Wisedome is acquired, not by reading of Books, but of Men. Consequently whereunto, those persons, that for the most part can give no other proof of being wise, take great delight to shew what they think they have read in men, by uncharitable censures of one another behind their backs. But there is another saying not of late understood, by which they might learn truly to read one another, if they would take the pains; and that is, Nosce Teipsum, Read Thy Self: which was not meant, as it is now used, to countenance, either the barbarous state of men in power, towards their inferiors; or to encourage men of low degree, to a sawcie behaviour towards their betters; But to teach us, that for the similitude of the thoughts, and Passions of one man, to the thoughts, and Passions of another, whosoever looketh into himselfe, and considereth what he doth, when he does Think, Opine, Reason, Hope, Feare, &c, and upon what grounds; he shall thereby read and know, what are the thoughts, and Passions of all other men, upon the like occasions.
Thomas Hobbes’ , The Leviathan 1651
Thomas Hobbes, being a man of letters who was caught up in the English civil war, wrote The Leviathan; it was his response to his times. Although published in 1651 it holds many lessons for our age. His asked the question, how in troubled times can we stop ourselves from sliding into civil discord and barbarity? His controversial answers have stimulated political discussion for hundreds of years. This web site takes it’s inspiration from one simple answer, through understanding that all People have common needs and feelings we may come to understand our shared humanity. Through understanding our shared humanity we will see the value in “the other” and come to the realization that we are all equally worthy of nature’s gifts.
This does not mean we will be spared political disagreement, we know that people of good morals can have honest disagreements. Perhaps the realization will allow us to mange our disagreements, and ourselves, civilly. Is this not Hobbes ultimate point of civil society?