Man is in chains everywhere, but he could be free.

Man is in chains everywhere, but he could be free.

The man was originally alone. It is the period of nature’s state. His life was only meant to accomplish survival instincts. He has no goals, no relation to family, society, community. He would solely be responsible for his safety and security. As time passed, and he started living in the company of another man, his needs changed. He also started becoming dependent on other beings for the fulfillment of his needs. From hunger, survival, family, and security, his needs changed to overall growth & developments of society as well as individuals. Now his goal was different. He then turned into a modern man. So, the primary goals of safety and security turned into a secondary thing.

For the fulfillment of his security needs, he gets involved in a social contract. Now, let’s understand what is this social contract? And how impactful it is?

Social Contract

A social contract is a kind of agreement with the society where the personal responsibility of own security of an individual becomes the responsibility of society in which one lives. It is the case where the individuals are free to do or act, but his action should not become a barrier for the free actions of others. The social contract is useful in a way that a bunch of humans or society could be well regulated and any conflicts or issue arising in a period of time could be very well resolved.

In this contract, the two agreements are basically pactum unionis and pactum subjectionis. In the pactum unionis- the individuals or groups take responsibility for their safety and security. And in the pactum subjectionis, the individuals or groups give charges of their security and responsibility to someone else. It means individual aims for higher goals in the second stage compared to the previous state of Pactum Unionis where the goal of an individual is majorly personal security.

Man and Society

Man’s state of happiness very well depends on the society he lives in. When the man comes in consensual terms with the society, he very well understands the facts that his happiness depends on the ‘general will’ of people around. If the majority agrees on a term, then no wonder he should also follow the same. This theory is defined in practical social philosophy by Rousseau. Rousseau gave his ultimate reaction to the prevalent condition of men of which he can do nothing.

Rousseau ‘Man in Chains’

Rousseau put a paradox view that “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” Everywhere there is boundaries, restrictions, limitations, and bondages. For the achievement of his dreams, he has to depend on other beings. From independent being, he has turned into a dependent being.

Man is free to do any action in any circumstances. But his behaviour should not contradict with the societal norms and conditions. Whatever he may do should reflect the doings of societies in one way or other. Rousseau says the act of an individual lies within the boundaries set by society.

Adding some more concepts in the social contract theory of man, Rousseau gave perfect definitions to Sustainable development by warning the man that he has got limited resources. The society should use the resources according to one’s needs. Too much of accumulation of the natural resources may put society in dangers as the future needs would be compromised.

The concepts of “Man in the chains” are more elaborated by considering the facts that rules and norms are created in society by keeping in view the majority point of view or the views of those in power. Personal views are often neglected when laws are created. Notably, the laws should only be made for the benefits of society as a whole rather for the benefits of biased majority communities.

For making any laws, the preferences are generally given to the majority community and that’s a kind of unfairness to the minority community. The minority community should also be given a chance in the lawmaking process. At least they should be given a chance to speak up their voice. If their views are harmful to society, then that couldn’t be implemented. But, if their views are meaningful then it can add to the developments of the society.

Duties of Society

Man consciously or unconsciously wants to do different things in his life. If his doings are restricted then he may try doing the same thing discreetly. It is the duty of society or community to define the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ appropriately. So, the individuals may feel secure and comfortable in doing the things as per needs. The doings should not in any condition restrict the freedom of others. Therefore, social contract theory is a must in today’s society and with time the theory should be modified and regulated for the overall development of an individual.

Rousseau has changed the thinking of society by reminding them, ‘man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.’ And now it’s the duty of society to twist this concept a little to reflect that ‘society is virtue’. And whatever decisions society takes would only for the all-round development of the individual. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that ‘Man is in chains everywhere but it could be free’.

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