Thursday, October 09, 2008

Why Hobbes's LEVIATHAN is Worth Reading...

...even if you are not a monarchist:

1) This passage reminds me of the opening scene of Proust:

The most difficult discerning of a mans Dream, from his waking thoughts, is then, when by some accident we observe not that we have slept: which is easie to happen to a man full of fearfull thoughts; and whose conscience is much troubled; and that sleepeth, without the circumstances of going to bed, or putting off his clothes, as one that noddeth in a chayre. For he that taketh pains, and industriously layes himself to sleep, in case any uncouth and exorbitant fancy come unto him, cannot easily think it other than a Dream.

2) And this is where Lisa Jarnot found her lemur (maybe):

The unformed matter of the World, was a God, by the name of Chaos.

The Heaven, the Ocean, the Planets, the Fire, the Earth, the Winds, were so many Gods.

Men, Women, a Bird, a Crocodile, a Calf, A Dogge, a Snake, an Onion, a Leeke, Deified. Besides, that they filled almost all places, with spirits called Daemons: the plains, with Pan, and Panises, or Satyres; the Woods, with Fawnes, and Nymphs; the Sea, with Tritons, and other Nymphs; every River, and Fountayn, with a Ghost of his name, and with Nymphs; every house, with its Lares, or Familiars; every man, with his Genius; Hell with Ghosts, and spirituall Officers, as Charon, Cerberus, and the Furies; and in the night time, all places with Larvae, Lemures, Ghostof men deceased, and a whole kingdome of Fayries and Bugbears. They have also ascribed Divinity, and built Temples to meer Accidents, and Qualities; such as are Time, Night, Day, Peace, Concord, Love, Contention, Vertue, Honour, Health, Rust, Fever, and the like; which when they prayed for, or against, they prayed to, as if there were Ghosts of those names hanging over their heads, and letting fall, or withholding that Good, or Evill, for, or against which they prayed. They invoked also their own Wit, by the name of Muses; their own Ignorance, by the name of Fortune, their own Lust, by the name of Cupid; their own Rage, by the name Furies; their own privy members by the name Priapus; and attributed their pollutions, to Incubi, and Succubae: insomuch as there was nothing, which a Poet could introduce as a person in his Poem, which they did not make either a God, or a Divel.

3 comments:

John Sakkis said...

i tried, while i was working at UCSF...i couldn't do it...i left the book on the corner of Oak and Pierce...

Minor American said...

Yeah. It's pretty terrible in its ideology. I am reading it in comparison to Milton's politics, so it's not the only idea of government I have to deal with. Those passages, though, I think, are pretty beautiful. Maybe I should just post the beautiful passages, so no one else has to read the terrible ideas. The scary ideas. The leeks and the lemure are most excellent, I think.

rozydesouza said...

great ..thanks for sharing.....


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