Home > Uncategorized > Samuel von Pufendorf: Perverted animals wage wars for superfluities

Samuel von Pufendorf: Perverted animals wage wars for superfluities


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

German writers on peace and war

Plato: All wars arise for the sake of gaining money


Samuel von Pufendorf
From On the Duty of Man and Citizen
Translator unknown

Now man shares with all the animals that have consciousness the fact that he holds nothing dearer than himself…

Yet this animal, though so useful to his kind, suffers from not a few faults, and is endowed with no less power to injure; which facts make contact with him rather uncertain, and call for great caution, that one may not receive evil from him instead of good. First of all, there is generally a greater tendency to injure found in man than in any of the brutes. For the brutes are usually excited by the desire for food and for love, both of which, however, they can themselves easily satisfy. But having stilled that craving, they are not readily roused to anger or to injure people, unless someone provokes them. But man is an animal at no time disinclined to lust, and by its goad he is excited much more frequently than would seem necessary for the conservation of the race. And his belly desires not merely to be satisfied, but also to be tickled, and often craves more than nature is able to digest. That the brutes should not need clothing nature has provided. But man delights to clothe himself, not for necessity only, but also for display. Many more passions and desires unknown to the brutes are found in man, as the desire to have superfluities, avarice, the love of glory and eminence, envy, emulation, and rivalry of wits. Witness the fact that most wars, in which men clash with men, are waged for reasons unknown to the brutes.

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