Fear moves the world

The reflection on what man is goes back to the origins of Western philosophical thought, such information about what constitutes the human thing was, paradoxically, a consideration of the animal. Man always needs to be reflected in the animal to find what is his own. In ancient times man sought to recognize human traits in the animal; while modernity separates the animal that it has in man and excludes it from itself.

A perspective of analysis of the modern vision is to focus on the werewolf, that is, the wolf that becomes a man (citizen) and the man who becomes a wolf. The werewolf points to two mutations. In the first case the beast that inhabits man is put aside; for this way to present man at a distance from bestiality. But this operation of exclusion, rather than showing the difference, points to the relationship between the human and the monstrous. Hence the explanatory richness of the figure of the werewolf, since the monster is not exterior and pure alterity with respect to man, but rather an externalized interior of the human.

The second mutation is the constant threat of lupification to which he is exposed to man. The becoming wolf of man not only shows the instability of that being called “man”, but also, the constitutive monstrosity that inhabits it and the fear that this generates. The werewolf is no longer on the margins of the community of men, but is inside, inhabits the city.

Hobbes writes the famous sentence “ThatMan to Man is a kind of God; and that Man to Man is an arrant Wolfe”. In this way he points to the transformation that occurs in man with the social pact, that is, the transition from the beast man to the god-man. While the man in the state of nature It is like an animal, but wolf when creating the state it becomes more than mere man, it is a citizen.

Now, the starting point for the construction of the State, as is explained by Hobbes in Leviathan (1651), is fear in the state of nature and its goal is the security of the civil State. Hobbes takes up the mythological sea monster Leviathan (Genesis I). Leviathan is for Hobbes the representation of a civil state to which we owe obedience in exchange for security. In this sense, he said that Leviathan is “that mortal god, to whom we owe our peace and our defense. Because by virtue of this authority that is conferred on him by each particular man in the State, he possesses and uses so much power and strength, by the terror he inspires he is able to conform their wills for peace”.

To establish his theory of the State, Hobbes starts from the original “war of all against all” situation that is supposedly characterized by the condition in which man finds himself in the state of nature. Such a scenario is a logical hypothesis, that is, it has no claim to historical truth, however, it allows it to represent the pre-political situation and the origin and foundation of power. But, in addition, the presence of this reasoning about the state of nature within the theory of the State specifically expresses the incompleteness of the political artifice, always keeping alive the “memory” of the original conflict.

According to Hobbes, the original war is a consequence of the equality that men present by nature. It is an equality that, far from establishing harmony, generates competition among men and leads to destruction itself.

This state of mutual threat because of the original equality becomes a central element of Hobbes’ reasoning, since such circumstance brings fear. For Hobbes it is due to the fear that reigns in the state of nature, fear of being killed, that men create the State through the social pact. But for the State to establish the conditions of peace, a decision-making instance that imposes order is necessary. Consequently, fear becomes the cause not only of the social pact but also the foundation of an omnipotent state.

Thus, in the face of fear caused by the equality of the original condition, it is necessary to oppose the power of Leviathan in order to achieve security.

In effect, the State does not eliminate fear, but stabilizes it. The original fear that characterizes the state of nature becomes an artificial fear, fear of the State that can only protect under the threat of sanction. In other words, possibly a transition from “reciprocal”, anarchic, to “common”, institutional fear. Therefore, in the State the fear does not disappear, but becomes “safe”, there is a “rational stabilization of fear.”

The wolves before frightened by a reciprocal fear, by the power they possessed to use their forces, are now men frightened by the power that they themselves confirmed to the State.

As can be seen, there is a close relationship between the Leviathan and the werewolf, while they are two monstrous figures that appear together or, to be more precise, it could say that it is the werewolf who gives rise to the Leviathan. It is a complicity between both monsters, a complicity that has been sealed by the threat of death and terror. Leviathan can only guarantee life among citizens if men renounce their natural right to be wolves, however, it is a life that is still exposed to death, now abandoned to sovereign violence.

Leviathan stands at the moment when wolves transform into men. But this does not mean that the wolf, the bestiality that inhabits the interior of man, completely expelled. On the contrary, there is a permanent threat that the wolf becomed man will become a wolf again. It is due to this latent metamorphosis that the existence of Leviathan is legitimized, the great monster that subdue of the individual monstrosities, that is, werewolves.

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