The State of Nature

Separating facts from fictions
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The State of Nature

Postby Gnosty » 11 Jan 2004, 13:29

"It is there shown, that an emotion can only be restrained by an emotion stronger than and contrary to itself, and that men avoid inflicting injury through fear of incurring a greater injury themselves.

On this law, society can be established so long as it keeps in its own hand the right, possessed by everyone, of avenging injury and pronouncing on good and evil; and provided it also possesses the power to lay down a general rule of conduct, and to pass laws sanctioned; not by reason, which is powerless in restraining emotion, but by threats. Such a society, established with laws and the power of preserving itself, is called a State, while those who live under its protection are called Citizens. We may readily understand that there is in the state of nature nothing, which by universal consent is pronounced good or bad; for in the state of nature, everyone thinks solely of his own advantage and, according to his disposition with reference only to his individual advantage, decides what is good or bad, being bound by no law to anyone besides himself.

In the state of nature, therefore, sin is inconceivable; it [sin] can only exist in a State, where good and evil are pronounced on by common consent, and where everyone is bound to obey the State authority. Sin, then, is nothing else but disobedience, which is therefore punished by the right of the State only. Obedience, on the other hand, is set down as merit, inasmuch as a man is thought worthy of merit, if he takes delight in the advantages which a State provides.

Again, in the state of nature, no one is by common consent master of anything, nor is there anything in nature which can be said to belong to one man rather than another: All things are common to all. Hence, in the state of nature, we can conceive no wish to render to every man his own, or to deprive a man of that which belongs to him. In other words, there is nothing in the state of nature answering to justice and injustice. Such ideas are only possible in a social State, when it is decreed by common consent what belongs to one man and what to another.

From all these considerations, it is evident that justice and injustice, sin and merit, are extrinsic ideas and not attributes which display the nature of the mind." -- Spinoza: Ethica, The State of Nature, from Proposition 37
Only the harmonics of the LifeCross will bring Living Light to humanity - Michael Edward

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