The Nature of Man and the Role of Education
Whether human nature is basically good or evil is a question the answer to which remains elusive, even to the brightest of philosophers. Both sides have their strengths, and as such, the only way to put the matter to rest is to decide which appeals to you, and stick to that side.
Hobbes, in his social contract, depicted man as having insatiable hunger for power – a characteristic that needs to be suppressed, if the goal is to create a peaceful society, or at least, prevent it from disintegrating. He lays down laws that are derivatives of the assumption that man is inherently evil. If one were to analyze, these laws still exist – elucidated in the constitution, embedded in the subconscious of any man who considers himself a member of any group or community. Having said thus, I believe that man is basically evil; otherwise, there would be no need for laws that are reminiscent of the Hobbesian social contract. It may be argued that the laws are preventive in nature, and are not in any way indicative of the nature of man. But I beg to disagree. The mere conception of laws that say, prevent violence, is proof enough that there exists an assumption that man is inclined to act on his whims, to achieve what he perceives is good for himself.
Following this line of thought, I believe that education exists to suppress the nature of man, and to instill in every person the idea that he is part of a whole, and that his actions have consequences that not only affect other people, but ultimately determine the quality of his own life. It is no secret that education is born out of man’s fight for survival and his search for enlightenment. Looking back at the history of man, it is evident that at the core of every person is the unquenchable desire for power – over nature, and over other men. As such, it is only apt that the primary aim of education is not to nurture the inherent goodness in a person but to enlighten him of the fact that although ultimately, he lives for himself alone, he is still but a being that exists with other beings in a world wherein everything is interconnected.