A vision to human nature. Human nature is presented as being no different, fundamentally, from animal nature – self-serving and ultimately geared towards mere survival. Saramago was a proponent of Hobbes. Thomas Hobbes argued that man is born wicked and must be civilised. Left in a “state of nature”, Hobbes famously argued, our lives would be “nasty, brutish and short”. We would fight continually over power and resources. Deference to authority is therefore an act of self-preservation: we put our faith in strong leaders, and civic institutions such as the law, to save us from ourselves. Recent scientific findings suggests Hobbes was right.

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