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foreign to the sense in which I desire to use them. It is
enough to give notice of this once for all. But see the cause
of these affections in Coroll. 1, Prop, xxvii., and Schol. to
Prop. xxii. of this Part.


' XXL Over-estimation consists in thinking too highly of Over-
another person on account of our Love for him. (The C4erman estimatlon
Schicdrmerei perhaps expresses Spinoza's idea.)

' XXII. Depreciation consists in thinking too little of a Depiecia-
person on account of our Hatred for him. tl0D '

1 Explanation. — Thus over-estimation (Schwarmerei) is an
affection or property of Love, and Depreciation is an affection
or property of Hatred; and therefore Over-estimation may
be also defined as Love in so far as it causes a man to think
too highly of the beloved object; and on the other hand,
Depreciation may be denned as Hatred in so far as it causes
a man to think more meanly than is just of the object of his
Hate (see Schol. to Prop, xxvii. of this Part).

' XXIII. Envy is Hatred in so far as it causes a man to be Envy,
grieved by the happiness of another, and to be gladdened by
another's woe.

'Explanation. — With Envy is commonly contrasted Com-
passion (Misericordia), which accordingly, though somewhat
against the usual understanding of the word, may be defined
as follows.

' XXIV. Good-nature l is Love in so far as it causes a man Good-
to be gladdened by the good fortune of another and to be uature -
grieved by another's woe.

1 Explanation. — With regard to other properties of Envy, see

Schol. to Prop. xxiv. and Schol. to Prop, xxxii. of this Part.

These then are the affections of Joy and Grief which are

associated with the idea of an external object as cause, either

by itself or accidentally. I now pass on to consider other The Author

passes from

1 Spinoza's word is misericordia. But I cannot agree that ' com. ^ e . c 10us
• , • r -r having an

passion fits its meaning here ; for ' compassion in English is not external

concerned with another's yood fortune. It seems to me impossible to to those

maintain substantial accuracy here if we insist on rendering ? iaviu = , au

misericordia by the same English word as in the Explanation cause.

of Def. xviii. In that explanation Spinoza had in mind the habit of

pity connoted by the word. Here he has in mind the connotation

of kind-heartedness which sympathises with both the good and evil

fortune of others. I can find no English word which precisely suits

both senses.






Effect of
custom and

affections which have the idea of something within us as

1 XXV. Self-satisfaction is Joy arising from a man's contem-
plation (realisation) of himself and his personal power of

'XXVI. Humility is Grief arising from a man's contem-
plation (realisation) of his personal impotence and helpless-

'Explanation. — Self-satisfaction finds its opposite in Humility,
so far as by the former we understand Joy arising from
our contemplation of our power of action. But so far as we
understand also by self-satisfaction, Joy with the concomitant
idea of something done which we believe we have accom-
plished by a free l resolve of the Mind, then it finds its oppo-
site in Repentance, which is defined by us as follows.

' XXVII. Repentance is Grief with the concomitant idea of
something done which we believe we have accomplished by a
free resolve of the Mind.

' Explanation. — Of these affections we have shown the causes
in Schol. to Prop. li. and in Props, liii.-lv. of this Part. As to
a free resolve of the Mind, see Schol. to Prop, xxxv., Part II.
But here I must farther observe that there is no wonder if
Grief follow all those actions which by custom are called
wicked, and if Joy follow those which are called right. For
that this depends mainly on education we readily understand
from what has been said above. 2 For instance, parents, by
reprobating the former class of actions and continually scold-
ing their children on account of them, while they urge and
praise the latter class of actions, have succeeded in connecting
emotions of Grief with the former and of Joy with the latter.
Indeed, this is confirmed by experience. For custom and
religion are not the same to all (races). On the contrary,
things sacred amongst some are profane amongst others ; and

1 N.B. — Spinoza uses the word ' free ' here in the vulgar sense of un-
caused, and not in the sense assigned to it in the doctrine of God, of
adequate ideas and adequate causes.

2 I.e. in the previous parts of the Ethics.


things honourable among some are base among others. It
depends therefore on the education that each has received,
whether he repents of a deed or glories in it. 1

' XXVIII. Pride is thinking too much of ourselves on Pride,
account of Self-love.

'Explanation. — Pride therefore differs from Over-estimation
inasmuch as the latter refers to an external object, but Pride to
the man himself who thinks too much of himself. Farther, as
Over-estimation is an affection or property of Love, so Pride is
an affection or property of Self-love ; and it may therefore be
defined as a man's Self-love or Self-satisfaction in so far as it
causes him to think of himself more highly than he ought to
think 2 (see Schol. to Prop. xxvi. of this Part). To this
affection there is no contrary. For no one through hatred Pride has
of himself thinks of himself less than he ought. Nay, no one contrary,
thinks too little of himself because he conceives himself
unable to do this or that. For whatever a man conceives he
cannot do, the conception is of necessity (i.e. inevitable) ; and
by that conception he is so affected that he is actually in-
capable of doing what he conceives he cannot do. For as
long as he conceives that he is not able to do this or that, so
long there is no determination to action, and of course so
long it is impossible that he should do it. And yet, if we
pay attention to things dependent on opinion alone, we may
conceive it possible that a man may think of himself less than
is just. For it may happen that some one, when he sadly But in-
considers his own helplessness, may imagine that he is gi^ordinL
despised by everybody, and this although no one has the tion to the
slightest idea of despising him. Besides, a man may think opinion of
too little of himself if he denies concerning his present self otliers > a n

. • *_ i • -i i apparent

something that has relation to a future time about which he opposite

doubts. For instance, if he should deny that he can conceive maybe 6 en-


1 It is obvious that in such passages Spinoza is speaking of mankind
without the light of Reason ; just as St. Paul in Romans i. and ii.
speaks of mankind without the Gospel.

2 Spinoza does not quote St. Paul, but the parallelism is tempting.
' Plusjwto sentiat' is what Spinoza wrote.



This ia



of anything with definite clearness, or that he can either
desire nor do anything but what is wicked or base. We may
therefore say that a man thinks too little of himself when we
observe that through excessive fear of shame he does not
dare those things which others his equals dare. This affec-
tion, then, we may set over against Pride, and I will call it
self-depreciation. For as Pride springs from Self-satisfaction,
so from Humility springs Self-depreciation, which accordingly
is denned as follows.

' XXIX. Self-depreciation is thinking too little of one's self
through depression (Tristilia).

'Explanation. Still we are often in the habit of contrasting
Humility with Pride as its opposite, but only when we fix
our attention more on their effects than on their nature.
For we are accustomed to call that man proud who boasts
too much, who talks only of his own virtues and other
people's vices, who desires to take precedence of every one,
and who, in fine, marches along with such stateliness and
pomp as are the prerogative of others placed far above him.
On the other hand, we call that man humble who very often
blushes, who confesses his failings and tells of the virtues of
others, who gives way to every one, and who, in fine, walks
with bent head and neglects to adorn himself. But, indeed,
these affections, I mean Humility and Self-depreciation, are
very uncommon. For human nature, considered in itself,
resists them with all its force (see Props, xiii. and liv. of this
Part) ; and so those who are supposed to be self-depreciatory
and humble are very generally most ambitious and full of

1 XXX. Glorying l is Joy with the concomitant idea of some
action of ours which we suppose others to praise.

'XXXI. Shame is Grief with the concomitant idea of some
action which we suppose others to reprobate.

1 The word is justified by the Anglican Version of the Bible

(1 Cor. v. 6, etc.), and seems nearer to Spinoza's meaning than

'self -exaltation,' which may be totally regardless of the praise of


' On these affections see Schol. to Prop. xxx. of this Part.
But here should be noted the difference existing between
Shame and Modesty. For Shame is Grief that follows a deed
by which we feel disgraced. But Modesty is that Fear or
Dread of Shame by which a man is restrained from doing
anything disgraceful. To Modesty is usually opposed Im-
pudence, which, properly speaking, is not an affection, as I
will show in due course. But the names of affections, as I
have already warned my readers, are matters rather of usage
than of the nature of the affections.

1 1 have now discharged the task which I had set myself of
explaining the affections of Joy and Grief. I go on now Affections
to those which I ascribe to Desire. of Deslre,

' XXXII. Yearning 1 is the desire or longing to enjoy Yearning,
something when the longing is quickened by the recollection
of the object of Desire, but is at the same time hampered by
the recollection of other things which exclude the existence
of the desired object.

' Explanation. — Whenever we call to mind any object, as we
have often said, we are by the very fact disposed to regard
that object with the same mental affection as if it were pre-
sent. But so long as we are awake, this disposition or effort
is very much hampered by the images of things which ex-
clude the existence of the object that we recollect. Thus
whenever we recollect an object which affects us with any
kind of Joy, we of necessity try to contemplate it as present
and (to realise) the same kind of Joy as before. But this
effort is instantly hampered by the recollection of things
which exclude the existence of that object. So that Yearn-
ing is in reality a Grief, the exact opposite of that Joy
which arises from the absence of an object that we hate. (On
which see Schol. to Prop, xlvii. of this Part.) But because
the name Yearning seems related to Desire, I include this
affection among those of Desire.

1 XXXIII. Emulation is the desire which is begotten in us Emulation.

1 Desiderhim. Compare the Scottish word 'wearying for.' I
cannot agree that the bare word • regret ' renders it.








for an object because we conceive that others have the same

' Explanation. — He who flees because he sees others flee,
who fears because he sees others fear; or again, he who
snatches his hand back and moves his body as though his
hand had been burned, because he sees that some one else
has burned his hand, may be said indeed to imitate the
affection of another, but we do not call this emulation. Not
that we know there is one cause for emulation and another
for imitation, but because it is an established custom to call
only that man emulous who imitates what we judge to be
honourable, useful, or agreeable. But as to the causes of
Emulation, see Prop, xxvii. of this Part and the Scholium.
And as to the reason why Envy is so often connected with
this affection, see Prop, xxxii. of this Part and the Scholium.

1 XXXIV. Thankfulness or Gratitude is Desire, or a devotion
of Love by which we endeavour to benefit him, who, from a
similar affection of Love, has done good to us. (Props, xxxix.
and xli., Part III.)

'XXXV. Benevolence is the Desire of doing good to any
one whom we pity (see Schol. to Prop, xxvii. of this Part).

1 XXXVI. Anger is the Desire by which we are impelled
through hatred to injure him whom we hate. (Prop, xxxix.,
Part in.)

'XXXVII. Vengeance is the Desire by which, through
mutual hatred, we are impelled to injure him who, through
a similar affection, has injured us. See 2 Coroll., Prop. xl. of
this Part, with the Scholium.

1 XXXVIII. Cruelty or Ferocity is the Desire by which
any one is impelled to do harm to one whom we love or
whom we pity. 1

' Explanation. — To Cruelty is opposed Mercy, which is not

1 The definition seems curious ; but it is to a certain extent justi-
fied by the totally different views taken of inter-racial ' atrocities '
by those who commit them and the friends of the sufferers — e.y. the
Turks and the English sympathisers with Armenian Christians, or the
whites in South Africa and the Aborigines Protection Society.


a passion, but a power of the Mind by which a man restrains
anger and vengeance.

' XXXIX. Timidity is the Desire of avoiding the greater of Fear,
two dreaded evils by (accepting) the less. (See Schol. to
Prop, xxxix. of this Part.)

1 XL. Boldness is the Desire inciting a man to do something Boldness,
dangerous which his fellows fear to risk.

1 XLI. Cowardice is ascribed to him whose Desire is checked Cowardice,
by dread of a danger which his fellows dare to meet.

'Explanation. — Cowardice, therefore, is nothing other than
the dread of some evil which most people do not usually fear ;
wherefore I do not include Cowardice among affections of
Desire. Nevertheless I have wished to explain it here, be-
cause so long as we keep in view Desire, Cowardice is the
exact opposite of Boldness.

1 XLIL Consternation is affirmed of the man whose desire Consterna-
of avoiding evil is paralysed by astonishment (horror) at the lon '
evil he fears.

1 Explanation. — Consternation is therefore a kind of coward-
ice. But since Consternation arises from a double Dread,
it may be more aptly defined as that Dread which holds a
man stupefied or wavering, so that he cannot remove an evil.
I say "stupefied," in so far as we understand his desire of
removing the evil to be restrained by his astonishment. I
say "wavering," in so far as we conceive the same Desire
to be hampered by the fear of another evil which equally
tortures him ; so that he does not know which of the two
evils to avoid. (See Schol., Prop, xxxix., and Schol., Prop, lii.,
Part in. Farther, as to Cowardice and Boldness, see Schol.,
Prop, li., Part III.)

' XLIII. Courtesy or Affability is the Desire of doing those Courtesy or
things which please men and omitting those which displease a J lty '

'XLIV. Ambition is the excessive desire of Glory. Ambition.

'Explanation. — Ambition is a Desire by which all the
Affections are nourished and strengthened ; and on that
account this particular Affection can hardly be overcome.



the excessive Desire and Love of

For so long as a man is influenced by any Desire at all, he is
inevitably influenced by this. "Every noblest man," says
Cicero, "is chiefly actuated by glory. Even Philosophers
attach their names to the books they write concerning con-
tempt of glory, etc."

Luxury. ■ XLV. Luxuriousness is the excessive Desire or Love of

voluptuous living.

inebriety. ' XL VI. Inebriety is

Avarice. ' XLVII. Avarice is the excessive Desire and Love of


Lust. 'XL VIII. Lust is the like Love and Desire of sexual


* Explanation. — Whether this desire of sexual intercourse be
held within bounds or not, it is usually called Lust. More-
over, these five last-mentioned affections (as I have noted in
the Schol. to Prop. lvi. of this Part) have no contrary affec-
tions. For Affability is a sort of Ambition (as to which see
Schol. to Prop. xxix. of this Part). And I have already
pointed out that Temperance, Sobriety, and Chastity suggest
, and not a passion. And although it
an avaricious, or an ambitious, or a
cowardly man may abstain from gluttony or drunkenness or
debauchery, still Avarice, Ambition, and Timidity are not
therefore the contraries of Luxury, Drunkenness, and Lust.
For the avaricious man generally desires to guzzle as much
meat and drink as he can at the expense of some one else.
Again, the ambitious man, if only he hopes to keep it a
secret, will restrain himself in nothing, and if he lives
amongst drunkards and libertines will, precisely because he
is ambitious, be the more given to the same vices. Lastly,
the coward does that which he would rather not. For al-
though to avoid death he may throw his wealth into the sea,
yet he remains avaricious. 1 And if the lascivious man is
grieved because he cannot act according to his manner, he

1 The subject of the sentence is evidently a man who is both
cowardly and avaricious.

a power of the Mind
may well be that


does not on that account cease to be lascivious. Universally,
therefore, these affections have regard not so much to the
mere actions of eating, drinking, and so on, as to Appetite
and Love itself. Nothing therefore can be opposed as a
contrary to these affections except nobility of soul and
strength of mind, as we shall see afterwards.

1 The definitions of Jealousy and other vacillations of Jealousy,
mind I pass over in silence, partly because they are com- etc '
pounded of the affections which we have already denned,
partly because very many of them have no (specific) names.
And this latter fact shows that, for the practical purposes of
Life, it is sufficient to recognise only the genus to which
they belong. Moreover, it follows from the Definitions of the
affections which we have described, that they all spring from
Desire, Joy, or Grief, or rather that there are no other
affections beside these three, of which each one passes under
various names, varying as their relations and external signs
vary. If now we give attention to these elementary affec-
tions, and to what we have said above as to the nature of the
Mind, we shall be able here to define the affections in so far
as they relate to the Mind alone.

General Definition of the Affections.

' An affection, called also animi pathema, is a confused
idea by which the Mind affirms of the Body or of any part
of it, a greater or less power of existence than before, and
this increase of power being given, the Mind is determined to
one particular thought rather than another.

1 Explanation.— I say first that an Affection, or Passion of
the Mind, is a confused idea. For we have shown (Prop. iii.
of this Part) that the Mind is passive only so far as it has
inadequate or confused ideas. I say in the next place by
which the Mind affirms of the Body or of any part of it a greater or
less power of existence than before. For all ideas that we have
of bodies indicate the actual constitution of our own body


rather than the nature of an external body (Coroll. 2,
Prop, xiv., Part II.). But this idea which constitutes the form
of an Affection must indicate or express the condition of the
Body or of some part of it ; which condition the Body or any
part of it possesses from the fact that its power of action
or force of existence is increased or diminished, helped or
limited. But observe, when I speak of a greater or less force
of existence than before, I do not mean that the Mind compares
the present with the past condition of the Body : but that
the idea which constitutes the form of the Affection affirms
of the Body something which necessarily implies more or
less of reality than before. And since the Essence of the
Mind consists in this (Props, xi. and xiii., Part II.), that it
affirms the actual existence of its Body, and since we under-
stand by Perfection, the very essence of a thing, it follows
therefore that the Mind passes to a greater or less perfection
when it happens to it to affirm of its Body or of some part
of it what involves a greater or less reality than before.
When therefore I have said above that the Mind's power of
thought was increased or diminished, I intended nothing
other than that the Mind has formed an idea of its Body or
of some part of its Body, which idea expresses more or less of
reality than the Mind had before affirmed of its Body. For
the excellence of ideas and the actual power of thought are
estimated by the excellence of the object. Finally, I have
added " which being given the Mind itself is determined to one
particular thought rather than another" that I might also ex-
press the nature of Desire in addition to that of Joy and
Grief which the first part of the Definition explains.'



The Fourth and Fifth Parts of the Ethica contain the Scope of

practical application of the principles laboriously de- and Fifth

tailed in the three previous Parts. And this practical

application consists in an exposition of the alternative

effects or consequences to man of the truths propounded.

That is to say, those truths make either for the moral

bondage of man or else for his moral freedom. And

the question as to which of these two alternative results

is to be realised in our own case will be decided by

the attitude we adopt toward the truths already proved.

Thus if we are content to have only inadequate ideas, A practical

, , i • i , • application

and always to be inadequate causes, we must remain of prin-
in bondage. But if, on the other hand, we achieve a down.
serviceable stock of adequate ideas, and — at least in
the chief affairs of life — those of conduct — can be our-
selves adequate causes, then we attain the only freedom
possible to active life whether in body or mind, the
consciousness of spontaneity, of acting as we would,
and not as we are compelled.

1 Human impotence in the discipline and control of the Idea of
mental and bodily affections I call bondage (servitufcm), bondage.
For a man subordinated to his affections is not under his



own dominion but under that of fortune. And under that
power it often befalls that although he may see what is better
for himself, he is compelled to follow what is worse. The
reason for this, and what else of good or evil the affections
possess, I purpose to show in this Part. But before I begin
this, I think well to make a few prefatory remarks on
perfection and imperfection and on good and evil.'
The idea of Those prefatory words I proceed as usual to para-

perfection c J r *■

purely phrase with here and there a free translation. The

anthropo- A

morphic, idea of Perfection, says the Master, that is, finishing,

or completion, originates in the experience of a finite

maker, for instance, of a house. Such an one, when

he has got the roof on and has put the last touch to

measured everything inside, says, ' There, that is finished — per*

tention of fected.' And of any such mortal work, whether house,

m Pit pt

or carriage, or boat, of which we know by experience

the intended final shape, the purpose of the maker, we

can say whether it is finished, that is, perfect, or only

and the part finished and imperfect. 'But if any man sees a

latter being r , J

unknown, product, the like of which he never saw before and
mentis does not know the intention of the maker, that man
certainly cannot say whether the thing is perfect (finished)
or not.' To put a case unknown in the Master's days ;
suppose we come upon a ' find ' of pre-pala3olithic, or
SitMc im- ' eo ^ n ^ c ' weapons. It is quite possible there may be
piements. many unfinished among them. Yet it would be difficult,
if not impossible, in the present state of our knowledge
to say confidently which they are. For whatever know-
ledge we may have, even of the oldest palaeolithic
weapons hitherto observed, it does not avail us much
here. Because a very much rougher article served the
purpose of the earlier race, and what to the eolithic

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Online LibraryJ. Allanson (James Allanson) PictonSpinoza; a handbook to the Ethics → online text (page 10 of 21)