature: a commonwealth. In order for men to live harmoniously among each other a commonwealth must be created so that they can stay in “awe”, and not regress back to their primal nature of fighting. Commonwealth can be created either through acquisition, gaining control over a group of people by force, or institution, people covenanting to put a sovereign in place…
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