Humans are by nature inquisitive creatures. Gifted with the ability to think, they grow up and exist in different societies and the cultures of the societies they are brought up to determine their beliefs and view of the world. With the dynamic nature of the world we live in, it is no doubt that every man and woman of the world at one time or another is obliged in nature to question the purpose for their existence here on earth. Similarly, every individual may hold their own view of what they are here to achieve. These are questions that have existed from time immemorial since the beginning of time and are so hard that to find a definite answer. The same questions, however, are the pillars that guide our everyday existence as a society and coexistence as a society. There are several explanations and views from various different respected scholars throughout history. Some of those include people like Darwin to Aristotle and Marx. The political community, as well as the individual social community and the purpose of life, are both directly and indirectly intertwined. In the text, looked at some of the works of respected philosophers including Luther, Aquinas and Hobbes' Leviathan to expedite on the topic of the purpose of political community and how it relates to the nature of man according to their views.
According to Luther in 'Preface to Romans', the greatest attribute of human existence is vested in faith. It is this faith which lends credibility to law. At the same time, however, it repudiates the various activities and dealings of law, denying them legibility. The two, he figures, work against each other as it is the laws made by man which destroy faith. Even then, the spiritual law which bases its strength on the Christian teachings on conduct and behavior of the peoples is fulfilled by faith. The purpose of the political community thus is to guide on the acceptable behaviors and dealings in the society. It serves to bring peaceful existence within the community through law and prevent the wicked from exploiting and subjecting the good citizens to evil without fearing the repercussions of their actions. Faith thus guides the community on formulating and obeying the laws of good living, where morality is the central theme of existence and purposeful living. The purpose of life in his view this is to do good for others and ensure that the entire human race continues to progress on, getting better with the next generation after the other all the time caring for one another.
In "Concerning Governmental Authority," Luther expounds on the connection of the church and politics of the medieval times. While religion served to guide the people on righteous ways of living, politics prevented evil in the society. The two were necessary as in his view, people would be evil if they only depended on religion while on the other hand depending on politics alone would result in a population without the slightest knowledge in righteous living. Governing authority was believed to originate from God, who the religion served. As such, Christians were expected to offer their services to both God and the government. The two were therefore seen to be one and the same, and the church thus wielded the authority to govern the people of the world and guide them according to the ways of the Christian faith. The church, however, is not supposed to drive politics in any way not approved in God's teachings. The downside to this concept in relation to the modern world is that the interpretations of the Bible teachings may vary from one individual or denomination to the other, and thus divisions will occur in the implementation of and creations of rules for moral living and thus the politics for every believer will differ. As such, the church is bound to be in conflict with other political players, confusing the masses as to which path they are supposed to follow and eventually faith in the created system will be lost entirely at some point.
In "Friendly Admonition to Peace," Luther appeals for peace, requesting the addressing of peasants' concerns in order to avoid war and mass killing. He decries the wayward ways of the priests and monks who had rejected the true teachings of the scriptures and adopted other translations that resulted in poor rule. At the same time, the masses had among themselves resorted to pretense in following the rule of the church with pretenders striving to accumulate personal gains by manipulating the true believers of the church. As a result, chaos was bound to arise due to the difference in ideologies and clashing interests. Luther appeals to the rulers to exercise kindness in the ruling of the masses and addressing their needs without harshness. His argument is that people should be allowed to teach and believe whatever they believe, while at the same time representing the best interests of the masses as opposed to selfish interests by the rulers. The masses on their part have a responsibility of being careful in the things they do and observing morality to ensure that everyone lives in harmony. They are expected to be tolerant of one another, avoid immorality and exercise good judgment in what they believe as that is what will guide them to prosperity and avoid unnecessary rebellion that amounts to the loss of life. Only if each party, the rulers and their subjects, observe and play their roles in a just and moral manner thus will peace prevail in society.
Aquinas, On Kingship
According to Aquinas, men are driven by their needs and ends and as a result chose the easiest way to achieve those ends. Their need for rules and rulers arise from this diversity of the need to be guided to achieve these ends and their nature as social and political beings. The rulers are thus the guides of mankind in their quest to achieve their ends, overseeing the social classes to ensure that people discern and observe the right ways of attaining the appropriate ends. However, these appropriate ways differ from one society to the other depending on the social, cultural and political setting of the involved groups. Men must live together and thus find ways of co-existing with each other and ruling themselves to provide better the necessities of life. This means that they have to find a way to instill the right government that serves them best. Governments, however, differ, from one ruler type governments to multiple rulers governments.
The governments according to Aquinas have a responsibility to swerve its people in a just manner knowing that they were trusted to that position not to represent their own selfish interests but those of the entire society. A just government will result in a progressive society that lives in harmony with each other while one filled with unscrupulous leaders and cohort is bound to lead to clashes in the respective interests and therefore more likely to end in disagreements. These disagreements lead to disunity, which would stagnate the progress of the society and one way or another, calamity becomes inevitable. A government that governs its people in a manner that promotes peace eases the burden of social life. The ruler's top priority this should be the maintaining of peace in that society. In aiming to attain their ends, a man should thus strive to use the most appropriate means, given the responsibility everyone in the society holds in preserving peace, always keeping in mind the consequences of subversive and unjust ways of living.
The discourses of Leviathan speak about the nature of mankind and the sovereignty of the human kind in thoughts and governance. First Hobbes expounds the human thought process, which are guided by sense, reasoning, and imaginations, and which are expressed through speech. Thoughts, he reasons, represent external objects such as nose, ears and such and appear similarly when awake and while asleep. Thoughts may also appear as dreams due to memories stored from experience. A man by nature processes these thoughts by coordinating actions with their external senses as they would not have without the sense. The manner in which a person will perceive a certain phenomenon will thus be vested in their train of thought and how they see, feel, hear and how they understand it. Their past experience will also guide them in their perception and thought on a particular subject of interest, what to expect and therefore the way they may react about it. As such, the manner in which one expresses themselves is crucial in making the other's perceptions about the intended communication and is what will guide the other persons' understanding and formation of an opinion or reaction. This is especially the case since people reason in different ways and which result in different perceptions of reality. To bring about understanding in the society, the involved individuals must mutually understand and comprehend each other. The people have to desire the same objectives and perceive the similar conscience of good and tranquility if they are going to function well as a society .
People have been wired to give respect based on their perceived worth and value of the other, and which gives rise to power. Power can exist in the minds of every person, but others hand over theirs to another person or entity which they perceive to possess an apparent good in the future. This is the kind of power that exists in political arrangements of any community. Power could arise from perceived riches and generosity. However, to live in peace, people have to be guided more by their manners and less on their personal desires in regards to the future. The existence of man in Hobbes view is guided by the decisions they make, which in turn are guided by their knowledge of the subject. These are intimately connected with sense and memory, but additionally includes scientific knowledge and reasoning, which is based on facts and provable theory. The perception of power in another person or political entity leads people who might require their protection to adhere to them. It could also arise from fear or love from the general masses. Other virtues that represent power include success, eloquence, and amiability among many others. People will in most instances find themselves giving respect and honor to the individuals they perceive as being powerful and thus arise political power since the subjects would be more willing trust and heed to their advice eventually to be led by such an individual or government entity.
The problem with power is the general inclination and desire for more and more power over the other, which like a poison brings about contempt and breeds malice among populations. In truth, however, all men are equal by nature, save for the difference in the strength of their mind and thinking, which makes wisdom a more desirable virtue. As such, people keep on changing company and inclinations as they suit those best. To guide the society and bring about equality, the law is required so as to prevent the oppression of the weak in that society. The conformity to the law would guide the society in bringing fairness in form of justice thus, and therefore 3explains its importance in a society. Justice in society helps in bringing about common power, which is essential to ward off threats like war and afford social peace and prosperity. People should, therefore, strive to maintain peace, justice, and tolerance of one another to ensure the existence of a working society.
In the text, we have gone through the works of three philosophers in order to understand how the society works. All three authors possess interesting insights in regards to how the society works and the purpose of the political community in any setting. Of the three, sample works, Hobbie...
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