The Hobbesian thought: It is “Fear” that subjugates men

Recently I have been talking to some of my friends who work in corporate world i.e., white collar workers. Some had a real fear that with the current state of Indian Economy and a dying rupee their jobs are in real danger and their sense of job security is dwindling gradually. 

In the whole conversation I have had with one of my friend recently about this subject also with few other friends one thing that stuck me was their fear on whether they could be shown the door for some unexplainable reason. 

Keeping this incident (me talking to some of my friends about the job security etc.,) aside only for a moment, I shall indulge in talking about something I read on FEAR recently. 

As a part of elementary reading on the subject Western Political Thought I came across a thinker Thomas Hobbes who propounded the idea of social contract and discussed in length about an important component of man’s inherent nature which is “Fear”. 

If we have to for a moment assume that there are no governments or any other institutions which protects men, he will live in a continuous fear of death from his fellow human beings because there is no public interest and every one will act in his own self interest. In his words on the nature of men– “continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” This is exactly what is his idea about man which was no doubt based on experiences of times he lived. 

But the element of fear in my opinion is applicable to all times including the future. Imagine if there is no law that says that if you kill others you will be awarded death sentence, any petty fight will lead to death/s of humans, and it is because the killer knows that there is no body to question his act. 

On a positive note, Fear also instills some kind of moral behavior in kids, may be that is why a mother counsels her kid no to do a certain act, if you do god will punish you. This is particularly the case in Indian society. Yes God/religion has a significant utility in keeping men sane. The Point is out of that fear of punishment kid is deterred in acting in a certain way which he could have if the fear was not instilled.

To fear is at times is a moral thing. People often say on commenting some body’s character, he is a good man because he is god fearing person etc., 

Going back to Hobbes again. As someone who is at the stage of infancy when it comes to the subject of political thought I am stunned by the way Hobbes depicted “Fear”, by saying that his mother gave birth to twins i.e., himself and fear, thereby making “Fear” his half-blood. 

With due respect to Rousseau’s propounded general will and individual will, there might be few Utopians who say that in liberal societies men do not have to worry about anything and his independence is absolute. Frankly speaking there is nothing called as absolutely independence but it is limited to and subjected to certain conditions. 

But going back to the theme on which I have started this whole thing i.e., “Fear” of Job insecurity in a corporate especially for the white collars, it has to be noted that at the time of 2008 we have heard the arguments on for and against layoffs then few also argued that crisis was used as some kind of pretext by corporate companies to shed some waste and increase the savings. 

The moment you come across a grapevine about an eventual layoff, you could see people working so diligently, so committed at least in appearance and constantly exploring avenues which could keep them in work, all this with a sense of fear and worry. Because they Fear the aftermath of an immediate job loss and worried about the monthly payments towards loans they have taken based on the hefty income they are receiving. 

There is another possibility. Corporate world is filled with managers who given the chance are essentially immoral, and are constantly looking for opportunities to subjugate their subordinates at the altar of their authority and want to use grapevine to their personal benefit, so it is in our interest to identify reality of the situation. 

To instill confidence I shall conclude that in India which is a booming economy and market place for the products (including services) made worldwide only next to China there is a remote possibility of jobs getting wiped off completely. So if someone was really laid off in a big corporate it may not be primarily because of some sort of economic crisis but may be they just want to rid themselves off from your inefficiency? Or a personal sweat dream and whim of an arrogant & Idiotic manager? 

There by “Fear” comes in handy for a corporate to subjugate their employees. This brings us to the conclusion that it is “Fear” that subjugates men.

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