Friday, February 13, 2015

THOMAS HOBBES (1588-1679)

“Life is brutish and short,” says Tom Hobbes,
“It allows for just heartache and sobs.
But when working with those
Who want peace with their foes,
You'll get better than high paying jobs."

Note: In his masterpiece, Leviathan, Hobbes argues in chapter 13 that in the state of nature, when “there is no common power to keep [human beings] in awe”, they will be in a state of war with each other (i.e., “a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known”), because, motivated by their strong desire for self-preservation, they will be prepared to engage in violence for the sake of gain, safety, or reputation.  In such a situation, there will be “no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.  Nevertheless, says Hobbes in chapter 14, “it is a precept, or general rule of reason: that every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it”, and this desire for peace makes it possible for all human beings to agree to give up their liberty rights to an all-powerful sovereign (the social contract), whose charge it is to maintain peace and make possible all those activities that were impossible in the state of nature (such as visiting Harry Potter World).    

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