Agreement In Society

From these human premises, Hobbes constructs a provocative and persuasive argument as to why we should be prepared to submit to political authority. He does this by imagining people who find themselves in a pre-creation situation of society, the state of nature. In addition to subjectivism, Hobbes also deduces from his mechanistic theory of human nature that man is necessarily and exclusively selfish. All human beings follow only what they perceive in their own individual well-being – they react mechanically by being attracted to what they want and rejected by what they refuse. It is a universal requirement: it must cover all human actions in all circumstances – in society or from it, in terms of strangers and friends, in terms of small goals and generalized human desires, such as the desire for power and status. Everything we do is motivated by the desire to improve our own situations and satisfy as many of our own individually thought-out desires. We are infinitely appetizing and we are really only concerned about our own self. According to Hobbes, even the reason why adults care for young children can be explained in relation to the self-interest of adults (he says that when we save a baby by caring for a baby, we have become a strong sense of commitment in the one who has been helped to survive instead of dying). The most fundamental alliance, the social pact, is the agreement to bring together and form a people, a community by definition larger and different from a simple aggregation of individual interests and wills. This act, in which individuals become people, is “the true foundation of society.” By collectively renouncing the individual rights and freedoms that one has in the state of nature and by transferring these rights to the collective body, one forms, as it were, a new “person”.

The sovereign is therefore formed when free and equal people come together and agree to recreate themselves as a single organ, which boils down to the common interest of all. Just as the individual will is directed towards individual interests, once formed, the general will is oriented towards the common good, understood and collectively agreed. In this version of the social contract there is the idea of replicated duties: the sovereign is attached to the well-being of the individuals who constitute him and each individual is also attached to the good of the whole. In this context, it is not possible to give the individual the freedom to decide whether it is in his own interest to discharge his duties to the sovereign while being allowed to reap the benefits of citizenship.