Chapter 2 of Part 2 Section 2

All the Arts are subservient to the Natural Wants of Mankind

September 29, 2015

Those qualities, which are the ground of preference, and which give occasion to pleasure and pain, are the cause of many insignificant demands, which we by no means stand in need of.

The industry of human life is not employed in procuring food, clothes and lodging. It is employed in procuring those conveniences according to the nicety and delicacy of our taste. To improve and multiply the materials, which are the principal objects of our necessities, creates all the variety of the arts.

In agriculture, the principal object is the supply of food.

It introduces=

  • the tilling of the ground,
  • the planting of trees,
  • the producing of flax, hemp, etc.

Different manufactures are introduced through these, which are so very capable of improvement. The metals dug from the earth furnish materials for tools used for many of these arts. Commerce and navigation are also subservient to the same purposes by collecting the produce of these several arts. By these again other subsidiary [arts] are created.

Writing, to record the multitude of transactions, and geometry, which serves many useful purposes. Law and government, too, seem to propose no other object but this. They secure the individual who has enlarged his property, that he may peaceably enjoy the fruits of it.

By law and government=

  • all the different arts flourish. It creates and sufficiently preserves that inequality of fortune.
  • domestic peace is enjoyed and security from the foreign invader.

Wisdom and virtue too derive their lustre from supplying these necessities. For as the establishment of law and government is the highest effort of human prudence and wisdom, the causes cannot have a different influence from what the effects have

Besides, it is by the wisdom and probity of those with whom we live that a propriety of conduct is pointed out to us, and the proper means of attaining it.

  • Their valour defends us
  • Their benevolence supplies us.

By these divine qualities, the hungry are fed and the naked are clothed. Thus, all things are subservient to supplying our threefold necessities.


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