Thomas Hobbes is an astonishing Enlightenment thinker who wrote the novel Leviathan. Although he lived 400 years ago his original political and philosophical views are still relevant to contemporary politics. Leviathan has many themes and ideas that are studied until today; it is important to recognize the influence he had on politics and the relationship between governments and its People.
In his book, Leviathan, Hobbes addressed the issue of living in a peaceful society and avoid the danger of civil conflict. To begin with, it’s important to say that Hobbes was the man who came up with the theory that mankind is evil and egoistic by “nature”. Because of that, he thought the most suitable way to achieve a peaceful society is by having a relationship between the ruler and the ruled where the ruled obeys the ruler and recognizes him as one with higher power. As a result of Hobbes’ belief that mankind will naturally act upon their universal insecurities and live for the sake of survival, he concluded that a government must be elected with the power to control every single social, economic, and political issue. Unlike many Enlightenment thinkers he did not believe in majority rule. Hobbes believes that the human body is like a machine that is controlled through mechanical movements and thoughts as opposed to emotion. Although theories of mechanistic science have not been proven until Hobbes does a great job on bringing the issue to light.
Moreover, Hobbes believes that in order for society to live in peace away from social disorder everyone must first have moments of self-examination. When we look into the mirror we do not see mechanical pushes and pulls but what most people fail to do is evaluate themselves and who they are, which Hobbes discourages as he believes one must ensure a beneficial contribution to society.
To conclude, Hobbes’ views are very polemical but undoubtedly are very significant and unique midst an Enlightenment era filled with democracy-driven thought. Some of his theories have not been proven but are still studied nevertheless. His ideas that mankind is naturally evil and bad intentioned are accepted by many authors and have been presented in many books such as Lord of the Flies. Leviathan offers an interesting perspective on the way humans interact with one another.
By: Yazeed Abul-Ata