CHAPTER XIII OF THE NATURAL CONDITION OF MANKIND AS CONCERNING THEIR FELICITY AND MISERY
NATURE hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind as that, though 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 is
not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another 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.
And as to the faculties of the mind, setting aside the arts grounded upon words, and especially that skill of proceeding
upon general and infallible rules, called science, which very few have and but in few things, as being not a native faculty
born with us, nor attained, as prudence, while we look after somewhat else, I find yet a greater equality amongst men than
that of strength. For prudence is but experience, which equal time equally bestows on all men in those things they equally
apply themselves unto. That which may perhaps make such equality incredible is but a vain conceit of one's own wisdom, which
almost all men think they have in a greater degree than the vulgar; that is, than all men but themselves, and a few others,
whom by fame, or for concurring with themselves, they approve. For such is the nature of men that howsoever they may acknowledge
many others to be more witty, or more eloquent or more learned, yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves;
for they see their own wit at hand, and other men's at a distance. But this proveth rather that men are in that point equal,
than unequal. For there is not ordinarily a greater sign of the equal distribution of anything than that every man is contented
with his share.
From this equality of ability ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our ends. And therefore if any two men desire
the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their end (which is principally
their own conservation, and sometimes their delectation only) endeavour to destroy or subdue one another. And from hence it
comes to pass that where an invader hath no more to fear than another man's single power, if one plant, sow, build, or possess
a convenient seat, others may probably be expected to come prepared with forces united to dispossess and deprive him, not
only of the fruit of his labour, but also of his life or liberty. And the invader again is in the like danger of another.
And from this diffidence of one another, there is no way for any man to secure himself so reasonable as anticipation;
that is, by force, or wiles, to master the persons of all men he can so long till he see no other power great enough to endanger
him: and this is no more than his own conservation requireth, and is generally allowed. Also, because there be some that,
taking pleasure in contemplating their own power in the acts of conquest, which they pursue farther than their security requires,
if others, that otherwise would be glad to be at ease within modest bounds, should not by invasion increase their power, they
would not be able, long time, by standing only on their defence, to subsist. And by consequence, such augmentation of dominion
over men being necessary to a man's conservation, it ought to be allowed him.
Again, men have no pleasure (but on the contrary a great deal of grief) in keeping company where there is no power able
to overawe them all. For every man looketh that his companion should value him at the same rate he sets upon himself, and
upon all signs of contempt or undervaluing naturally endeavours, as far as he dares (which amongst them that have no common
power to keep them in quiet is far enough to make them destroy each other), to extort a greater value from his contemners,
by damage; and from others, by the example.
So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly,
The first maketh men invade for gain; the second, for safety; and the third, for reputation. The first use violence, to
make themselves masters of other men's persons, wives, children, and cattle; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles,
as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue, either direct in their persons or by reflection
in their kindred, their friends, their nation, their profession, or their name.
Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition
which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man. For war consisteth not in battle only, or the act
of fighting, but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known: and therefore the notion
of time is to be considered in the nature of war, as it is in the nature of weather. For as the nature of foul weather lieth
not in a shower or two of rain, but in an inclination thereto of many days together: so 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. All other
time is peace.
Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the
time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal....