The Evils of Mankind
Throughout human history, the issue of power has been the source of countless wars and violence, and so has it sparked inspiration in many philosophers to develop potentially better systems of government. The Age of Enlightenment saw many philosophers sprout with new ideas on forms of government to replace or refine the archaic norm of absolute monarchy; one such controversial thinker was Thomas Hobbes. In his widely-recognized book, The Leviathan, he claimed that, because human beings are naturally selfish and evil, one must cede his or her rights to the absolute monarch so that peace can be established and maintained. However, if all human beings are cruel, then monarchs are not any different from the evil of those he rules. In William Golding’s 1954 novel The Lord of the Flies, Golding reflects Hobbes’ ideas about human nature as he depicts the governing of a cluster of stranded boys on an island, from the lack of cohesion of Ralph’s attempt to rationally lead them back to civilization, to Jack’s manipulation of the children into savagery. William Golding thus qualifies Thomas Hobbes’ position, supporting that humans are naturally selfish and evil but refuting his claim that an absolute ruler would make “wise” decisions through his illustration of Jack’s greed for power, hostile acts to Ralph and Piggy, and manipulation of his followers.
Thomas Hobbes, an Enlightenment philosopher, claimed that mankind is naturally evil and selfish and will cause conflicts “if any two men desire the same thing, which they nevertheless cannot both enjoy” or have differing opinions, in order to gain more power so that they can freely pursue their selfish desires, especially “during the time men live without a common power” and “in that condition which is called war, every man against every man,” and are therefore incapable of self-governing. Hobbes’ position on human nature is easily observable; intolerance and bigotry causes violence and general public...
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