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Exposing A Phony Natural State

October 26, 2010
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Recently, we have have continually discussed the theory that mans natural inclinations are much different when he is removed from society and that when removed, we become completely different beings. Hobbes argues that in this state we would all basically try to kill each other, while Locke provides a much more optimistic assessment and ultimately concludes that while we would all live relatively hospitable in this state, it would eventually behoove us to come together collectively. Yet both conclude that we would have to formally decide to come together. My aim is not to discuss how exactly we would act in this natural state, but to derive if such a state is even attainable. Is it possible for humans to exist completely independent of each other, or is it inherent in our condition to always, in some way, collectively form a society?

In order to deduce if it is possible for humans to live completely devoid of any human interaction when such interaction is easily attainable, it must be found if said interactions are simply inevitable. For if it is indeed apart of our nature to always instinctually conceive some form of a society, then it would seem that any sort of natural, uninhibited state is all but impossible.

History would indicate that this is the case. In high school many of us learned about the five early civilizations, the oldest of which dates well beyond 5000 BC, so it is evident that man has actively engaged in civilized action for some time (by civilized action I mean anything opposed to a completely natural state: i.e. trade, domesticated animals, any form of ritual, not killing the first human you see, etc…) Furthermore, it can be assumed that the humans who lived even earlier must have existed out of this natural state based on the very fact that they survived. Humans then had to worry about enough-other animals killing them, acquiring enough food for the day, finding a suitable habitat-without the constant threat of being killed by their own kind. If indeed humans existed in a natural state of kill or be killed as Hobbes hypothesizes, would they not have been completely wiped out?

Evidence of our natural inclination to band together can be found and in the work of modern day society as well. In the movie series Terminator, humanity bands together following a world wide Armageddon to battle the evil Skynet robotics corporation. In The Matrix (which has been brought up probably more times than anyone expected this blogging term), those living in the real world unite together to fight the machines and free humanity. Even in Star Wars, where the technology exists for one to travel through space, from planet to planet, practically completely uninhibited, people still band together to fight their respective opposing force. In fact, I am willing to bet that never has there been an Armageddon movie, or any movie for that matter, in which individuals existed completely separate from one another.

Ultimately, it becomes evident that as long as humans are faced with an oppressive force, we will always band together and unite in some collective way. Considering that we have and will always face some sort of challenge-hunger, acquiring money, defeating the Dark Side-it is impossible for us to ever revert to a Hobbesian natural state.

One Comment
  1. nickcolaccino permalink
    October 27, 2010 11:14 AM

    Interesting point. I agree that people will always band together when facing some greater oppressor. I think that if you were trying to prove what humans would act like in the state of nature, a good indicator would also be animals. The world of wild animals is very similar to a state of nature, they are constantly in fear of life and property such as food. By looking at what most people would agree to be the more intelligent animals, it becomes apparent that coming together is the natural choice. For example, wolves, dolphins, buffalo, and monkeys to name a few all come together whether it is to get food or to stay safe. Either way, All these animals seem to have an agreement among each other to live in peace and to help others. In a way, it can be argued that they have a social contract for collective labor and property.

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