The Passions Of The Man

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The Passions of the Man We exist in an artificial world created from our passions. Uncontrollable as they may seem, our natural inclinations and mental faculties have actually effected immense social change on both a physical and mental level. As oxymoronic as it may seem, it is ultimately our innate passions that both drive conflict and allow for cooperative endeavor, and Thomas Hobbes’s masterful 17th century work Leviathan captures this point beautifully. His “passions” are a kind of internal motion related to one’s will and encompass character traits, moods, or ephemeral states of being such as “sudden glory” causing laughter. Hobbes uses the idea of passions as a motivating source to flush out a future-directed approach to the…show more content…
Unfortunately, we live in the natural world. Far from perfect. Our passions do not even come close to fitting us in the perfect world. In fact, they prevent its existence. The nature of man then is one of passions and thusly, one of war. According to Hobbes, “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.” (13) War is not a state of fighting, it is a state of being; specifically a state of being in which safety and protection of one’s life or happiness are close to non-existent. Coupled with the very real ideas of exhaustible resources and the will to survive, this ‘war’ or ‘natural world’ is then populated by beasts-unreasoned beings dominated by their psyches and unable to coexist in a society. Hobbes concluded “that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory.”() These three passions are at once dangerous to the natural world, but necessary for the artificial world to exist. The competition to which Hobbes speaks is a competition for power. In his observations, it is the powerful that are happy and can assure their continued felicity. Thus, competition begets violence. Diffidence implies the defense of oneself and your well-being in fear of it being stripped of you. Diffidence seems to beget violence as well. And glory begets the most violence. The thirst for power becomes too
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