Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

“The condition of man . . . is a condition of war of everyone against everyone.”

“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.”

“There is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense.”

“Leisure is the Mother of Philosophy.”

“It is not wisdom but authority that makes a law.”

“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.”

“They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that dislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion.”

“I am about to take my last voyage. A great leap in the dark.”

“Science is the knowledge of consequences, and dependence of one fact upon another.”

“Laughter is nothing else but sudden glory arising from some sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves, by comparison with the infirmity of others, or with our own formerly.”

“Not believing in force is the same as not believing in gravitation.”

“Prudence is but experience, which equal time, equally bestows on all men, in those things they equally apply themselves unto.”

“The privilege of absurdity; to which no living creature is subject but man only.”

“Man is distinguished, not only by his reason; but also by this singular passion from other animals… which is a lust of the mind, that by a perseverance of delight in the continual and indefatigable generation of knowledge, exceeds the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure.”

“A man’s conscience and his judgment is the same thing; and as the judgment, so also the conscience, may be erroneous.”

“The secret thoughts of a man run over all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave, and light, without shame or blame.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“As a draft-animal is yoked in a wagon, even so the spirit is yoked in this body.”

“The praise of ancient authors proceeds not from the reverence of the dead, but from the competition and mutual envy of the living.”

“For it is with the mysteries of our religion, as with wholesome pills for the sick, which swallowed whole, have the virtue to cure; but chewed, are for the most part cast up again without effect.”

“In the state of nature profit is the measure of right.”

“He that is taken and put into prison or chains is not conquered, though overcome; for he is still an enemy.”

“All generous minds have a horror of what are commonly called “Facts”. They are the brute beasts of the intellectual domain.”

“Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues.”

“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 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?”

“Words are the counters of wise men, and the money of fools.”

“I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.”

“During 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 man.”

“The power of a man, to take it universally, is his present means, to obtain some future apparent good; and is either original or instrumental.”

“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.”

“No man’s error becomes his own Law; nor obliges him to persist in it.”

“Understanding is nothing else than conception caused by speech.”

“Sudden glory is the passion which maketh those grimaces called laughter.”

“Words are wise men’s counters, they do but reckon with them, but they are the money of fools.”

“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.”

“Desire 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.”

“Curiosity is the lust of the mind.”

“The world is governed by opinion.”

“Appetite, with an opinion of attaining, is called hope; the same, without such opinion, despair.”

“A man cannot lay down the right of resisting them that assault him by force, to take away his life.”

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