Hatred, Lust, Ambition, Covetousnesse, Causes Of Crime

As for the Passions, of Hate, Lust, Ambition, and Covetousnesse, what Crimes they are apt to produce, is so obvious to every mans experience and understanding, as there needeth nothing to be said of them, saving that they are infirmities, so annexed to the nature, both of man, and all other living creatures, as that their effects cannot be hindred, but by extraordinary use of Reason, or a constant severity in punishing them.

For in those things men hate, they find a continuall, and unavoydable molestation; whereby either a mans patience must be everlasting, or he must be eased by removing the power of that which molesteth him; The former is difficult; the later is many times impossible, without some violation of the Law. Ambition, and Covetousnesse are Passions also that are perpetually incumbent, and pressing; whereas Reason is not perpetually present, to resist them: and therefore whensoever the hope of impunity appears, their effects proceed. And for Lust, what it wants in the lasting, it hath in the vehemence, which sufficeth to weigh down the apprehension of all easie, or uncertain punishments.

Of all Passions, that which enclineth men least to break the Lawes, is Fear. Nay, (excepting some generous natures,) it is the onely thing, (when there is apparence of profit, or pleasure by breaking the Lawes,) that makes men keep them. And yet in many cases a Crime may be committed through Feare.

For not every Fear justifies the Action it produceth, but the fear onely of corporeall hurt, which we call Bodily Fear, and from which a man cannot see how to be delivered, but by the action. A man is assaulted, fears present death, from which he sees not how to escape, but by wounding him that assaulteth him; If he wound him to death, this is no Crime; because no man is supposed at the making of a Common-wealth, to have abandoned the defence of his life, or limbes, where the Law cannot arrive time enough to his assistance. But to kill a man, because from his actions, or his threatnings, I may argue he will kill me when he can, (seeing I have time, and means to demand protection, from the Soveraign Power,) is a Crime.

Again, a man receives words of disgrace, or some little injuries (for which they that made the Lawes, had assigned no punishment, nor thought it worthy of a man that hath the use of Reason, to take notice of,) and is afraid, unlesse he revenge it, he shall fall into contempt, and consequently be obnoxious to the like injuries from others; and to avoyd this, breaks the Law, and protects himselfe for the future, by the terrour of his private revenge. This is a Crime; For the hurt is not Corporeall, but Phantasticall, and (though in this corner of the world, made sensible by a custome not many years since begun, amongst young and vain men,) so light, as a gallant man, and one that is assured of his own courage, cannot take notice of.

Also a man may stand in fear of Spirits, either through his own superstition, or through too much credit given to other men, that tell him of strange Dreams and visions; and thereby be made believe they will hurt him, for doing, or omitting divers things, which neverthelesse, to do, or omit, is contrary to the Lawes; And that which is so done, or omitted, is not to be Excused by this fear; but is a Crime. For (as I have shewn before in the second Chapter) Dreams be naturally but the fancies remaining in sleep, after the impressions our Senses had formerly received waking; and when men are by any accident unassured they have slept, seem to be reall Visions; and therefore he that presumes to break the Law upon his own, or anothers Dream, or pretended Vision, or upon other Fancy of the power of Invisible Spirits, than is permitted by the Common-wealth, leaveth the Law of Nature, which is a certain offence, and followeth the imagery of his own, or another private mans brain, which he can never know whether it signifieth any thing, or nothing, nor whether he that tells his Dream, say true, or lye; which if every private man should have leave to do, (as they must by the Law of Nature, if any one have it) there could no Law be made to hold, and so all Common-wealth would be dissolved.

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Of Anger in Rhetoric

The common opinions concerning anger are therefore such as follow. They are easily angry, that think they are neglected. That think they excel others; as the rich with the poor; the noble with the obscure,&c. And such as think they deserve well. And such as grieve to be.. hindered, opposed, or not assisted; and therefore sick men, poor men, lovers, and generally all that desire and attain not, are angry with those that, standing by, are not moved by their wants. And such as having expected good, find evil.

Those that men are angry with, are: such as mock, deride, or jest at them.
And such as shew any kind of contumely towards them.
And such as despise those things which we spend most labour and study upon; and the more, by how much we seem the less advanced therein.
And our friends, rather than those that are not our friends.
And such as have honoured us, if they continue not.
And such as requite not our courtesy.
And such as follow contrary courses, if they be our inferiors.
And our friends, if they have said or done us evil, or not good.
And such as give not ear to our entreaty.
And such as are joyful or calm in our distress.
And such as troubling us, are not themselves troubled.
And such as willingly hear or see our disgraces.
And such as neglect us in the presence of our competitors, of those we admire, of those we would have admire us, of those we reverence, and of those that reverence us.
And such as should help us, and neglect it.
And such as are in jest, when we are in earnest.
And such as forget us, or our names.

An orator therefore must so frame his judge or auditor by his oration, as to make him apt to anger: and then make his adversary appear such as men use to be angry withal.

– Thomas Hobbes:  The Art of Rhetoric

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In What Sense Other Articles May Be Called Necessary

But a man may here aske, whether it bee not as necessary to Salvation, to beleeve, that God is Omnipotent; Creator of the world; that Jesus Christ is risen; and that all men else shall rise again from the dead at the last day; as to beleeve, that Jesus Is The Christ. To which I answer, they are; and so are many more Articles: but they are such, as are contained in this one, and may be deduced from it, with more, or lesse difficulty.

For who is there that does not see, that they who beleeve Jesus to be the Son of the God of Israel, and that the Israelites had for God the Omnipotent Creator of all things, doe therein also beleeve, that God is the Omnipotent Creator of all things? Or how can a man beleeve, that Jesus is the King that shall reign eternally, unlesse hee beleeve him also risen again from the dead? For a dead man cannot exercise the Office of a King.

In summe, he that holdeth this Foundation, Jesus Is The Christ, holdeth Expressely all that hee seeth rightly deduced from it, and Implicitely all that is consequent thereunto, though he have not skill enough to discern the consequence. And therefore it holdeth still good, that the beleef of this one Article is sufficient faith to obtaine remission of sinnes to the Penitent, and consequently to bring them into the Kingdome of Heaven.

Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan

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How the war began

B.: “But how came the people to be so corrupted? And what kind of people were they that did so seduce them?”

A.: “. . . . . .

Fourthly, there were an exceeding great number of men of the better sort, that had been so educated, as that in their youth having read the books written by famous men of the ancient Grecian and Roman commonwealths concerning their polity and great actions; in which books the popular government was extolled by that glorious name of liberty, and monarchy disgraced by the name of tyranny; they became thereby in love with their forms of government.  And out of these men were chosen the greatest part of the House of Commons, or if they were not the greatest part, yet by advantage of their eloquence, were always able to sway the rest.

Fifthly, the city of London and other great towns of trade, having in admiration the prosperity of the Low Countries after they had revolted from their monarch, the King of Spain, were inclined to think that the like change of government here, would to them produce the like prosperity.

Sixthly, there were a very great number that had either wasted their fortunes, or thought them too mean for the good parts they thought were in themselves; and more there were, that had able bodies, but saw no means how honestly to get their bread.  These longed for a War, and hoped to maintain themselves hereafter by the lucky choosing of a party to side with, and consequently did for the most part serve under them that had greatest plenty of money.”

– Thomas Hobbes: Behemoth

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The Acorns of Philosophy

PHILOSOPHY seems to me to be amongst men now, in the same manner as Corn and Wine are said to have been in the world in ancient time. For from the beginning there were Vines and Ears of Corn growing here and there in the fields; but no care was taken for the planting and sowing of them. Men lived therefore upon Akorns; or if any were so bold as to venture upon the eating of those unknown and doubtfull fruits, they did it with danger of their health. In like manner, every man brought Philosophy, that is, Naturall Reason, into the world with him; for all men can reason to some degree, and concerning some things: but where there is need of a long series of Reasons, there most men wander out of the way, and fall into Error for want of Method, as it were for want of sowing and planting, that is, of improving their Reason.

And from hence it comes to passe, that they who content themselves with daily experience, which may be likened to feeding upon Akorns, and either reject, or not much regard Philosophy, are commonly esteemed, and are indeed, men of sounder judgement, then those, who from opinions, though not vulgar, yet full of uncertainty, and carelesly received, do nothing but dispute and wrangle, like men that are not well in their wits. I confesse indeed, that that part of Philophy by which Magnitudes and Figures are computed, is highly improved. But because I have not observed the like advancement in the other parts of it, my purpose is, as far forth as I am able, to lay open the few and first Elements of Philosophy in generall, as so many Seeds, from which pure and true Philosophy may hereafter spring up by little and little.

I am not ignorant how hard a thing it is to weed out of mens mindes such inveterate opinions as have taken root there, and been confirmed in them by the authority of most eloquent Writers; especially, seeing true (that is accurate) Philosophy, professedly rejects not only the paint and false colours of Language, but even the very ornaments and graces of the same; and the first Grounds of all Science, are not only not beautifull, but poore, aride, and in appearance deformed. Neverthelesse, there being certainly some men, though but few, who are delighted with Truth and strength of Reason in all things, I thought I might do well to take this pains for the sake even of those few. I proceed therefore to the matter, and take my beginning from the very Definition of Philosophy

Thomas Hobbes: De Corpore

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