Nostalgia is Great

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In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes describes that human beings living in the natural condition lack freedom. He claims that freedom is merely the absence of an external hindrance, something that prevents one from pursuing their desires. In the natural state of man, each individual is fighting for themselves, living without political authority. Hobbes believes that the only way to attain true freedom is under the power of a sovereign. Alternatively, in Ethics of Ambiguity, Simone de Beauvoir illustrates how everyone is essentially free. She claims that humans are continuously free in deciding how to deal with facticity (unchangeable facts about ourselves). People are at liberty to choose what attitudes they will adopt in life. De Beauvoir also discusses how people deny their own freedoms as four forms of self-deception. The key difference between Hobbes and de Beauvoir’s perception of freedom is the fact that Hobbes focuses on liberty of several whereas de Beauvoir focuses on liberty of the individual. De Beauvoir fails to distinguish how particular situations do not allow for freedom, and is also contradictory in her statements; therefore Hobbes’ view should be accepted. Hobbes discusses the natural condition in which every man can is free to do what he desires; every man is equal. However, because of this, no one is free to have what they desire. Total freedom is an absolute lack of freedom. Considering there is no political authority in the natural condition, there is no order, and therefore there is unconditional chaos as life is ““solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Hobbes 76). Every man exists exclusively to pursue his own personal desires, yet it is impossible in the natural condition for everyone to completely pursue th... ... middle of paper ... ... in the natural condition, humans are in fact prisoners of their own desires (58) and that they are “imprisoned or restrained with walls or chains” (136) and can only be free from them when they use reason to look beyond their passions and upon what truly matters, freedom and peace. To conclude, Hobbes’ account of freedom includes the presence of a political authority, a sovereign that will provide an escape from the natural condition. He claims that freedom is simply the absence of an external hindrance. De Beauvoir believes that everyone is essentially free to decide how to deal with facticity, and that the critical endeavor in life should be to strive for freedom. Hobbes’ perspective on freedom in society overshadows de Beauvoir’s attempt to describe freedom of the individual due to her controversial claims and absence of solutions to the problems she presents.
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