Tag Archives: Pierre Bayle

Marginalia, no.199

If his philosophy freed him from the former fear and not from the latter, it did not hinder him from being miserable.

~ Pierre Bayle, Dictionary

It was rumored that Thomas Hobbes disliked being alone because he was afraid of ghosts. Bayle quotes a contemporary biographer who scoffs at the idea: It’s not that Hobbes was afraid of “spectres and apparitions, vain bugbears of fools,” he says; these he “chased away by the light of his philosophy.” Instead, he feared assassination (hence Bayle’s comment above). This morning I united both concerns when I looked in the mirror and mistook myself for an executioner’s ghostly victim. That’s how nearly last night’s haircut approximates decapitation.

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