Human Nature and Power

Topics: Utopia, Thomas More, Religion Pages: 4 (1324 words) Published: May 9, 2012
Human Nature and Power
During the Renaissance, many brilliant philosophers have explored the concept of human nature. The question, what motivates humanity has been taken into consideration in the composure of virtually every society. By establishing that premise, many went on to create an ideal society with the intention of developing that thought. Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas More are outstanding representatives among them. In both More's Utopia and Machiavelli's The Prince, perfect societies are constructed. However, More and Machiavelli have different opinions about the human nature in relation to the role of power and authority. Thomas More optimistically describes human nature. He depicts that man by nature is good-willed and conforming. He believes that human nature can be improved. Therefore, if the governing power is to be removed then man would be a less hostile force. Niccolo Machiavelli, on the other hand, describes human nature negatively. Man is untrustworthy, ungrateful, greedy and lying. Machiavelli suggests that man will never change and that one will always attempt to overcome the other. Power and authority is implied in the very essence of Machiavelli’s work. It is tied in with the greed and selfishness. More believed human nature to be good, created by God, and susceptible to great improvement if social, political, and economic conditions were reformed so that human misery were eliminated and that fundamental human virtue were thereby liberated and nurtured. More believed in socialism insofar as it would eliminate private property, which he saw as the root of evil. He believed that when private property exists, and when money dominates all other considerations, then "it is hardly ever possible for a commonwealth to be governed justly or happily." More believes that justice simply cannot exist when the "worst citizens" own the "best things," or "where property is limited to a few." In such a situation, those who have so much...
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