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under Richard Cromwell was found to be impracticable.

1 Xiauslation of Hale White ami Amelia Stirling.



104



ETHICS OF SPINOZA



Interfer-
ence of
freedom
and neces
sity.



For succeeding constitutional history showed that in
their new mood the English people by no means con-
doned the illegal acts of the dead king. But they began
to associate other causes with their memory of the
suffering caused by attempted tyranny. They thought
of evil advisers, or exceptional necessity, and just in
proportion as they associated the former miseries of the
country with such causes instead of Charles, their in-
dignation changed to pity ; though they were far other
causes which changed that pity into worship.

It seems at first sight strange to find Spinoza teaching
us, as a result of the above, that toward an object con-
ceived as free, our feelings of Love and Hatred are,
under an equal incitement, greater than toward a creature
Prop. xlix. f necessity. But his proof dissipates any possibility of
mistake. For he shows, in consistency with his defini-
tions, that a thing conceived by us as free is regarded
by itself apart from others. Therefore, if it be a cause
of joy to us, we trace our indebtedness no farther, and
concentrate all our love on the isolated object. But if
we think the object to be under necessity we know that
it cannot be alone as the cause of our joy, since it is
acting together with other compelling causes. 1 We do not

1 This point in Spinoza's doctrine need not occasion great difficulty
to the religious mind. For according to Christianity there is no
fundamental contradiction, at least to a religious mind, between a
free and an unfree finite cause. An evangelist is a free cause, but
at the same time wholly dependent on inspiration or grace. And
those who are converted or ' saved' by his preaching thank certainly
not him alone but God through him, This looks like a confusion
of thought, though it is less so than it seems. But it is really
consistent with Spinoza's doctrine of freedom, as I hope will be
seen if wc persevere as far as Part v. If wc master that doctrine
we shall be able to sympathise with all religions that tend upwards.



THE NATUEE OF MENTAL AFFECTIONS 105

therefore concentrate our whole love upon it. ' Hence it
follows that because men think themselves free they are
affected with greater love or hatred toward each other
than toward other things.'

Anything may be accidentally, that is, by association, Origin of
the cause either of Hope or Fear. Thus, if in bygone tions.
times a number of men, at however longj intervals, had Props, l.

7 . tolii.

ill-luck after seeing a magpie in a particular direction,
the intercommunication of their experience would be
enough to establish an association, and the magpie would
become thereby a cause of fear. On the other hand, if
on various occasions the appearance of a soaring eagle
on the right of the chieftain was followed by victory, the
perhaps equally numerous cases of an opposite event
would not be counted, and a favourable association was
established. Thus omens came to be a cause of hope
and fear. Optimism is shown by the Master's un-
qualified assertion that by our natural constitution we
easily believe the things we hope for, and believe with
difficulty what we fear. That is surely not a universal
experience. Nor is it perhaps quite consistent with
the tracing of ' superstitions ' to such a cause. For
most superstitions are dark and bear the taint of
fear.

After showing that there is not necessarily any uni- Exceptional
formity in the effect produced on divers men by the make the
same object, and that even the same person may be Impassion,
variously affected by the same object at different times,
the Master lays down a proposition which has an
obvious bearing on the evolution of religious cults.
'An object which we have previously seen together



106 ETHICS OF SPINOZA

with others, or which we think to possess no charac-
teristic beyond what is common to many, will not arrest
our attention so long as an object which we think to

Fetishism, be exceptional.' In a Scholium Spinoza shows in a few
words how, from such an experience, astonishment or
consternation may arise, according as the exceptional
object excites wonder or fear. This we may illustrate
by the awe felt by Arabs for the Kaaba, or black stone
at Mecca. Again, if the exceptional object be a human
character, action, or passion, the alternative mental
affections are veneration and devotion in the case of
good, and horror in the case of evil. St. Francis of
Assisi or Richard in. naturally occur as opposite illus-
trations. It is obvious that various forms of religion,
such as Fetishism at one extreme, and Babism at an-
other, are quite conceivably traceable to the mental
affections caused by strikingly exceptional objects or
persons.

Joy of the Amidst the bewildering interplay of variously dis-

mindinits . & r J J

activities, guised Joy, Grief, and Desire stimulated by idea,
passion, and imagination, one strong impulse is always

Prop. mi. clear ; and that is the joy of the mind in consciousness
of its power of action, a joy all the greater in proportion
/as that power is more clearly realised. For illustration
we have only to think of the exultation chanted by
Lucretius over his labour, or the triumph in the posses-
sion of his supreme gift which throbs through every line
of Milton's epic. These are extreme cases, it is true.
But they show on a great scale what is felt in various
diminishing degrees by every mind that acts out its
powers. Here sympathy comes in and enables praise



THE NATURE OF MENTAL AFFECTIONS 107

to double the mind's Joy in its own activities by the
sense of pleasure given to others.

This being so, the mind naturally tends to think of A proper

° J # self-con-

those things which involve its power of action. This is sciousneas.
illustrated in myriads of street conversations, where each Prop- liv.
interlocutor, whether cabman, commercial traveller, jour-
nalist, or lawyer, always seeks occasion to celebrate his
own shrewdness, spirit, pluck, or sharpness. For this is
not necessarily mere conceit of self. It is prompted by
the mind's pleasure in its own activities. On the other
hand, if the mind is forced to realise its lack of power,
it is grieved, as, for instance, when a student sets out on
a career for which he is unfitted by nature, and finds by
failure the bitterness of impotence. And as the joy of
power is doubled by the pleasure given to others, so the
grief of impotence is increased by blame which implies
the pain of others.

The concluding four propositions of this Part ill. infinite
finally establish the immense complexity of the mental of the
affections compounded out of simple elements with the affections.
aid of sympathy and association. ' Of Joy, Grief, and Props, lvi.

lix.

Desire, and consequently of every affection which either,
like vacillation of mind, is compounded of these, or like
Love, Hatred, Hope, and Fear, is derived from them,
there are just as many kinds as there are kinds of
objects by which we are affected.' Amongst these
mental affections some of the most obtrusive, such as
1 voluptuousness, drunkenness, lust, avarice, and (selfish)
ambition,' cause us all the perplexities associated with
inadequate ideas.

But besides the joys and griefs that are passions —



108 ETHICS OF SPINOZA

The noblest i.e. the pleasant or painful experience of the mind driven

are those of

action. by forces outside itself — there are also mental affections
belonging to action rather than passion. And these,
whether bright or sombre, are of a higher rank than
passion. We may illustrate this doctrine by reference
to the serenity of Socrates when he drank the hemlock,
a serenity in which, however, grief for his bereaved
disciples, and also for a misguided State, mingled in
the perfect peace with which he followed the right.
This was not an attitude of passion, but of action, be-
cause it had the spontaneity of freedom. Yet it was
attended by joy and grief. And thus the mind, even in
the exercise of the freeman's highest prerogatives of
action, never escapes Joy, Grief, and Desire.

Conclusion In fact we see already, and I hope we shall see more
clearly hereafter, that Spinoza's spiritual ideal was
neither that of the Stoic, nor of the Mystic, nor of
' Nirvana.' Never did he countenance the unnatural
and impossible attempt to extirpate appetites which are
of the essence of man. But, as the solar system keeps
its place, subordinating all its attractions and repulsions,
its electric currents, its fierce heats, and its congealing
cold, to its function as part of an infinite Whole, so the
microcosm man, always palpitating with desire, is to
keep such an inward harmony that while sure that he
is, so to speak, only an atom of God, he is conscious only
of the spontaneity of the free.



APPENDIX TO PAKT III

definitions of the mental affections 1
Introductory Eemarks

It is doubtful whether these Definitions should be in- Difficulties
eluded in any mere ' Handbook ' to the Ethics. For they Definitions.
form in some respects the most difficult section of the
whole, and can scarcely be appreciated until the doctrine
of Freedom in Part v. has been mastered. One reason
for the difficulty is given us by Spinoza himself in one of
his ' Explanations,' Def. xx.

'I am aware/ he says, 'that these words in common use
have another signification. But my purpose is to explain
the nature of things rather than of words, and to indicate it
by words of which the customary meaning is not altogether
foreign to the sense in which I desire to use them. It is
enough to give notice of this once for all.'

But the notice, though it may set us on our guard, by
no means removes the difficulty. When, for instance,
we find Love (Def. vi.) defined as ' Joy with the con-
comitant idea of an external cause ' where the external
cause may be anything from a plum-pudding up to an
artistic or even religious ideal, we feel as if we had lost

1 For reasons given in the Introductory Remarks I would advise
most readers to pass over these definitions until they have read the
exposition of Part v.

109



110 ETHICS OF SPINOZA

our bearings and were altogether out of touch with the
Author. For though the word Love is of course often
used in lower senses, as w T hen a man talks of his love for
apples or for bitter beer, yet in a work on philosophy we
expect to find it associated with the highest and purest
emotion of self-absorption in something greater or better
than self. But it is obvious that Spinoza wished to
include in his definition all possible, or at least all actual
forms of the passion. That he does not endorse thereby
any low or carnal idea of Love is sufficiently proved by
his inspiring utterances on ' the intellectual Love of God.'
And if it be asked how he can transfigure into such
glory, mere 'joy with the concomitant idea of an external
cause,' I can only hope that an answer may be found in
the exposition of Part v. Here it is only needful further
to observe that Spinoza traces all the bewildering
varieties of human feeling to three fundamental elements
— Desire, Joy, and Grief. It will be found that this ulti-
mate analysis is no more inconsistent with the complex
refinements of moral evolution than is the analysis of
light into three primary colours with the glories of the
painter's art.



Definitions

1 Desire is the very essence of man in so far as that essence
is conceived as determined toward any action by any one of
his affections. ^C

'Explanation. — We have said above (Pt. in., Prop, xi.,
Schol.) that Desire is appetite with the addition of self-
consciousness, while appetite is the very essence of man in so
far as the latter is determined to such acts as make for the



DEFINITIONS OF MENTAL AFFECTIONS 111

man's preservation. But at the same time I have noted in
that Scholium that I really do not recognise any difference
between human appetite and Desire. For whether a man be
conscious of his appetite or not, still appetite remains one
and the same thing. And so lest I should appear guilty of
tautology I have refrained from explaining Desire by appe-
tite ; but I have sought so to define the former that all efforts
of human nature to which we give the names of appetite,
will, desire, or impulse might be included. For I might
have said that desire is the essence itself of the Man so far as
the former is determined toward any action ; but from this
definition it would not follow x that the mind may be con-
scious of its Desire or appetite ; therefore in order that I
might include the cause of this consciousness it was necessary
to add the words "in so far as that essence is conceived as
determined toward any action by any one of (the man's)
affections." For by an affection of the human essence we
understand any disposition of that essence, whether it be
innate, whether it be conceived through the attribute of
Thought alone or of Extension alone, or whether it be related
to both. Here, then, under the name of Desire, I understand
every one of those emotions, impulses, appetites, and voli-
tions which vary according to a man's changing mood, and
not rarely are so mutually opposed that he is drawn hither
and thither and knows not what he would be at.

' II. Joy is man's passage from a lesser to a greater Joy.
perfection.

' III. Grief is man's passage from a greater to a lesser Grief,
perfection.

'Explanation. — "Passage" I say. For Joy is not the
• perfection itself. If, for instance, a man were born having
that degree of perfection to which (in the definition) he
passes, he would possess it without any affection of joy ; as
will appear more plainly from the affection of Grief, the
opposite to the former. For, that Grief consists in the

1 ' The Mind does not know itself except in so far as it perceives
ideas of bodily affections.' — Pt. II., Prop, xxiii.



merit.



112 ETHICS OF SPINOZA

passage to lesser perfection, and not in the lesser perfection
itself, no one can deny, since, in so far as a man shares any
perfection, he cannot be sad. Nor can we say that Grief
consists in being without 1 a greater perfection ; for "being
without " is nothing. But the affection of Grief is a move-
ment (actus), and can therefore be nothing other than the
movement of passing to a lesser perfection, that is, a move-
ment by which a man's power of action is diminished or
restrained (Pt. III., Prop, xi., Schol.). As for the definitions
of merriment, pleasurable excitement, 2 melancholy and pain,
I pass them by because they are related rather to the body 3
than to the mind, and are only different varieties of Joy and
Grief.
Astonish- 'IV. Astonishment is the realisation (imagination, Vorstel-
lung) of an object on which the Mind remains fixed because
this particular realisation has no connection with others.

'Explanation. — We have shown (Pt. II., Prop, xviii.,
Schol.) that what causes the Mind to pass immediately from
the contemplation of one thing to the thought of another is
that the images of these things are linked one with another
and are so arranged that one succeeds to another. Now this
is inconceivable when the image of the thing is novel. In
such a case the Mind will be fascinated by the contemplation
of the (new) object until that Mind is determined by other
causes to think of other things. Considered in itself, there-
fore, the realisation of a novel object is of the same nature as
other realisations. And on this account I do not reckon
Astonishment among the affections, nor do I see any reason

1 ' Privation ' in English suggests being deprived of, and is there-
fore not so purely negative since it implies a positive change. Spinoza's
idea may be illustrated by the 'blind' fishes of certain American
caves. Properly speaking, they are not ' blind ' at all, for that would
imply deprivation of sight, and therefore passage from a greater to a
lesser perfection. They are simply without sight, as stones are.

2 E.g. Tickling. Melancholy here means really 'dumps.'

3 That is, their immediate occasion is more obviously corporeal.
But we must never lose sight of the fundamental unity of mind and
body.



DEFINITIONS OF MENTAL AFFECTIONS 113

why I should do so, since this distraction of the Mind does
not arise from any positive cause which draws the Mind
away from other things, but simply from the absence of any
cause leading the Mind from the contemplation of one object
to the thought of other things. I acknowledge therefore
(as I have shown in Pt. in., Prop, xi., Schol.) only three radical
or primary affections, viz. Joy, Grief, and Desire. And the
only reason which has induced me to make any comment on
Astonishment is that it has been customary to refer by other
names to certain affections derived from the three radical
ones, wherever those (secondary) affections refer to things
causing astonishment. The same reason induces me to add
a definition of Contempt.

1 V. Contempt is the realisation (imagination) of an object Contempt,
which touches the Mind so little that the Mind itself is
moved by the presence of the object to imagine those
qualities which are not in it rather than those which are in
it. 1 See Pt. in., Prop, lii., Schol.

1 The definitions of Veneration and Scorn I pass over here,
because, so far as I know, none of the affections derive a
name from these. 2

1 VI. Love is joy with the concomitant idea of an external Love,
cause.

'Explanation. — This definition explains with sufficient
clearness the essence of Love ; while that of certain authors
who define Love as the will of the Lover to unite himself to
the loved object expresses not the essence of Love but a
property of it. And because the essence of Love was not
sufficiently discerned by such authors, neither could they

1 We must be careful not to confuse mere contempt with the in-
dignation excited by the forgeries of a Pigott. Contempt touches
only at a tangent and glides away. E.g. the ' Baconian' theory of
.Shakespeare's works glides off, leaving only the thought of what is not
in it and is inexplicable by it.

2 Reference to Prop, lii., Schol., in Part in. , shows the meaning to
be that Spinoza regards these as, so to speak, affections of affections.
Thus : • Scorn arises from contempt of folly, as veneration arises from
astonishment at wisdom.'

II



114 ETHICS OF SPINOZA

have any distinct perception of its property, and hence it
has come to pass that their definition has been generally
considered rather obscure, We must observe, however, that
when I say that it is characteristic of a lover to unite himself
in will (inclination) to the thing loved, I do not by " will "
understand a consent or deliberate resolve or a free deter-
mination (for this we have shown by Prop, xlviii., Pt. II.,
to be fictitious) ; nor yet a desire of the lover to reunite
himself with the thing loved when it is absent, nor a desire
to continue in its presence when it is at hand ; for Love can
be conceived without either one or the other of these desires ;
but by "will" I understand the satisfaction (or acquiescence)
which exists in the lover on account of the presence of the
thing loved, by which presence the Joy of the lover is rein-
forced or at least fostered.
Hatred. 'VII. Hatred is Grief with the concomitant idea of an

external cause.

'Explanation. — What should be noted here may easily be

gathered from the Explanation of the preceding Definition.

See also Scholium to Prop. xiii. of this Part.
Inclination. ' VIII. Inclination 1 is Joy with the concomitant idea of some

object as being casually the cause of Joy. On this see

Scholium to Prop. xv. of this Part.
Aversion. 'IX. Aversion is Grief with the accompanying idea of some

object which is accidentally the cause of the Grief.
Devotion. ' X. Devotion is love towards an object at which we are

astonished (or which overwhelms us with wonder).

' Explanation. — We have shown by Prop. Hi. of this Part

that astonishment is excited by the novelty of the object.

If therefore it should happen that we often call up the image

of that by which we are astonished, our astonishment will

cease, and thus we see how the affection of Devotion easily

subsides into simple Love.

1 Or the sense of attraction or impulse towards. It is difficult to
give in one English word Spinoza's idea of propensio. We have
adopted ' propensity ' from the Latin. But its connotations are hardly
what is required here.



DEFINITIONS OF MENTAL AFFECTIONS 115

1 XL Derision (irrisio) is Joy arising from our recognition Derision,
that something we despise is present in an object of our hatred.

'Explanation. — In as far as we despise the thing we hate,
to that extent we deny existence to it (see Schol., Prop, lii.,
of this Part 1 ), and so far we rejoice. But since it is implied
that a man holds in hatred the object of his derision, it
follows that this Joy is not steadfast.

1 XII. Hope is uncertain Joy arising from something future Hope.
or past, about the issue of which we are to any extent
doubtful.

' XIII. Fear is uncertain Grief arising from the idea of some- Fear,
thing future or past about the issue of which we are to any
extent doubtful.

'Explanation. — From these Definitions it follows that there
can be no Hope without Fear, nor any Fear without Hope.
For if any one wavers in Hope and has doubts about the
issue of an event, this implies that he conceives of something
excluding the realisation of his future object. Thus he is
grieved ; and consequently, while he wavers in Hope, he fears
that things will turn out badly. On the other hand, he who
is in Fear, that is, who doubts whether what he hates will
not come to pass, also conceives of something which excludes
the existence of that same object of his hate ; and thus (by
Prop. xx. of this Part) he rejoices, and has hope that (his
fear) will not be realised.

' XIV. Confidence is Joy arising from the idea of a past or Confidence,
future event, concerning which all cause for doubt has been
removed.

' XV. Despair is Grief arising from the idea of a past or Despair,
future event concerning which all cause for doubt has been
removed.

1 Explanation. — Thus Confidence arises out of Hope, and
Despair out of Fear, when all cause for doubt of an event is

1 'The mind remains determined to think rather of those things
which are not in it ' — i.e. the object of contempt — ' than of those which
are in it, although from the presence of an object the mind is accus-
tomed to think chiefly about what is in the object/



116



ETHICS OF SPINOZA



Gladness



Bitterness.



Commisera-
tion.



Favour.

Indigna-
tion.



removed. And this occurs either when a man imagines a
thing past or future to be present and regards it as present,
or because he conceives of other things which exclude the
existence of those circumstances which enabled him to doubt.
For although we can never be certain about the outcome of
particular circumstances (by Coroll., Prop, xxxi., of Pt. II.), it
may nevertheless happen that we have no doubt about it.
For we have shown (Schol. to Prop, xlix., Pt. n.) that it is one
thing not to doubt about a matter, and another thing to have
certainty about it. And so it may happen that by the image
of a thing past or future we may be touched with the same
affection of Joy or Grief as by the image of the thing actually
present. (Prop, xviii. of this Part, and Schol.)

1 XVI. Gladness is Joy with the concomitant idea of some-
thing in the past that has turned out better than was hoped.

'XVII. Bitterness is Grief with the concomitant idea of
something in the past that has turned out worse than was
hoped.

1 XVIII. Commiseration is Grief with the concomitant idea
of an evil happening to another whom we picture as resem-
bling ourselves. (Schol. to Prop, xxii., and Schol., Prop, xxvii.,
of this Part.)

* Explanation. — Between Commiseration and Pi tifulness there
does not seem to be any difference unless perhaps that Com-
miseration refers rather to a particular affection and Pitiful-
ness to a habit.

1 XIX. Favour is Love to some one who has benefited another.

'XX. Indignation is Hatred toward some one who has
injured another.

1 Explanation. — I am aware that these words in common use
have another signification. But my purpose is to explain
the nature of things rather than of words, and to indicate it
by words of which the customary meaning is not altogether


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