but not really, because literally all I do as I read Hobbes is make frustrated faces and, as Crawford so eloquently put it, go WTF??
Right. I like lists. Let’s make one.
1. I found that the best way for me to understand this text (understand, ha) is to use a tip Miranda gave me to make sure my essays made sense. I decided to sum up the helpfully numbered and sometimes titled (titles! what!) sections to find their main idea. At the end I was supposed to sum up each chapter in a sentence but it hasn’t really worked out that way.
2. This blog post would be so much longer if it didn’t take me forever to figure out what Hobbes was saying and make sure that I’m interpreting it correctly. Also, time seems to slip away from me and distraction and procrastination are unfortunately my best friends.
So here we go! Part 1 of unidentifiable number of Liz trying to suss out what Hobbes is saying.
- Nature (the art whereby God hath made and governs the world) is by the art of man and in this can make an artificial animal
- Heart is but a spring
- Nerves but so many springs
- Joints but so many wheels
- Art imitates man
- All men (no distinction for any other kind of citizen) fear painful and sudden death
- Leviathan aka the state
- Sovereignty is an artificial soul and gives life and motion to the whole body
- Magistrates and officers are artificial joints that handle laws and their execution
- Reward and punishment is related to the seat of sovereignty and every join and member is prompted to perform this duty are the nerves
- Wealth and riches of all particular members are the strength
- People’s safety is it’s business
- Counselors who suggest all the needed things are the memory
- Equity and laws are an artificial reason and will
- Harmony between people is health
- Sedition is sickness
- Civil war is death
Rob really wasn’t kidding when he said that the introduction basically outlines Hobbes’ points for you. Unfortunately, we can’t just stop there. Cue the clips of me looking confused and heaving heavy sighs.
Part 1 – of Man
Chapter 1: Sense
- the thoughts of man exist singly and then in a train and have dependence on each other; singly there are a representation of an object 
- the first of these is sense and the rest are derived from this 
- the natural cause of sense isn’t necessary for my argument but I’ll go over it anyway 
- the cause of sense is the object that touches on all the senses and connects with the brain and heart and is outwardly projected as feeling; the sense in all cases is nothing but the original fancy caused by the motion of external things upon the organs of our body 
- other doctrines say otherwise and after that I’m not really sure what he’s trying to say 
Chapter 2: Imagination
- a thing that lies still will lie still forever unless disturbed and an object in motion will stay in motion until it is stopped; man, having experienced pain and mental weariness, thinks everything else grows weary of motion and seeks a pause of their own 
- when an object is in motion it will not stop moving immediately when it is hindered, but will do so gradually; imagination is therefore nothing but decaying sense 
- decaying sense is imagination but the decay itself is memory; imagination and memory are but one thing which has many different considerations and names 
- memory of many things is experience 
- imagination in sleep is a dream; a mind can experience no dreams and only experiences dreams when agitated by external circumstances of the body and outward influences 
- our dreams are the reverse of our waking imaginations 
- apparitions or visions are the most difficult to discern from a man’s dreams and his waking thoughts and usually plague those that are troubled 
- the ignorance of how to distinguish dreams from vision and sense stems from those who worshipped satyrs, fawns, etc.; none of these exist and are silly for only God can make unnatural apparitions; if the superstitious fear of spirits invoked by the ambitious persons preying on simple people didn’t exist men would be much more fit for civil obedience 
- basically most schools teach this wrong, moving along 
- imagination raised in a man by words or other voluntary signs if generally called understanding and applies to man and beast; they differ because man can understand his own will, but also conceptions and thoughts and different forms of speech 
Chapter 3: Consequence/Train of Imagination
- trains of thought are called mental discourse 
- the first type is those thoughts that are unguided, without design, and inconstant; these usually occur in men who are without company and without care of anything 
- the second type is more constant and are those trains of thought that are regulated by desire and design 
- the first regulated train of thought is common to man and beast where both will seek the causes and means to produce the imagined; the second is typical of man only where man imagines what he can do with something once he has it; the origin of remembrance is also discussed 
- foresight and produce/providence, but also sometimes wisdom is reached through the conjecture of using actions of the past to solve a problem in the present; the present only has a being in nature, things past have a being in memory only, and things to come have no being at all 
- (I just find this point interesting) prudence doesn’t distinguish man from beast; there are beasts only a year old that observe more, and pursue things that are good for them with prudence, than a child can do at ten 
- prudence is a presumption of the future contracted from the experience of time past; this conjecture has the same uncertainty with the conjecture of the future because they are both grounded only upon experience 
- whatever we imagine is finite; nothing is infinite; when things are infinite it’s only because we can’t conceive the end of said things and this is where we use God (not to conceive him since he’s incomprehensible) to honor him; no man can conceive anything, he has to do so in some place and then Hobbes stopped making sense to me aka time to read it over again 
Right. This was helpful to me. It might be silly or helpful or inconsequential to you. I ain’t bovvered.
Anyway, I’ll have to go on with slogging my way through my Hobbes: Liz Interprets Edition to make sure I get what he’s saying so I’ll probably make more silly blog posts as the week goes on. At least I hope I do. It’d be kind of counterproductive if I didn’t.
Never has my tweet from the lecture applied more than right now as I sink further into incoherency and shake my head at this sad, little blog post.
Filthy little Hobbistses.