Survivors: A British TV Show, A Verisimilitude to Life.
Survivors is a British TV show that depicts the aftermath of a flu virus. This wasn’t a man-made virus, not some terrorist plot, but rather a normal outcome of the natural world, similar to the Spanish Flu Epidemic. Anyway, this show is great because it depicts both sides of human nature, the good and the bad. What Hobbes and Solnit forget is that human nature is not just simply black and white. Humans can be good and bad. We can help in times of disasters like Solnit explains, and yet as she forgets to mention, we loot and attack others for food if we are desperate enough. Solnit’s beautiful outlook derives from a quick glance into a disaster. She only describes the situation a few days after it happens. Even with her September 11 example, people return back to normal after a few months. The nice-ities condense into the air and are gone. Also, what she forgets is that even with these disasters, there is an established government. The earthquakes or tsunamis do not destroy the intact government. Thus, though people help each other, there’s no permanent breakdown of government like there is in the TV show Survivors. Survivors is a real examination of life without government post viral outbreak. Solnit’s depiction is rather pleasant, perhaps too pretty, with neighbors hand-in-hand, but that’s only because food and shelter haven’t run out. The same neighbors she says helped each other out during the blizzard would easily kill each other a month later when food supplies ran short and they were still in the same condition, minus a government.
Hobbes however, falls into the same trap she does. He believes that we are all selfish creatures that need to be forcibly tied down by a strong figurehead. What he forgets is that humans are naturally sociable. We are creatures that from the beginning, before government, truly a “state of nature” were in groups hunting and foraging. Before the evolution of tribes and clans, we were still hairy primates and yet we were able to work quite well together, evolving to what we have become today. He like Solnit, look at human qualities as good or bad. Yet, like the TV Show Survivors, people do steal, true but they also help one another, giving food to children and shelter to those who desperately need it. Hobbes’ idea was also input into the show, where a strong leader, a former vice president of affairs started her own quasi-community. However, as the show and history demonstrates, her want for democracy is not as strong as her want for power and thus her community fails ideologically. Thus Hobbes’ notion that we must have a strong “monarchial” leader is invalid, especially if he demonstrates that human nature is inherently bad.
But if human nature is both good and bad, how do we only get people to show their good side? The fact of the matter is we can’t control how other people act outside the state of nature, as much as we can in a manmade state with government, etc. Even with government, people commit crimes and atrocities as well as doing acts of kindness just like in a anarchic state. The trick is trying to understand human nature better and promote communalism more and darwinism less than we do presently. Our society has become a continuous climbing of the social ladder, competing with our own species for “power” which in this case is wealth. If we constantly promote the need to beat everyone else instead of working together to get to our paradigm, then how can we expect ourselves to help each other when there is no government to help us?