Five Human Commonalities. Intro by Thomas Hobbes.

Intro. We are equally vulnerable.

Nature hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind, as that, thought there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man and man [and woman*] is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which any other may not pretend as well as he. For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by  secret machination or by confederacy with others that are in the same danger with himself. (* “…there is not always that difference of strength or prudence between a man and a woman…” p. 181)

Hobbes, Thomas. “Leviathan, revised edition, edited by AP Martinich and Brian Battiste.” London/Peterborough: Broadview Editions (2011). Part I, Ch. XIII, 13., p. 121.

  1. We are sensing things. 

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“All men by nature desire to know.  An indication we have for this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness, they are desired for themselves….”

Aristotle. Trans. W.D. Ross. Metaphysics. Book I. Part I.

2. We are social things.

“Justice and injustice are none of the faculties neither of the body nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his senses and passions. They are qualities that relate to men in society, not in solitude.”

Leviathan, revised edition, edited by AP Martinich and Brian Battiste.” London/Peterborough: Broadview Editions (2011). Part I, Ch. XIII, 13., p. 125.

*Note: By “passions” is not meant “emotions,” but rather impulses to action, namely desire (approaching or going toward) and aversion (retreating or drawing away from). Think of the snail, feeling its way along, sensing, perhaps moving toward moisture and food. When the snail is disturbed, it retreats into its shell. Then slowly, one tentative stalk protrudes to see if the coast is clear.

3. We are the same kind of sensing, social things.

Hence,

(Here I take some liberty with Shylock’s reply to Salarino in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice),

“I am a [human]. Hath not a [human] eyes? Hath not a [human] hands, organs, senses, dimensions, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as [any other]? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?”

The Merchant of Venice. Act III. Scene I. Venice. A Street.

4. We suffer.

See, What is a Theodicy?

5. And we die.

“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.”

Ecclesiastes 3:19, KJV



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  1. Introducing Theodicy. What on earth is a theodicy?! – pam-mentations.com
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