Black Friday
Invigorated by discounts, people selfishly fight to be the first to buy widescreen televisions on Black Friday. Consumerism has consumed us. (Source)

Welcome to a very brief discussion of Thomas Hobbes’ ‘State of Nature’.

'Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man.' — Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Are we fundamentally selfish beings? Hobbes certainly thought so. He believed that we can’t be trusted without political authority, like a monarch, to intervene and prevent civil war between us. We simply contain this drive. So a ‘state of nature’ is inevitable.

Restrict society’s resources, lift its controls, and watch our selfish instincts kick in.

One take is that, beneath every motivation, we are just self-serving organisms, indifferent to anything that doesn’t concern us individually. Sure, we can be kind, charming, intelligent, witty, and compassionate; but these traits are only virtuous when analysed on the level of society’s veneer. Beneath it, selfish instinct drives us to be cooperative for our own good.

Without an overarching power to control us, freedom and harmony are too often mutually exclusive.