THOMAS HOBBES QUOTES
English philosopher (1588-1679)
They that are discontented under monarchy, call it tyranny; and they that are displeased with aristocracy, call it oligarchy: so also, they which find themselves grieved under a democracy, call it anarchy, which signifies the want of government; and yet I think no man believes, that want of government, is any new kind of government.
The secret thoughts of a man run over all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave, and light, without shame or blame.
Men measure not only other men, but all other things, by themselves.
The characters of man's heart, blotted and confounded as they are with dissembling, lying, counterfeiting, and erroneous doctrines, are legible only to him that searcheth hearts.
Whatsoever is the object of any man's Appetite or Desire; that is it which he for his part calleth Good: and the object of his Hate and Aversion, evil.
Because waking I often observe the absurdity of dreams, but never dream of the absurdities of my waking thoughts, I am well satisfied that being awake, I know I dream not; though when I dream, I think myself awake.
Nature (the art whereby God hath made and governs the world) is by the art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an Artificial Animal. For seeing life is but a motion of Limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within; why may we not say, that all Automata (Engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the Heart, but a Spring; and the Nerves, but so many Strings; and the Joints, but so many Wheels, giving motion to the whole Body, such as was intended by the Artificer? Art goes yet further, imitating that rational and most excellent work of Nature, Man.
Thoughts are to the Desires as Scouts and Spies, to range abroad, and find the way to the things Desired.
The Present only has a being in Nature; things Past have a being in the Memory only, but things to come have no being at all; the Future but a fiction of the mind.
Words are wise men's counters, they do but reckon by them: but they are the money of fools, that value them by the authority of an Aristotle, a Cicero, or a Thomas, or any other doctor whatsoever, if but a man.
Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues.
The value of all things contracted for, is measured by the appetite of the contractors, and therefore the just value is that which they be contented to give.
Desire of praise disposeth to laudable actions.
Let a man (as most men do) rate themselves as the highest Value they can; yet their true Value is no more than it is esteemed by others.
The most noble and profitable invention of all other, was that of speech, consisting of names or apellations, and their connections; whereby men register their thoughts; recall them when they are past; and also declare them one to another for mutual utility and conversation; without which, there had been amongst men, neither commonwealth, nor society, nor contract, nor peace, no more than amongst lions, bears, and wolves.
So easy are men to be drawn to believe any thing, from such men as have gotten credit with them; and can with gentleness and dexterity take hold of their fear and ignorance.
The oath adds nothing to the obligation. For a covenant, if lawful, binds in the sight of God, without the oath, as much as with it; if unlawful, bindeth not at all, though it be confirmed with an oath.
If any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies.
To agree with in opinion, is to honor, as being a sign of approving his judgment and wisdom. To dissent, is dishonor, and an upbraiding of error.
The most part of men, though they have the use of reasoning a little way, as in numbering to some degree; yet it serves them to little use in common life; in which they govern themselves, some better, some worse, according to their differences of experience, quickness of memory, and inclinations to several ends; but specially according to good or evil fortune, and the errors of one another.
The object of man's desire is not to enjoy once only, and for one instant of time; but to assure for ever, the way of his future desires.
For such is the nature of men, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned, yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves, for they see their own wit at hand, and other men's at a distance. But this proveth rather that men are in that point equal, than unequal. For there is not ordinarily a greater sign of the equal distribution of any thing than that every man is contented with his share.
Nature hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind, as that though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man and man is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend as well as he.
Covenants without the sword are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all.
Understanding is by the flame of the passions never enlightened, but dazzled.
Good and Evil are names that signify our appetites and aversions, which in different tempers, customs, and doctrines of men, are different: And diverse men differ not only in their judgment, on the senses of what is pleasant and unpleasant to the taste, smell, hearing, touch, and sight, but also of what is conformable, or disagreeable to Reason, in the actions of the common life. Nay, the same man, in diverse times, differs from himself, and one time praiseth, that is, calleth Good, what another time he dispraiseth, and calleth Evil.
The passions of men are commonly more potent than their reason.
If we could suppose a great multitude of men to consent to the observation of justice, and other laws of Nature, without a common Power to keep them all in awe; we might as well suppose all mankind to do the same; and then there neither would be nor need to be any civil government or commonwealth at all, because there would be Peace without subjection.
Every man may think his own cause just till it be heard and judged.
The obligation of subjects to the sovereign is understood to last as long, and no longer, than the power lasteth, by which he is able to protect them. For the right men have by Nature to protect themselves, when none else can protect them, can by no covenant be relinquished.
Those men that are so remissly governed that they dare take up arms to defend or introduce an opinion, are still in war, and their condition not peace, but only a cessation of arms for fear of one another, and they live as it were in the precincts of battle continually.
During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man. For WAR consisteth not in battle only, or the act of fighting, but in a tract of time wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known: and therefore the notion of Time is to be considered in the nature of War as it is in the nature of Weather. For as the nature of foul weather lieth not in a shower or two of rain but in an inclination thereto of many days together, so the nature of War consisteth not in actual fighting, but in the known disposition thereto, during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary.