Reflection on Thomas Hobbes view of the Natural Condition of Mankind by Onwutalobi Anthony Claret

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I was caught in a sense of dread and wonder reflecting on the gruesome phenomena of this world; of the smog that mushroomed from the rubbles of the ill-fated World Trade Center; of the Bali bombing that flushed the joyous night of Kuta Indonesia; within it a gross number of 202 individuals succumb the inferno of human selfishness; of the 20, 946, 000 genocide victims of the Nazis under the vain-glorious leadership of Adolf Hitler; Sudan massacre in the Darfur region that claims lives of many children and women, the 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom directed at Igbo and other southern Nigerian that took over 1 million lives of innocent citizens and the recent Gaza-Israel crisis that claimed hundreds of innocent lives. With these, thousands and millions of dead bodies and wounded souls took over the tapered streets of world, vanquished in behalf of the deeds of their fellow men. These are the moments when the world blushed in terror. The moments when the world must be reminded of something; the moments when justice and injustice, right and wrong, mine and thine, good and evil, have there no place, and are mere absurd facets of humane enterprise. These are moments when Thomas Hobbes must have reminded us of his immortal statement, “…and which is the worst of all, continual fear of violent death; and the life of man; solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Thus – the Natural Condition of Mankind – the central concern of this speech.

Nestled in the heart of the natural condition is man’s inordinate desire to enjoy life by the instrumentality of earthly compensations. Thomas Hobbes termed these as powers, “…it is a perpetual and restless desire for powers after powers which ceases only in death.” It is from these that antipathy between men arises, if the desire for same thing, say, a political office, wealthy goods and intellectual recognition, is a vane project among them.

Contempt – our natural tendency to hurt each other – blatantly underscores natural condition. It merely says, “Trust in your friends, but don’t forget to lock your closet.” Thomas Hobbes goes (I Quote), “let him therefore consider with himself, and seeks to go well accompanied; when going to sleep, he locks his doors; when in his house he locks his chest; and this when he knows that there are laws and public officers, armed, to revenge all injuries that shall be done unto him. What opinion he has of his fellow subjects, when he rides armed; of his fellow citizens, when he locks his chests. Does he not there as much accuse mankind by his actions as I do by my words? (Unquote)”

On the other hand, we use competition, diffidence and glory, the tripartite elements of the same condition, to mount value on our existence. Because we affirm that our worth and dignity depends upon the measure cast on us by other individuals. It is vain-gloriousness that underlines man’s inordinate desire for power and honor. It is the vain-gloriousness of man that enables the Nazis to massacre hundred nearby innocent civilians for every German soldier killed and fifty for every one wounded.

The sublime marriage between the natural condition of mankind under the brainchild of Thomas Hobbes, and its practical manifestation in our contemporary society is the central nexus of my writing that gives it a sound foundation.
Is peace a hopeful ideal in this condition? It is by reason and firm conviction that I believe – it is.
While the soul is the cause of conflicts, it is also the hallway towards peace and unity. Fulton J. Sheen stressed that, “There can be no world peace unless there is soul peace. World wars are only projections of the conflicts wagged inside the souls of modern men, for nothing happens in the external world that has first happened within the soul.” This jives with the song, “Let their be peace on Earth…and let it begin with me.” “Nemo dat quod non habet” – you cannot give what you do not have.

Sovereign, social contract and civil society alone found no match against this conflict inhabiting man’s soul.

If only men would learn to turn back to their souls and learn to reconcile the “natural condition” within it. If only men would learn to tame the spells of their contingency and the push of their limitless desires. If only men would learn to open their hearts to the promising daylight, of peace, of selflessness, of reconciliation, of respect, of humility – and of LOVE – only a Divine Master could give. I plead to all of you to walk close to your soul…open and listen for peace and love abound

My thinking doesn’t guarantee a perfect and flawless array of thoughts. However, guests, visitors, fellow members, as long as my fair commitment and contingency is concerned, with the whole language of my being, I now humbly surrender myself for you.
Thank You


About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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