Chilean Miners: Solnit v. Hobbes
“And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their end […] endeavor to destroy, or subdue one another”(Leviathan 158). As I watched the footage provided by CNN of the rescue of the Chilean miners, I wondered how they managed to survive such conditions of a true state of nature. There was no central government and no rules. I personally believe such a miraculous survival and rescue was possible because of God but besides the spiritual aspect of the situation there is still the question of WHY? Why did those men cooperate? Why did they abide by only eating a half a spoon of tuna a day? Why didn’t they revolt against each other?
According to Hobbes, those men should have fought each other over the resources because they were in a state of nature where there is, “…no account of time; no arts; 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 “(Leviathan 159). For the first 15days of the 3months those men were trapped in a mine and had no idea whether they would ever be found.
And yet, unlike the Hobbesian state of nature they cooperated.
It was reported that one of the miners told the rest of the miners that they may live or they may die, but most likely they will die. Somehow those words of mortality brought those men closer together. According to Solnit,”Such disruption can provide a satisfaction so profound it transcends even the fear and sadness of disaster’s devastation. For disasters experienced as trauma make people feel helpless, but this awakened civil society instead often makes them feel powerful and free”(Uses of Disaster 2).
This ‘awakened civil society’ which Solnit refers to was also formed outside of the mines. The families of those miners never left their trapped loved ones. Staying in makeshift homes from August to October. Thus, in the case of the first 15 days of the Chilean miners’ state of nature the question Why? can be answered by Solnit
….We see a latent civil society-a community-arising from the ruins of some disaster and becoming the grounds for connection and joy. (Uses of Disaster 3)