self-preservation is the first law of nature

Cf. CICERO De Finibus IV. x. 25 primamque ex natura hanc habere appetitionem, ut conservemus nosmet ipsos, by nature our first impulse is to preserve ourselves.

a 1631 DONNE Biathanatos (1646) I. ii. It is onely upon this reason, that selfe-preservation is of Naturall Law.

1675 [MARVELL] Complete Poems (1872) I. 439 Self-preservation, Nature’s first great Law.

1681 DRYDEN Spanish Friar IV. ii. Self-preservation is the first of Laws:..When Subjects are oppress’d by Kings, They justifie Rebellion by that Law.

1821 SCOTT Pirate I. v. Triptolemus..had a reasonable share of that wisdom which looks towards self-preservation as the first law of nature.

1952 ‘A. A. FAIR’ Top of Heap xvii. Loyalty is a fine thing..but self-preservation is the first law of nature.

1975 P. D. JAMES Black Tower vii. What it amounted to was that he’d do a great deal for dear Maggie but that self-preservation was the first law of nature.


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  • Law of nature — Law Law (l[add]), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. l[ o]g, Sw. lag, Dan. lov; cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Conditional preservation of the saints — The Five Articles of Remonstrance Conditional election Unlimited atonement Total depravity …   Wikipedia

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  • nature — see nature abhors a vacuum you can drive out nature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back self preservation is the first law of nature …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • preservation — see self preservation is the first law of nature …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • Nature (philosophy) — Nature is a concept with two major sets of inter related meanings, referring on the one hand to the things which are natural, or subject to the normal working of laws of nature , or on the other hand to the essential properties and causes of… …   Wikipedia

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  • Preservation (library and archival science) — Preservation is a branch of library and information science concerned with maintaining or restoring access to artifacts, documents and records through the study, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of decay and damage. [cite web… …   Wikipedia

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