Hobbes lived in a time of social and religious wars and political instability which formed his philosophy. Hobbes philosophy made a major break for the ancient Greek and medieval philosophy. Hobbes wanted to build a philosophy on a logically deductive basis which he understood to be the source of certainty and materialism. Hobbes use pride to serve his means of a controlling state or commonwealth an opposing God.
As Hobbes writes in chapter XV of Leviathan, Hobbes’s ninth law of nature forbids pride. Pride disrupts Hobbes notion that all men are equal in ability and that if men are equal in terms of giving up something, then they can enter into conditions of peace. Hobbes believes that one should give all authority in all things to the government to enable one to preserve oneself from harm or death. Hobbes understanding of nature and the creation of God reveals the harshest of nature and this serves to provoke pride in the human art. In Leviathan Hobbes art, which is first shown as a humble imitation of God’s art, and mans art is shown to be superior to nature. In this way, Hobbes moves pride from its difficult display between the art of man and the art of God. Hobbes states this in De Cive by saying, “That Man to Man is a kind of God”. This makes man as creator, who then can impose final ends and purposes on human associations that provide order and security for human life. Hobbes notion of God has God creator of a purposeless nature hostile to human life. Hobbes perception of nature is the aimless motion of matter and is intended to inflame men’s pride in their completion with nature. He begins his book Leviathan by stating, Nature is by the art of man, as many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an artificial animal.” (Intro 1) Man’s art, the height of which is the creation of Leviathan, is an imitation of God’s art, which is nature an endless motion of matter hostile to man. (XVII) The Leviathan is constructed with the final end of security and peace as understood by the authority of the commonwealth because God has failed to provide security and peace in nature.
The result of this is that the maintenance of human dominance rests on the commonwealth and to prevent the fall back into an inferior nature, pride thus provides the foundation for the complete individual sacrifice to the government. Hobbes faith in fear of a violent death is his reasoning is to create and preserve civil peace and obedience. Hobbes plea to the fear to keep oneself alive has been its bridge to the rationality need to make the commonwealth. From this connection between fear and rationality, Hobbes opposes the fear of a violent death to the two kinds of irrationality superstition and pride. Hobbes claims that the evil most sensibly is to avoid death, he disapprove of pride and the lack of concern with the body that results from it as idiotic and the product of disobedience to the state. Hobbes seems intent on turning man away from religion beliefs by presenting nature as nothing but matter in motion and he states that, “natural law should lose its growth, not advancing a whit beyond its ancient stature”.
Given Hobbes laws of nature, human rationality and the drive for self preservation, Hobbes explains that individuals in the state if nature are in a state of war and so see the need to flee the uncertain state forming government. The government then decides to “confer all their power and strength upon one man or upon one assemble” and so make that person or group with the supreme authority to act for each person of the commonwealth. Hobbes qualifies this notion that no one can or should give up the right to survive and this is the only limit to the contract. Hobbes says, I authorize and give up my rights of governing myself to this man or to this assembly of men on this condition that you give up your right to him and authorize all his actions in the like manner.” (Lav. Part II Ch. 17 pp. 190-192) Hobbes contract is useless without the power to enforce it. Words cannot keep a contract but the fear of the consequence of breaking the contract and the glory of not breaking it. Therefore the sovereign must have all the necessary power to enforce the contract and the people keep their contract strictly out of fear of harm and or death. (Lav. Part II Ch. 20 p.149) When making a contract with each individual member, once the contract is made, Hobbes notes, only he sovereign has the power to enforce it therefore any individual who claims the contract violated by the government would have no recourse. (Lav. Part II Ch.21 p.159)
After making contracts with the subject, Hobbes shows the need for fear to control pride.
Fear of death or at the bare minimum the longing for self-preservation is a powerful idea as well as an absolutely good and useful tool to Hobbes philosophy making fear the utterly superior to pride in both power and in goodness. Hobbes view pride is the opposite of fear and fear is the tool used for obedience to the person or group with supreme authority. To establish this Hobbes uses education to make it learned that self-interested fear of punishment may be a necessary cause for order in the commonwealth. Hobbes believes that fear is sufficient for destroying and controlling pride and the expressions of pride, which is to Hobbes resentence to the governmental authority.
Hobbes views art as first presented as humble imitation of God’s art, it becomes superior to nature. And it would be convincing men of the superiority of their art to nature that makes men willing to die for their commonwealth instead of returning to an inferior and defective state of nature which looks to harm man. In this way, men can fear death form the sovereign, as this fear is not in conflict with their pride which is dependent on the survival of the commonwealth, and overcome the fear of the enemy which is in conflict with their pride. Pride replaces fear in the glue that holds the commonwealth together. Hobbes thinks that if pride is controlled then the pride that manifests in honor loving and revenge that leads to war would not be.
This foundation that Hobbes forms leads ninth law of nature which is pride. Hobbes uses his notion of pride to construct if one does not give up ones right to a person or assembly then that man is prideful and is working against the commonwealth. Hobbes believes that the fear of law of nature, which is the fear of a violent death, is hostile to human life and that the commonwealth will secure one from the harshness of nature. Within the state of nature Hobbes says there is no injustice because the is no law, except for some natural precepts which are “that every man ought to endeavor peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it” and “that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far from peace and defense of himself he shall think necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men as he would allow other men against himself.” This is Hobbes reasoning for the way out of nature into government by mutual contract.
Hobbes notion of pride is a way that only goes against the commonwealth which is to Hobbes a mortal god. Pride is a way to merge his use of pride to control people of the commonwealth. This notion of the commonwealth being a god serves Hobbes to undermine religion beliefs of God as the ultimate authority and value of an afterlife. Hobbes says, “fear is the natural seed of religion,” and he shows that it can be used to “make man more apt to obedience, laws, peace, charity and civil society.” (Lav. Part XII Ch.12) Since the government must have the ability to cause the greatest punishment on its subjects. The belief and or desire for an afterlife devalues the fear of death and the power of government is diminished. For Hobbes death must be feared more than what will happen to one’s soul after a person is dead. This Hobbes way of undermining religion and the unknown to only the material thing one can see and feel.
Hobbes use nature as harmful to man that was created by God and the commonwealth or the Leviathan goes above nature to provide security and peace. In doing so Hobbes under minds the authority of God and nature and replaces it the authority of the commonwealth. Hobbes notion of pride is to prevent the fall back into an inferior nature, the nature that was created from God. If he under minds God then next he has to under mind religion. For Hobbes is the foundation of religion so Hobbes uses fear to destroying and controlling pride and the expressions of pride, which is to Hobbes a resentence to the governmental authority where a universal church would play a major role against the commonwealth. He moves the understanding of pride from being a bad thing in general to a way to under mind religion or the Church to a pride for the commonwealth and against the harmful nature of God. Hobbes turns pride into someone who resists the qualitative peace given by the authority of the commonwealth. Individual pride would go against the commonwealth and Hobbes tames it by connecting it to the obedience of the rules of the commonwealth. Thus, Hobbes believes that the fear of death which is inflected by the power of the commonwealth when one breaks his contract is pride. Hobbes’s pride is only a way to control the people of commonwealth and leads to giving all authority to the commonwealth.