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Famous Quotes from the Leviathan - Thomas
- The condition of man...is a condition of war of everyone
- 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.
- The privilege of absurdity; to which no living creature is subject but man
- Sudden glory is the passion
which maketh those grimaces called laughter.
- The secret thoughts of a man run over all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene,
grave, and light, without shame or blame.
- The "value" or "worth" of a man is, as of all other things, his price; that
is to say, so much as would be given for the use of his power.
- By Manners, I mean not here decency of behaviour;
as how one man should salute another, or how a man should wash his mouth, or pick
his teeth before company, and such other points of the small morals; but those
qualities of mankind that concern their living together in peace and unity. To
which end we are to consider that the felicity of this life consisteth not in
the repose of a mind satisfied. For there is no such finis ultimus [utmost
aim] nor summum bonum [greatest good] as is spoken of in the books of the
old moral philosophers. Nor can a man any more live whose desires are at an end
than he whose senses and imaginations are at a stand.
- Felicity is a continual progress of the desire from one object to another,
the attaining of the former being still but the way to the latter.The cause whereof
is that the object of man's desire is not to enjoy once only, and for one instant
of time, but to assure forever the way of his future desire. And therefore the
voluntary actions and inclinations of all men tend not only to the procuring,
but also to the assuring of a contented life, and differ only in the way, which
ariseth partly from the diversity of passions in diverse men, and partly from
the difference of the knowledge or opinion each one has of the causes which produce
the effect desired.
- In the
first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind a perpetual and restless
desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death. And the cause of this
is not always that a man hopes for a more intensive delight than he has already
attained to, or that he cannot be content with a moderate power, but because he
cannot assure the power and means to live well, which he hath present, without
the acquisition of more.
gives indifferent names to one and the same thing from the difference of their
own passions; as they that approve a private opinion call it opinion; but they
that mislike it, heresy: and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion.
- In these four things, opinion
of ghosts, ignorance of second causes, devotions towards what men fear, and taking
of things casual for prognostics, consisteth the natural seed of religion; which
by reason of the different fancies, judgements, and passions of several men, hath
grown up into ceremonies so different, that those which are used by one man, are
for the most part ridiculous to another. ~ Ch. 12 Of religion
the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in
that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every
- To this war of every
man against every man, this also in consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The
notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there
is no common power, there is no law, where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud,
are in war the cardinal virtues.
- [In a state of nature] 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.
- Pt. I, Ch. 13
therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every
man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security,
than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall.
In such condition, there is 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, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of
man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.
philosophy is nothing else but the science of what is good, and evil, in the conversation,
and society of mankind. Good, and evil, are names that signify our appetites,
and aversions; which in different tempers, customs, and doctrines of men, are
- Do not that to
another, which thou wouldst not have done to thyself.
- Original form: A Rule, By Which The Laws Of Nature May Easily Be Examined
And though this may seem too subtile a deduction of the Lawes of Nature, to be
taken notice of by all men; whereof the most part are too busie in getting food,
and the rest too negligent to understand; yet to leave all men unexcusable, they
have been contracted into one easie sum, intelligible even to the meanest capacity;
and that is, "Do not that to another, which thou wouldest not have done to thy
selfe;" which sheweth him, that he has no more to do in learning the Lawes of
Nature, but, when weighing the actions of other men with his own, they seem too
heavy, to put them into the other part of the ballance, and his own into their
place, that his own passions, and selfe-love, may adde nothing to the weight;
and then there is none of these Lawes of Nature that will not appear unto him
- Pt. I, Ch. 15
- For the Lawes
of Nature (as Justice, Equity, Modesty, Mercy, and (in summe) Doing To Others,
As Wee Would Be Done To,) if themselves, without the terrour of some Power, to
cause them to be observed, are contrary to our naturall Passions, that carry us
to Partiality, Pride, Revenge, and the like. And Covenants, without the Sword,
are but Words, and of no strength to secure a man at all.
- As in the presence of the Master, the Servants
are equall, and without any honour at all; So are the Subjects, in the presence
of the Soveraign. And though they shine some more, some lesse, when they are out
of his sight; yet in his presence, they shine no more than the Starres in presence
of the Sun.
- The source of
every crime, is some defect of the understanding; or some error in reasoning;
or some sudden force of the passions.
- Another doctrine repugnant to civil society, is that whatsoever a man does
against his conscience, is sin; and it dependeth on the presumption of making
himself judge of good and evil. For a man's conscience and his judgement are the
same thing, and as the judgement, so also the conscience may be erroneous.
- Corporations may lesser commonwealths
in the bowels of a greater, like worms in the entrails of a natural man.
- Intemperance is naturally punished
with diseases; rashness, with mischance; injustice; with violence of enemies;
pride, with ruin; cowardice, with oppression; and rebellion, with slaughter.
- Leisure is the mother of philosophy.
- Original: There have been divers true, generall,
and profitable Speculations from the beginning; as being the naturall plants of
humane Reason: But they were at first but few in number; men lived upon grosse
Experience; there was no Method; that is to say, no Sowing, nor Planting of Knowledge
by it self, apart from the Weeds, and common Plants of Errour and Conjecture:
And the cause of it being the want of leasure from procuring the necessities of
life, and defending themselves against their neighbours, it was impossible, till
the erecting of great Common-wealths, it should be otherwise. Leasure is the mother
of Philosophy; and Common-wealth, the mother of Peace, and Leasure: Where first
were great and flourishing Cities, there was first the study of Philosophy.
IV, Ch. 46
- The Papacy is not other than the Ghost
of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof.
- The praise of ancient authors proceeds
not from the reverence of the dead, but from the competition and mutual envy of
- Such truth
as opposeth no man's profit nor pleasure is to all men welcome.
Thomas Hobbes Quotes:
- A man cannot lay down the right of resisting
them that assault him by force to take away his life.
- A man's conscience and his judgment is the same thing; and as the judgment
so also the conscience may be erroneous.
- All generous minds have a horror
of what are commonly called "Facts". They are the brute beasts of the intellectual
- Appetite with an opinion of attaining is called hope; the same without
such opinion despair.
- As a draft-animal is yoked in a wagon
even so the spirit is yoked in this body.
to know why and how— curiosity which is a lust of the mind that a perseverance
of delight in the continued and indefatigable generation of knowledge— exceedeth
the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure.
- Fear of things invisible is the
natural seed of that which everyone in himself calleth religion.
- Force and
fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues.
- In the state of nature profit is the measure of right.
- Laughter is nothing
else but a sudden glory arising from some sudden conception of some eminency in
ourselves by comparison with the infirmity of others or with our own formerly.
- No man's error becomes his own Law; nor
obliges him to persist in it.
- Opinion of ghosts ignorance of second causes
devotion to what men fear and talking of things casual for prognostics consisteth
the natural seeds of religion.
is but experience which equal time equally bestows on all men in those things
they equally apply themselves unto.
- Science is the knowledge of consequences
and dependence of one fact upon another.
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.
- That a man be willing when others are so too as
far forth as for peace and defense of himself he shall think it necessary to lay
down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other
men as he would allow other men against himself.
- The disembodied
spirit is immortal; there is nothing of it that can grow old or die. But the embodied
spirit sees death on the horizon as soon as its day dawns.
- The flesh endures the storms of the present alone; the mind those of the past
and future as well as the present. Gluttony is a lust of the mind.
- The right
of nature... is the liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself
for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say of his own life.
- The science which teacheth arts and handicrafts is merely science for the
gaining of a living; but the science which teacheth deliverance from worldly existence
is not that the true science?
- The secret thoughts of a man run over all things
holy profane clean obscene grave and light without shame or blame.
- The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfilment
of that hope never entirely removes.
- Understanding is nothing else than conception
caused by speech.
- 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.
- Give an inch, he'll take an ell.
- Liberty and Necessity
- To understand this for sense it is not
required that a man should be a geometrician or a logician, but that he should
- On the proposition that the volume generated by revolving the
region under 1/x from 1 to infinity has finite volume. Quoted in Mathematical
Maxims and Minims by N. Rose (1988)
- Now I am
about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.
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