LX:95 | Want of Discretion
The secret thoughts of a man run over all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave, and light, without shame or blame; which verbal discourse cannot do farther than the judgment shall approve of the time, place, and persons. An anatomist or a physician may speak or write his judgment of unclean things, because it is not to please, but profit; but for another man to write his extravagant and pleasant fancies of the same is as if a man, from being tumbled into the dirt, should come and present himself before good company. And it is the want of discretion that makes the difference. Again, in professed remissness of mind and familiar company, a man may play with the sounds and equivocal significations of words; and that many times with encounters of extraordinary fancy; but in a sermon, or in public, or before persons unknown, or whom we ought to reverence, there is no jingling of words that will not be accounted folly; and the difference is only in the want of discretion. So that where wit is wanting, it is not fancy that is wanting, but discretion. Judgment therefore without fancy is wit, but fancy without judgment, not. (39-40)
Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Ed. Edwin Curley. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 1994.
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Tags: Thomas Hobbes