shown as contempt. Therefore what endeavour attracts a person to is good, what it repels him from is evil, and the object of contempt is vile and inconsiderable.13 Being good, evil, or contemptible however does not proceed from the object but from man that judges a thing to be so. Such individualist totalitarianism makes man as “what”, a law unto himself seen from this perspective, man is in a way a savage, because his actions are only driven by inherent biological endeavour. Hobbes solution was the establishment of the leviathan by which human action would be directed by laws when he has freely given up his right to exercise his instinctual endeavour. The leviathan turns good or evil from personal judgement of that which suits an individual into consensual acceptance of overall good. It would appear that the leviathan is another footnote to Plato, the latter having earlier declared in his Republic that justice is in the interest of the stronger party. The leviathan has only institutionalized the stronger party whom Plato had personalized in Thrasymachus, an ardent defender of despotism in governance. Nevertheless, the leviathan has been re-enacted down the generations in many totalitarian regimes from Russian totalitarian communism to Europe’s various monarchial despotisms, apartheid South Africa, Napoleon, Hitler, Mobutu, and our different military dictatorships at home in Nigeria. All these examples show a scientific human attraction to power. Even though the leviathan was meant to provide a check on this human animal attraction, it has not stood the test of time and neither have the different manifestations in human behaviour. Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, I have so far attempted to show that human “whatness” is essentially scientific, and especially biological—noting the ostensible connection with man sociocultural behaviour. Let me now show aspects of man’s “whatness” which have become part of human culture in
Leslie Stevenson, op. cit. p. 88.
Published on Sep 1, 2009