To ascertain the most proper method of obtaining these conveniences, we should:
consider what are the natural wants of mankind which are to be supplied,
show wherein opulence consists.
If we differ from common opinions, we shall at least give the reasons for our non-conformity.
Nature produces for every animal everything that is needed to support it.
It does not need to improve the original production.
Food, clothes, and lodging are all the wants of any animal.
Most of the animals are sufficiently provided for by nature in all their wants.
Only man does not have any object produced to his liking.
He finds that improvement is needed in everything.
The food of savages needs no preparation.
But after being acquainted with fire, he finds that it can be made more wholesome and easily digested.
It may preserve him from many violent diseases.
But it is not only his food that requires this improvement.
His puny constitution is also hurt by the intemperature of the air which is not very capable of improvement.
But it must be brought to a proper temperament for his body.
An artificial atmosphere is prepared for this purpose.
The human skin cannot endure the inclemencies of the weather.
Even in those countries where the air is warmer than the natural warmth of the constitution, and where they have no need of clothes, it must be stained and painted to be able to endure the hardships of the sun and rain.
Generally however, man's necessities are not so great.
They can be supplied by the unassisted labour of the individual.
Everyone can provide all the above necessities for himself, such as:
animals and fruits for food, and
skins for clothing.
The delicacy of a man’s body requires more provision than that of any other animal.
The same or rather the much greater delicacy of his mind requires a still greater provision to which all the different arts [are] subservient.
Man is the only animal who is possessed of such a nicety that the very colour of an object hurts him.
Among different objects a different division or arrangement of them pleases.
The taste of beauty consists chiefly in:
easy connection, and
These are the cause of all this niceness.
Nothing without variety pleases us.
A long uniform wall is a disagreeable object.
Uniformity tires the mind.
Too much variety, such as the crowded objects of a parterre, is also disagreeable.
Too much variety, too far increased, creates an over-great dissipation of the mind.
Easy connection also renders objects agreeable.
When we see no reason for the contiguity of the parts, when they are without any natural connection, when they have neither a proper resemblance nor contrast, they never fail of being disagreeable.
If simplicity of order be not observed, so as that the whole may be easily comprehended, it hurts the delicacy of our taste.
Again, imitation and painting render objects more agreeable.
To see upon a plain, trees, forests, and other such representations, is an agreeable surprise to the mind.
Variety of objects also renders them agreeable.
What we are every day accustomed to does but very indifferently affect us.
Gems and diamonds are on this account much esteemed by us.
Similarly, our pinchbeck and many of our toys were so much valued by the Indians.
In bartering their jewels and diamonds for them, they thought they had made by much the better bargain.
Chapter 2: All the Arts are subservient to the Natural Wants of Mankind
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.
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.