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THE PHILOSOPHERS IN AN HOUR OR SO ...
THE ABRIDGED TEXTS
Aristotle - Ethics
Aristotle - Politics
Augustine - Confessions
Ayer - Language, Truth and Logic
Bacon - Advancement of Learning
Bentham - Morals and Legislation
Berkeley - Principles of Human Knowledge
Boethius - Consolations of Philosophy
Burke - Revolution in France
Cicero - Friendship and Old Age
Clausewitz - On War
Comte - Positive Philosophy
Confucius - The Analects
Copernicus - The Revolutions
Darwin - The Origin of Species
Descartes - Discourse on Method
Descartes - Meditations
Emerson - Nature
Epicurus - Sovran Maxims
Erasmus - Praise of Folly
Euclid - Elements
Freud - Psychoanalysis
Galileo - Two World Systems
Hayek - The Road to Serfdom
Hegel - Philosophy of History
Hegel - Philosophy of Religion
Hobbes - Leviathan
Hume - Human Understanding
James - Varieties of Religious Experience
Kant - Critiques of Reason
Kant - Metaphysics of Morals
Kierkegaard - Either Or
Leibniz - Monadology
Locke - Human Understanding
Machiavelli - The Prince
Marcus Aurelius - Meditations
Marx - The Communist Manifesto
Marx and Engels - German Ideology
Mill - On Liberty
Mill - System of Logic
More - Utopia
Newton - Principia
Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil
Nietzsche - Genealogy of Morals
Paine - Rights of Man
Pascal - Thoughts
Plato - The Apology
Plato - The Republic
Plato - The Symposium
Popper - Scientific Discovery
Rand - Selfishness
Rousseau - Confessions
Rousseau - Social Contract
Sade - Philosophy in the Boudoir
Sartre - Existentialism is a Humanism
Schopenhauer - World as Will and Idea
Smith - Wealth of Nations
Spinoza - Ethics
The Ancient Greeks
The Aphorisms of the Philosophers
Thoreau - Walden
Tocqueville - America
Turing - Computing Machinery
Wittgenstein - Tractatus
Wollstonecraft - Rights of Woman
... Squashed down to read in about 60 minutes
"all things are in God"
Wikipedia - Full Text - Print Edition: ISBN 0140435719
"The noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers", as Bertrand Russell called him, was born in Amsterdam in 1632, of a family of Portuguese Marranos - Sephardic Jews who had been forcibly converted to Christianity by the Inquisition, but secretly kept their faith.
He shone at Torah school, and may well have been expected to become a Rabbi, but the death of his father forced him into the family export business. On July 27th 1656 he was solemnly excommunicated by the Jewish community. What exactly his "monstrous deeds" and "abominable heresies" were, we do not know, but he was unable to settle afterwards, wandering the Netherlands, supported by helpful patrons and by his work as a lens-grinder.
The Ethics, only published after Spinoza's death, is ingenious, not just for what it says, but for how it says it. Presented with the assumed precision of a geometry textbook like that of Euclid, its central idea is that God is the universe, the one substance in which all natural phenomena exist. That all things are just states of God is 'pantheism'- a workable idea, but a horrifying heresy to Jews and Christians alike, because it presents a God who is completely indifferent to our desires and actions and with whom free-will is an impossibility.
Axiom: Something to be accepted as true, without need of proof
Corollary: A proposition which necessarily follows from one already proved.
Extension: Physical shape
Lemma: A subsidiary proposition.
Q.E.D: (Latin quod erat demonstrandum- 'that which was to be proved') The note added at the end of convincing geometric explanations by Euclid (c300BC) in his Elements
This version is based on the translation from the Latin by R. H. M. Elwes, reducing the original 84,000 words to about 9,400
Demonstrated by the Method of Geometry
Squashed version edited by Glyn Hughes © 2011
I. By that which is self-caused, I mean that of which the essence involves existence.
II. A thing is called finite after its kind, when it can be limited by another thing of the same nature.
III. By substance, I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself: in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.
IV. By attribute, I mean that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance.
V. By mode, I mean the modifications of substance.
VI. By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite-that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality.
VII. That thing is called free, which exists solely by the necessity of its own nature, and of which the action is determined by itself alone.
VIII. By eternity, I mean existence itself.
I. Everything which exists, exists either in itself or in something else.
II. That which cannot be conceived through anything else must be conceived through itself.
III. From a given definite cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no definite cause be granted, it is impossible that an effect can follow.
IV. The knowledge of an effect depends on and involves the knowledge of a cause.
V. Things which have nothing in common cannot be understood the one by means of the other; the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other.
VI. A true idea must correspond with its ideate or object.
VII. If a thing can be conceived as non-existing, its essence does not involve existence.
PROP. I. Substance is by nature prior to its modifications.
PROOF: This is clear from Def. iii. and v.
PROP. II. Two substances, whose attributes are different, have nothing in common.
PROOF: Also evident from Def. iii.
PROP. III. Things which have nothing in common cannot be one the cause of the other.
PROOF: Evident from Ax. v. and iv
PROP. V. There cannot exist in the universe two or more substances having the same nature or attribute.
PROOF: -If several distinct substances be granted, they must be distinguished either by their attributes, or by their modifications (Prop. iv.). It will be granted that there cannot be more than one with an identical attribute. It follows that setting the modifications aside, and considering substance in itself, that is truly, (Deff. iii. and vi.), there cannot be conceived one substance different from another,-that is (by Prop. iv.), there cannot be granted several substances, but one substance only. QED.
PROP. VII. Existence belongs to the nature of substances.
PROOF: Substance cannot be produced by anything external, it must, therefore, be its own cause- that is, its essence necessarily involves existence, or existence belongs to its nature.
PROP. XI. God, or substance, consists of infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality, necessarily exists.
PROOF: If this be denied, conceive, if possible, that God does not exist: then his essence does not involve existence. But this (Prop. vii.) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists. Another proof. Of everything whatsoever a cause or reason must be assigned, either for its existence, or for its non-existence If, then, no cause or reason can be given, which prevents the existence of God, or which destroys his existence, we must certainly conclude that he necessarily does exist. QED.
PROP. XIII. Substance absolutely infinite is indivisible.
PROOF: If it could be divided, the parts into which it was divided would either retain the nature of absolutely infinite substance, or they would not. If the former, we should have several substances of the same nature, which (by Prop. v.) is absurd. If the latter, then (by Prop. vii.) substance absolutely infinite could cease to exist, which (by Prop. xi.) is also absurd.
PROP. XIV. Besides God no substance can be granted or conceived.
PROOF: As God is absolutely infinite, and he necessarily exists (by Prop. xi.); if any substance besides God were granted, it would have to be explained by some attribute of God, and thus two substances with the same attribute would exist, which (by Prop. v.) is absurd. QED.
PROP. XV. Whatsoever is, is in God.
PROOF: Besides God, no substance is granted or can be conceived, therefore, without God nothing can be, or be conceived. QED.
NOTE: Some assert that God, like a man, consists of body and mind, and is susceptible of passions. Such persons have strayed from the truth. As there does not exist a vacuum in nature, but all parts are bound to come together to prevent it, it follows from this that the parts cannot be distinguished, and that extended substance cannot be divided.
PROP. XVII. God acts solely by the laws of his own nature, and is not constrained by anyone.
PROOF: We proved (in Prop. xv.) that all things are in God. Wherefore God acts solely by the laws of his own nature, and is not constrained by anyone. QED.
COROLLARY. It follows that God is the sole free cause.
NOTE: Others think that God is a free cause. But this is the same as if they said, that God could bring it about, that it should follow from the nature of a triangle that its three interior angles should not be equal to two right angles; or that from a given cause no effect should follow, which is absurd. The omnipotence of God has been displayed from all eternity, and will for all eternity remain in the same state of activity. For intellect and will, which should constitute the essence of God, would perforce be as far apart as the poles from the human intellect and will, in fact, would have nothing in common with them but the name; there would be about as much correspondence between the two as there is between the Dog, the heavenly constellation, and a dog, an animal that barks. The intellect of God is the cause both of the essence and the existence of our intellect.
PROP. XXV. God is the efficient cause not only of the existence of all things, but also of their essence.
PROOF: If this be denied, then God is not the cause of the essence of things, which is (by Prop. xv.) absurd. QED.
PROP. XXX. Intellect must comprehend the attributes of God and the modifications of God, and nothing else.
PROOF: A true idea must agree with its object (Ax. vi.); in other words (obviously), that which is contained in the intellect in representation must necessarily be granted in nature. But in nature (by Prop. xiv., Cor. i.) there is no substance save God, nor any modifications save those (Prop. xv.) which are in God, and cannot without God either be or be conceived. QED.
PROP. XXXII. Will cannot be called a free cause, but only a necessary cause.
PROOF: Will is only a particular mode of thinking, like intellect, it cannot be called a free cause, but only a necessary or constrained cause. QED.
COROLLARY I. Hence it follows, first, that God does not act according to freedom of the will.
COROLLARY II. It follows, secondly, that will and intellect stand in the same relation to the nature of God as do motion, and rest. For will, like rest, stands in need of a cause. Wherefore will no more appertains to God than does anything else in nature, but stands in the same relation to him as motion, rest, and the like, which follow from the necessity of the divine nature.
PROP. XXXIII. Things could not have been brought into being by God in any manner or in any order different from that which has in fact obtained.
PROOF: If the order of nature would have been different, God's nature would also have been able to be different from what it now is; and therefore (by Prop. xi.) that different nature also would have perforce existed, and consequently there would have been two or more Gods. This (Prop. xiv., Cor. i.) is absurd.
PROP. XXXVI. There is no cause from whose nature some effect does not follow.
PROOF: Whatsoever exists expresses God's nature which is the cause of all things, therefore an effect must (by Prop. xvi.) necessarily follow. QED.
APPENDIX: In the foregoing I have explained that God necessarily exists, that he is one: that he acts solely by the necessity of his own nature; that all things are in God, and that all things are predetermined by God.
Yet there still remains the notion commonly entertained, that God directs all things to a definite goal. However, men are bound to estimate the nature of such (having no information on the subject) in accordance with their own nature, and therefore they assert that the gods ordained everything for the use of man. Thus prejudice and superstition took deep root in the human mind.
There is no need to show at length, that nature has no particular goal in view, and that final causes are mere human figments. For, If God acts for the sake of an end, then he necessarily desires something which he lacks. It is commonly said: "everyone is wise in his own way", which proverb shows that men judge of things according to their mental disposition, if they understood as mathematicians they would be better convinced by what I have urged. If all things follow from the absolutely perfect nature of God, why are there so many imperfections in nature? such as putridity, loathsome deformity, confusion, evil, sin, &c. But these things are not more or less perfect, according as they delight or offend human senses
ON THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF THE MIND
I now pass on to explaining the results, which must necessarily follow from the essence of God, or of the eternal and infinite being.
DEFINITION I. By body I mean a mode which expresses in a certain determinate manner the essence of God, in so far as he is considered as an extended thing.
DEFINITION II. I consider as belonging to the essence of a thing that, which being given, the thing is necessarily given also, and, which being removed, the thing is necessarily removed also.
DEFINITION III. By idea, I mean the mental conception which is formed by the mind as a thinking thing.
DEFINITION IV. By an adequate idea, I mean an idea which, considered in itself, without relation to the object, has all the properties or intrinsic marks of a true idea.
DEFINITION V. Duration is the indefinite continuance of existing.
DEFINITION VI. Reality and perfection I use as synonymous terms.
DEFINITION VII. By particular things, I mean things which are finite and have a conditioned existence.
I. The essence of man does not involve necessary existence, that is, it may, in the order of nature, come to pass that this or that man does or does not exist.
II. Man thinks.
III. Modes of thinking, such as love, desire, or any other of the passions, do not take place, unless there be in the same individual an idea of the thing loved, desired, &c. But the idea can exist without the presence of any other mode of thinking.
IV. We perceive that a certain body is affected in many ways.
V. We feel and perceive no particular things, save bodies and modes of thought.
PROP. I. Thought is an attribute of God, or God is a thinking thing.
PROOF: Particular thoughts are modes which express the nature of God (Pt. i., Prop. xxv., Coro.). God therefore possesses the attribute (Pt. i., Def. v.) of which the concept is involved. QED.
NOTE: This proposition is also evident from the fact, that we are able to conceive an infinite thinking being.
PROP. II. Extension is an attribute of God, or God is an extended thing.
PROOF: The proof of this proposition is similar to that of the last.
PROP. VII. The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things.
PROOF: This proposition is evident from Part i., Ax. iv.
COROLLARY: Hence God's power of thinking is equal to his power of action. For instance, a circle existing in nature, and the idea of a circle existing, which is also in God, are one and the same thing displayed through different attributes.
PROP. X. The being of substance does not appertain to the essence of man- in other words, substance does not constitute the actual being of man.
PROOF: The being of substance involves necessary existence (Part i., Prop. vii.). If, therefore, the being of substance appertains to the essence of man, substance being granted, man would necessarily be granted also (II.Def.ii.), and, consequently, man would necessarily exist, which is absurd (II.Ax.i.). Therefore, &c. QED.
NOTE: Everyone must surely admit, that nothing can be or be conceived without God. All men agree that God is the one and only cause of all things, both of their essence and of their existence.
PROP. XI. The first element, which constitutes the actual being of the human mind, is the idea of some particular thing actually existing.
PROOF: The essence of man is constituted by certain modes of the attributes of God, namely (by II. Ax. ii.), by the modes of thinking. Therefore an idea is the first element constituting the human mind, but not the idea of a non-existent thing, for then the idea itself cannot be said to exist. QED.
COROLLARY: Hence it follows, that the human mind is part of the infinite intellect of God.
NOTE: Here, I doubt not, readers will come to a stand, and will call to mind many things which will cause them to hesitate; I therefore beg them to accompany me slowly, step by step, and not to pronounce on my statements, till they have read to the end.
PROP. XII. Whatsoever comes to pass in the object of the idea, which constitutes the human mind, must be perceived by the human mind, if the object of the idea constituting the human mind be a body, nothing can take place in that body without being perceived by the mind.
PROOF: Whatsoever comes to pass in the object of any idea, the knowledge thereof is necessarily in God, in so far as he constitutes the mind of anything. For if the body were not the object of the human mind, the ideas of the affections of the body would not be in God in so far as He has created our mind, but would be in Him so far as He has formed the mind of another thing.
PROP. XIII. The object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body, in other words a certain mode of extension which actually exists, and nothing else.
PROOF: If indeed the body were not the object of the human mind, the ideas of the modifications of the body would not be in God. Therefore the object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body, and the body as it actually exists.
NOTE: We thus comprehend, not only that the human mind is united to the body, but also the nature of the union between mind and body. However, no one will be able to grasp this adequately or distinctly, unless he first has adequate knowledge of the nature of our body. The propositions we have advanced hitherto have been entirely general, applying not more to men than to other individual things, all of which, though in different degrees, are animated. For of everything there is necessarily an idea in God, of which God is the cause, in the same way as there is an idea of the human body; thus whatever we have asserted of the idea of the human body must necessarily also be asserted of the idea of everything else. Still, we cannot deny that ideas, like objects, differ one from the other, and as any given body is more fitted than others for doing many actions or receiving many impressions at once, so also is the mind. We may thus recognize the superiority of one mind over others.
To explain and prove more accurately these matters, I must premise a few statements concerning bodies.
AXIOM I. All bodies are either in motion or at rest.
AXIOM II. Every body is moved sometimes more slowly, sometimes more quickly.
LEMMA I. Bodies are distinguished from one another in respect of motion and rest, quickness and slowness, and not in respect of substance.
PROOF: The first part of this proposition is, I take it, self-evident. That bodies are not distinguished in respect of substance, is plain both from I. v. and I. viii. It is brought out still more clearly from I. xv, note.
LEMMA III. A body in motion or at rest must be determined to motion or rest by another body.
PROOF: Bodies are individual things (II., Def. i.), which (Lemma I.) are distinguished one from the other in respect to motion and rest; thus (I. xxviii.) each must necessarily be determined to motion or rest by another individual thing, namely (II. vi.), by another body, which other body is also (Ax. i.) in motion or at rest. And this body again can only have been set in motion or caused to rest by being determined by a third body to motion or rest. This third body again by a fourth, and so on to infinity. QED.
COROLLARY: Hence it follows, that a body in motion keeps in motion, until it is determined to a state of rest by some other body; and a body at rest remains so, until it is determined to a state of motion by some other body. This is indeed self-evident.
PROP. XVI. The idea of every mode, in which the human body is affected by external bodies, must involve the nature of the human body, and also the nature of the external body.
PROOF: All the modes, in which any given body is affected, follow from the nature of the body affected, and also from the nature of the affecting body (by Ax. i., after the Cor. of Lemma iii.).
PROP. XIX. The human mind has no knowledge of the body, and does not know it to exist, save through the ideas of the modifications whereby the body is affected.
PROOF: The human mind is the very idea or knowledge of the human body (II. xiii.), which (II. ix.) is in God. Thus God has the idea of the human body, the human mind does not know the human body.
PROP. XX. The idea or knowledge of the human mind is also in God.
PROOF: Thought is an attribute of God, this idea or knowledge of the mind does not follow from God, in so far as he is infinite, but in so far as he is affected by another idea of an individual thing (II. ix.). But (II. vii.) the order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of causes; therefore this idea or knowledge of the mind is in God and is referred to God, in the same manner as the idea or knowledge of the body. QED.
PROP. XXI. This idea of the mind is united to the mind in the same way as the mind is united to the body.
PROOF: That the mind is united to the body we have shown from the fact, that the body is the object of the mind (II. xii. and xiii.); and so for the same reason the idea of the mind must be united with its object. QED.
PROP. XXIII. The mind does not know itself, except in so far as it perceives the ideas of the modifications of the body.
PROOF: Since (II. xix.) the human mind does not know the human body itself, that is (II. xi. Coro.), since the knowledge of the human body is not referred to God, therefore, neither is the knowledge of the mind referred to God, in so far as he constitutes the essence of the human mind. QED.
PROP. XXXII. All ideas, in so far as they are referred to God, are true.
PROOF: All ideas which are in God agree in every respect with their objects (II. vii. Coro.), therefore (I. Ax. vi.) they are all true. QED.
PROP. XXXIV. Every idea, which in us is absolute or adequate and perfect, is true.
PROOF: When we say that an idea in us is adequate and perfect, we say, in other words (II. xi. Coro.), that the idea is adequate and perfect in God, in so far as he constitutes the essence of our mind; consequently (II. xxxii.), we say that such an idea is true. QED.
PROP. XXXV. Falsity consists in the privation of knowledge, which inadequate, fragmentary, or confused ideas involve.
PROOF: There is nothing positive in ideas, which causes them to be called false (II. xxxiii.); but falsity cannot consist in simple privation, neither can it consist in absolute ignorance, for ignorance and error are not identical; wherefore it consists in the privation of knowledge, which inadequate, fragmentary, or confused ideas involve. QED.
NOTE: Men are mistaken in thinking themselves free; their opinion is made up of consciousness of their own actions, and ignorance of the causes by which they are conditioned. What the will is, and how it moves the body, they none of them know.
PROP. XXXVIII. Those things, which are common to all, and which are equally in a part and in the whole, cannot be conceived except adequately.
PROOF: Let A be something, which is common to all bodies, and which is equally present in the part of any given body and in the whole. I say A cannot be conceived except adequately. For the idea thereof in God will necessarily be adequate. QED.
PROP. XXXIX. That, which is common to and a property of the human body, and which is present equally in each part of either, will be represented by an adequate idea in the mind.
PROOF: If A be that which is a property of the human body, there will be an adequate idea of A in God. QED.
COROLLARY: Hence it follows that the mind is fitted to perceive adequately more things, in proportion as its body has more in common with other bodies.
PROP. XL. Whatsoever ideas in the mind follow from ideas which are therein adequate, are also themselves adequate.
PROOF: This proposition is self-evident. For when we say that an idea in the human mind follows from ideas which are therein adequate, we say, in other words (II. xi. Coro.), that an idea is in the divine intellect, in so far as he constitutes the essence of the human mind. Those who have most often regarded with admiration the stature of man, will by the name of man understand an animal of erect stature; those who have been accustomed to regard some other attribute, will form a different general image of man, for instance, that man is a laughing animal, a two-footed animal without feathers, a rational animal, and thus, everyone will form general images of things according to the habit of his body. It is thus not to be wondered at, that among philosophers, who seek to explain things in nature merely by the images formed of them, so many controversies should have arisen.
PROP. XLII. Knowledge of the second and third kinds, not knowledge of the first kind, teaches us to distinguish the true from the false.
PROOF: This proposition is self-evident. He, who knows how to distinguish between true and false, must have an adequate idea of true and false.
PROP. XLV. Every idea of every body, necessarily involves the eternal and infinite essence of God.
PROOF: Particular things cannot be conceived without God (I. xv.); but, inasmuch as (II. vi.) they have God for their cause. QED.
PROP. XLVII. The human mind has an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God.
PROOF: The human mind has ideas (II. xxii.), from which (II. xxiii.) it perceives itself and its own body (II. xix.) and external bodies (II. xvi. Cor. i. and II. xvii.) as actually existing; therefore (II. xlv. and xlvi.) it has an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God. QED.
NOTE: Men have not so clear a knowledge of God as they have of general notions, because they are unable to imagine God as they do bodies, and also because they have associated the name God with images of things that they are in the habit of seeing, as indeed they can hardly avoid doing, being, as they are, men, and continually affected by external bodies. Many errors, in truth, can be traced to this head, and very many controversies have arisen from the fact, that men do not rightly explain their meaning.
PROP. XLVIII. In the mind there is no absolute or free will; but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause, which has also been determined by another cause, and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.
PROOF: The mind is a fixed and definite mode of thought (II. xi.), therefore it cannot be the free cause of its actions but (by I. xxviii.) it must be determined by a cause, which has also been determined by another cause, and this last by another, &c. QED.
NOTE: In the same way it is proved, that there is in the mind no absolute faculty of understanding, desiring, loving, &c. Whence it follows, that these and similar faculties are either entirely fictitious, or are merely abstract and general terms, such as we are accustomed to put together from particular things. Thus the intellect and the will stand in the same relation to this or that idea, or this or that volition, as "lapidity" to this or that stone, or as "man" to Peter and Paul. We must inquire, I say, whether there is in the mind any affirmation or negation beyond that, which the idea, in so far as it is an idea, involves. On which subject see the following proposition, and II. Def. iii., lest the idea of pictures should suggest itself. For by ideas I do not mean images such as are formed at the back of the eye, or in the midst of the brain, but the conceptions of thought.
It remains to point out the advantages of a knowledge of this doctrine as bearing on conduct.
1. Inasmuch as it teaches us to act solely according to the decree of God, and to be partakers in the Divine nature, and so much the more, as we perform more perfect actions and more and more understand God. Such a doctrine not only completely tranquilizes our spirit, but also shows us where our highest happiness or blessedness is, namely, solely in the knowledge of God. We may thus clearly understand, how far astray from a true estimate of virtue are those who expect to be decorated by God with high rewards for their virtue, as if virtue and the service of God were not in itself happiness and perfect freedom.
2. Inasmuch as it teaches us, how we ought to conduct ourselves with respect to the gifts of fortune, or matters which are not in our power, and do not follow from our nature. For it shows us, that we should await and endure fortune's smiles or frowns with an equal mind, seeing that all things follow from the eternal decree of God by the same necessity, as it follows from the essence of a triangle, that the three angles are equal to two right angles.
3. This doctrine raises social life, inasmuch as it teaches us to hate no man, neither to despise, to deride, to envy, or to be angry with any. Further, as it tells us that each should be content with his own, and helpful to his neighbour, not from any womanish pity, favour, or superstition, but solely by the guidance of reason.
4. Lastly, this doctrine confers no small advantage on the commonwealth; for it teaches how citizens should be governed and led, not so as to become slaves, but so that they may freely do whatsoever things are best.
ON THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF THE EMOTIONS
Most writers on the emotions and on human conduct seem to be treating of matters outside nature than of natural phenomena following nature's general laws. I shall treat of the nature and strength of the emotions in exactly the same manner as I might of lines, planes, and solids.
I. By an adequate cause, I mean a cause through which its effect can be clearly and distinctly perceived. By an inadequate or partial cause, I mean a cause through which, by itself, its effect cannot be understood.
II. I say that we act when anything takes place, whereof we are the adequate cause.
III. By emotion I mean the modifications of the body, whereby the active power of the said body is increased or diminished, aided or constrained.
N.B. If we can be the adequate cause of any of these modifications, I then call the emotion an activity, otherwise I call it a passion, or state wherein the mind is passive.
PROP. II. Body cannot determine mind to think, neither can mind determine body to motion or rest or any state different from these, if such there be.
PROOF: All modes of thinking have for their cause God, by virtue of his being a thinking thing, and not by virtue of his being displayed under any other attribute (II. vi.). Again, the motion and rest of a body must arise from another body, which has also been determined to a state of motion or rest by a third body, and absolutely everything which takes place in a body must spring from God. QED.
NOTE: Experience teaches us no less clearly than reason, that men believe themselves to be free, simply because they are conscious of their actions, and unconscious of the causes whereby those actions are determined.
PROP. VI. Everything, in so far as it is in itself, endeavours to persist in its own being.
PROOF: No thing contains in itself anything whereby it can be destroyed, or which can take away its existence (III. iv.); but contrariwise it is opposed to all that could take away its existence. QED.
PROP. IX. The mind, both in so far as it has clear and distinct ideas, and also in so far as it has confused ideas, endeavours to persist in its being for an indefinite period, and of this endeavour it is conscious.
PROOF: The essence of the mind is constituted by adequate and inadequate ideas. Now as the mind (II. xxiii.) is necessarily conscious of itself through the ideas of the modifications of the body, the mind is therefore (III. vii.) conscious of its own endeavour.
PROP. XVII. If we conceive that a thing, which is wont to affect us painfully, has any point of resemblance with another thing which is wont to affect us with pleasure, we shall hate the first-named thing, and at the same time we shall love it.
PROOF: The given thing is in itself a cause of pain, and (III. xiii. note) we shall hate it: further, inasmuch as we conceive that it has some point of resemblance to something else, which is wont to affect us with an equally strong emotion of pleasure, we shall with an equally strong impulse of pleasure love it (III.xvi.); thus we shall both hate and love the same thing. QED.
NOTE: Hence we can easily conceive, that one and the same object may be the cause of many and conflicting emotions.
PROP. XVIII. A man is as much affected pleasurably or painfully by the image of a thing past or future as by the image of a thing present.
PROOF: So long as a man is affected by the image of anything, he will regard that thing as present, even though it be non-existent. QED.
PROP. XXVI. We endeavour to affirm, concerning that which we hate, everything which we conceive to affect it painfully; and, contrariwise, we endeavour to deny, concerning it, everything which we conceive to affect it pleasurably.
PROOF: This proposition follows from III. xxiii., as the foregoing proposition followed from III. xxi.
NOTE: Thus we see that it may readily happen, that a man may easily think too highly of himself, or a loved object, and, contrariwise, too meanly of a hated object. This feeling is called pride, in reference to the man who thinks too highly of himself, and is a species of madness, wherein a man dreams with his eyes open, thinking that he can accomplish all things that fall within the scope of his conception, and thereupon accounting them real, and exulting in them, so long as he is unable to conceive anything which excludes their existence, and determines his own power of action. Pride, therefore, is pleasure springing from a man thinking too highly of himself. Whereas the pleasure which arises from thinking too little of a man is called disdain.
PROP. XLIII. Hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be destroyed by love.
PROOF: He who conceives, that an object of his hatred hates him in return, will thereupon feel a new hatred, while the former hatred (by hypothesis) still remains. QED.
PROP. XLIV. Hatred which is completely vanquished by love passes into love: and love is thereupon greater than if hatred had not preceded it.
PROOF: He who begins to love a thing, which he was wont to hate or regard with pain, from the very fact of loving feels pleasure. To this pleasure involved in love is added the pleasure arising from aid given to the endeavour to remove the pain involved in hatred
PROP. L. Anything whatever can be, accidentally, a cause of hope or fear.
PROOF: This proposition is proved in the same way as III. xv., which see, together with the note to III. xviii.
NOTE: I do not think it worth while to point out here the vacillations springing from hope and fear; it follows from the definition of these emotions, that there can be no hope without fear, and no fear without hope, as I will duly explain in the proper place.
DEFINITIONS OF THE EMOTIONS
I. Desire is the actual essence of man.
II. Pleasure is the transition of a man from a less to a greater perfection.
III. Pain is the transition of a man from a greater to a less perfection. I say transition: for pleasure is not perfection itself. For, if man were born with the perfection to which he passes, he would possess the same, without the emotion of pleasure. The contrary emotion, pain consists in the transition to a less perfection, and not in the less perfection itself. Neither can we say, that pain consists in the absence of a greater perfection. For absence is nothing, whereas the emotion of pain is an activity.
IV. Wonder is the conception (imaginatio) of anything, wherein the mind comes to a stand, because the particular concept in question has no connection with other concepts.
VI. Love is pleasure, accompanied by the idea of an external cause.
X. Devotion is love towards one whom we admire. Explanation-Wonder (admiratio) arises (as we have shown, III. lii.) from the novelty of a thing. If, therefore, it happens that the object of our wonder is often conceived by us, we shall cease to wonder at it; thus we see, that the emotion of devotion readily degenerates into simple love.
XI. Derision is pleasure arising from our conceiving the presence of a quality, which we despise, in an object which we hate.
XII. Hope is an inconstant pleasure, arising from the idea of something past or future, whereof we to a certain extent doubt the issue.
XIII. Fear is an inconstant pain arising from the idea of something past or future.
XIV. Confidence is pleasure arising from the idea of something past or future, wherefrom all cause of doubt has been removed.
XV. Despair is pain arising from the idea of something past or future, wherefrom all cause of doubt has been removed.
XVI. Joy is pleasure accompanied by the idea of something past, which has had an issue beyond our hope.
XIX. Approval is love towards one who has done good to another.
XX. Indignation is hatred towards one who has done evil to another.
XXI. Partiality is thinking too highly of anyone because of the love we bear him.
XXIII. Envy is hatred, in so far as it induces a man to be pained by another's good fortune, and to rejoice in another's evil fortune.
XXIV. Sympathy (misericordia) is love, in so far as it induces a man to feel pleasure at another's good fortune, and pain at another's evil fortune.
XXVI. Humility is pain arising from a man's contemplation of his own weakness of body or mind.
XXVIII. Pride is thinking too highly of one's self from self-love.
XXX. Honour is pleasure accompanied by the idea of some action of our own, which we believe to be praised by others.
XXXI. Shame is pain accompanied by the idea of some action of our own, which we believe to be blamed by others.
XXXII. Regret is the desire or appetite to possess something, kept alive by the remembrance of the said thing, and at the same time constrained by the remembrance of other things which exclude the existence of it.
XXXV. Benevolence is the desire of benefiting one whom we pity. Cf. III. xxvii. note.
XXXVII. Revenge is the desire whereby we are induced, through mutual hatred, to injure one who, with similar feelings, has injured us. (See III. xl. Cor. ii and note.)
XLIII. Courtesy, or deference (Humanitas seu modestia), is the desire of acting in a way that should please men, and refraining from that which should displease them.
XLV. Luxury is excessive desire, or even love of living sumptuously.
XLVII. Avarice is the excessive desire and love of riches.
XLVIII. Lust is desire and love in the matter of sexual intercourse. Whether this desire be excessive or not, it is still called lust.
OF HUMAN BONDAGE, OR THE STRENGTH OF THE EMOTIONS
Human infirmity in moderating and checking the emotions I name bondage: for, when a man is a prey to his emotions, he is not his own master, but lies at the mercy of fortune. As for the terms good and bad, they indicate no positive quality in things themselves, but are merely notions which we form from the comparison of things one with another. Thus one and the same thing can be at the same time good, bad, and indifferent. For instance, music is good for him that is melancholy, bad for him that mourns; for him that is deaf, it is neither good nor bad.
I. By good I mean that which we certainly know to be useful to us.
II. By evil I mean that which we know to be a hindrance to us in the attainment of any good.
There is no individual thing in nature, than which there is not another more powerful and strong, whereby it can be destroyed.
PROP. IV. It is impossible, that man should not be a part of Nature.
PROOF: The power, whereby each particular thing, and consequently man, preserves his being, is the power of God or of Nature (I. xxiv. Coro.). Thus the power of man, in so far as it is explained through his own actual essence, is a part of the infinite power of God or Nature. QED.
PROP. VII. An emotion can only be controlled or destroyed by another emotion contrary thereto, and with more power for controlling emotion.
PROOF: When the mind is assailed by any emotion, the body is at the same time affected with a modification whereby its power of activity is increased or diminished, which force can only be checked or destroyed by a bodily cause, thus an emotion cannot be destroyed nor controlled except by a contrary and stronger emotion. QED.
PROP. VIII. The knowledge of good and evil is nothing else but the emotions of pleasure or pain, in so far as we are conscious thereof.
PROOF: We call a thing good or evil, when it is of service or the reverse in preserving our being, when it increases or diminishes, helps or hinders, our power of to act. Thus, in so far as we perceive that a thing affects us with pleasure or pain, we call it good or evil. QED.
PROP. XV. Desire arising from the knowledge of good and bad can be quenched or checked by many of the other desires arising from the emotions whereby we are assailed.
PROOF: From the true knowledge of good and evil, in so far as it is an emotion, necessarily arises desire (Def. of the Emotions, i.), the strength of which is proportioned to the strength of the emotion wherefrom it arises (III. xxxvii.)
PROP. XVII. Desire arising from the true knowledge of good and evil, in so far as such knowledge is concerned with what is contingent, can be controlled far more easily, than desire for things that are present.
PROOF: This Prop. is proved in the same way as the last Prop. from IV. xii. Cor.
NOTE: I think this state of things gave rise to the exclamation of the poet:12- "The better path I gaze at and approve, The worse-I follow." Ecclesiastes seems to have had the same thought in his mind, when he says, "He who increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."
PROP. XVIII. Desire arising from pleasure is, other conditions being equal, stronger than desire arising from pain.
PROOF: Desire is the essence of a man. The force of desire arising from pleasure must be defined by human power together with the power of an external cause, whereas desire arising from pain must be defined by human power only. Thus the former is the stronger of the two. QED.
NOTE: Men who are governed by reason-that is, who seek what is useful to them in accordance with reason, desire for themselves nothing, which they do not also desire for the rest of mankind, and, consequently, are just, faithful, and honourable in their conduct.
PROP. XX. The more every man endeavours, and is able to seek what is useful to him-in other words, to preserve his own being-the more is he endowed with virtue.
PROOF: Virtue is human power, which is defined solely by man's essence (IV. Def. viii.), that is, which is defined solely by the endeavour made by man to persist in his own being. Wherefore, the more a man endeavours, and is able to preserve his own being, the more is he endowed with virtue, and, consequently (III.iv. and vi.), in so far as a man neglects to preserve his own being, he is wanting in power. QED.
NOTE: No one, therefore, neglects seeking his own good, or preserving his own being, unless he be overcome by causes external and foreign to his nature.
PROP. XXIV. To act absolutely in obedience to virtue is in us the same thing as to act, to live, or to preserve one's being (these three terms are identical in meaning).
PROOF: To act absolutely in obedience to virtue is nothing else but to act according to the laws of one's own nature. QED.
PROP. XXVII. We know nothing to be certainly good or evil, save such things as really conduce to understanding, or such as are able to hinder us from understanding.
PROOF: The mind, in so far as it reasons, desires nothing beyond understanding, and judges nothing to be useful to itself, save such things as conduce to understanding. But the mind (II. xli., xliii. and note) cannot possess certainty concerning anything, except in so far as it has adequate ideas. QED.
PROP. XXVIII. The mind's highest good is the knowledge of God, and the mind's highest virtue is to know God.
PROOF: The mind is not capable of understanding anything higher than God, therefore the highest virtue of the mind is to understand or to know God. QED.
PROP. XXXI. In so far as a thing is in harmony with our nature, it is necessarily good.
PROOF: A thing is useful, in proportion as it is in harmony with our nature, and vice versâ. QED.
PROP. XXXV. In so far only as men live in obedience to reason, do they always necessarily agree in nature.
PROOF: men, in so far as they live in obedience to reason, necessarily do only such things as are necessarily good for human nature, and consequently for each individual man. QED.
COROLLARY I. Man acts absolutely according to the laws of his nature, when he lives in obedience to reason.
COROLLARY II. As every man seeks most that which is useful to him, so are men most useful one to another.
NOTE: It rarely happens that men live in obedience to reason, for things are so ordered among them, that they are generally envious and troublesome one to another. Nevertheless they are scarcely able to lead a solitary life, so that the definition of man as a social animal has met with general assent.
PROP. XXXVI. The highest good of those who follow virtue is common to all, and therefore all can equally rejoice therein.
PROOF: The highest good for those who follow after virtue is to know God; that is (II. xlvii. and note) a good which is common to all and can be possessed. by all men equally. QED.
NOTE: Man's highest good is common to all, inasmuch as it is deduced from the very essence of man.
PROP. XLII. Mirth cannot be excessive, but is always good; contrariwise, Melancholy is always bad.
PROOF: Mirth (see its Def. in III. xi. note) is pleasure in which the body's power of activity is increased or aided, therefore Mirth is always good (IV. xxxix.), and cannot be excessive. But Melancholy (see its Def. in the same note to III. xi.) is pain which consists in the decrease of the body's power of activity; therefore (IV. xxxviii.) it is always bad. QED.
PROP. XLIII. Stimulation may be excessive and bad.
PROOF: Localized pleasure or stimulation (titillatio) is pleasure, which, in so far as it is referred to the body, consists in one or some of its parts being affected more than the rest, therefore (IV. xxxviii.) it may be bad. QED.
PROP. XLIV. Love and desire may be excessive.
PROOF: Love is pleasure, accompanied by the idea of an external cause (Def. of Emotions, vi.); therefore stimulation, accompanied by the idea of an external cause is love (III. xi. note); hence love maybe excessive.
PROP. XLVII. Emotions of hope and fear cannot be in themselves good.
PROOF: Emotions of hope and fear cannot exist without pain. For fear is pain (Def. of the Emotions, xiii.), and hope (Def. of the Emotions, Explanation xii. and xiii.) cannot exist without fear. QED.
PROP. LXIV. The knowledge of evil is an inadequate knowledge.
PROOF: The knowledge of evil (IV. viii.) is pain, in so far as we are conscious thereof. Now pain is the transition to a lesser perfection (Def. of the Emotions, iii.) and therefore cannot be understood through man's nature (III. vi., and vii.); therefore it is a passive state (III. Def. ii.) which (III. iii.) depends on inadequate ideas; consequently the knowledge thereof (II. xxix.), namely, the knowledge of evil, is inadequate. QED.
COROLLARY: Hence it follows that, if the human mind possessed only adequate ideas, it would form no conception of evil.
PROP. LXV. Under the guidance of reason we should pursue the greater of two goods and the lesser of two evils.
PROOF: We apply the terms good and bad to things, in so far as we compare them one with another (see preface to this Part); therefore, evil is in reality a lesser good; hence under the guidance of reason we seek or pursue only the greater good and the lesser evil. QED.
PROP. LXVIII. If men were born free, they would, so long as they remained free, form no conception of good and evil.
PROOF: I call free him who is led solely by reason; he, therefore, who is born free, and who remains free, has only adequate ideas; therefore (IV. lxiv. Coro.) he has no conception of evil, or consequently (good and evil being correlative) of good. QED.
PROP. LXXIII. The man, who is guided by reason, is more free in a State, where he lives under a general system of law, than in solitude, where he is independent.
PROOF: The man, who is guided by reason, does not obey through fear, but, in order to enjoy greater freedom, desires to possess the general rights of citizenship. QED.
I now rearrange my remarks under leading heads.
I. All our endeavours or desires so follow from the necessity of our nature, that they can be understood either through it alone, or by virtue of our being a part of nature.
II. Desires, which follow from our nature in such a manner that they can be understood through it alone, are those which are referred to the mind: the remaining desires are only referred to the mind in so far as it conceives things inadequately.
III. Our actions, that is, those desires which are defined by man's power or reason, are always good. The rest may be either good or bad.
IV. Thus in life it is before all things useful to perfect the understanding, or reason, as far as we can, and in this alone man's highest happiness or blessedness consists, indeed blessedness is nothing else but the contentment of spirit, which arises from the intuitive knowledge of God: now, to perfect the understanding is nothing else but to understand God.
OF THE POWER OF THE UNDERSTANDING, OR, OF HUMAN FREEDOM
At length I pass to the remaining portion of my Ethics, which is concerned with the way leading to freedom. I shall treat therein of the power of the reason, showing how far the reason can control the emotions. We shall determine solely by the knowledge of the mind the remedies against the emotions, which I believe all have had experience of, but do not accurately observe or distinctly see, and from the same basis we shall deduce all those conclusions, which have regard to the mind's blessedness.
I. If two contrary actions be started in the same subject, a change must necessarily take place, either in both, or in one of the two, and continue until they cease to be contrary.
II. The power of an effect is defined by the power of its cause, in so far as its essence is explained or defined by the essence of its cause. (This axiom is evident from III. vii.)
PROP. VI. The mind has greater power over the emotions and is less subject thereto, in so far as it understands all things as necessary.
PROOF: The mind understands all things to be necessary (I. xxix.) and to be determined to existence and operation by an infinite chain of causes; therefore (by the foregoing Proposition), it thus far brings it about, that it is less subject to the emotions arising therefrom, and (III. xlviii.) feels less emotion towards the things themselves. QED.
PROP. X. So long as we are not assailed by emotions contrary to our nature, we have the power of arranging and associating the modifications of our body according to the intellectual order.
PROOF: So long as we are not assailed by emotions contrary to our nature, the mind's power, whereby it endeavours to understand things (IV. xxvi.), is not impeded, and therefore it is able to form clear and distinct ideas and to deduce them one from another (II. xl. note. ii. and II. xlvii. note). QED.
NOTE: Those, who cry out the loudest against the misuse of honour and the vanity of the world, are those who most greedily covet it.
PROP. XVIII. No one can hate God.
PROOF: The idea of God which is in us is adequate and perfect (II. xlvi. xlvii.); consequently (III. lix.) there can be no pain accompanied by the idea of God, in other words (Def. of the Emotions, vii.), no one can hate God. QED.
COROLLARY: Love towards God cannot be turned into hate.
NOTE: It may be objected that we regard God as the cause of pain. But I make answer, that, in so far as we understand the causes of pain, it to that extent (V. iii.) ceases to be a passion, that is, it ceases to be pain (III. lix.); therefore, in so far as we understand God to be the cause of pain, we to that extent feel pleasure.
PROP. XIX. He, who loves God, cannot endeavour that God should love him in return.
PROOF: For, if a man should so endeavour, he would desire (V. xvii. Coro.) that God, whom he loves, should not be God, and consequently he would desire to feel pain (III. xix.); which is absurd (III. xxviii.). Therefore, he who loves God, &c. QED.
PROP. XXIII. The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but there remains of it something which is eternal.
PROOF: There is necessarily in God a concept or idea, which expresses the essence of the human body. But we have not assigned to the human mind any duration, definable by time, except in so far as it expresses the actual existence of the body, which is explained through duration, and may be defined by time-that is (II. viii. Coro.), we do not assign to it duration, except while the body endures. Yet, as there is something, notwithstanding, which is conceived by a certain eternal necessity through the very essence of God (last Prop.); this something, which appertains to the essence of the mind, will necessarily be eternal. QED.
PROP. XXIV. The more we understand particular things, the more do we understand God.
PROOF: This is evident from I. xxv.
PROP. XXX. Our mind, in so far as it knows itself and the body under the form of eternity, has to that extent necessarily a knowledge of God, and knows that it is in God, and is conceived through God.
PROOF: Eternity is the very essence of God, in so far as this involves necessary existence (I. Def. viii.). Therefore to conceive things under the form of eternity, is to conceive things in so far as they are conceived through the essence of God as real entities, or in so far as they involve existence through the essence of God; wherefore our mind, in so far as it conceives itself and the body under the form of eternity, has to that extent necessarily a knowledge of God, and knows, &c. QED.
PROP. XLII. Blessedness is not the reward of virtue, but virtue itself; neither do we rejoice therein, because we control our lusts, but, contrariwise, because we rejoice therein, we are able to control our lusts.
PROOF: Since human power in controlling the emotions consists solely in the understanding, it follows that no one rejoices in blessedness, because he has controlled his lusts, but, contrariwise, his power of controlling his lusts arises from this blessedness itself. QED.
I have thus completed all I wished to set forth touching the mind's power over the emotions and the mind's freedom. Whence it appears, how potent is the wise man, and how much he surpasses the ignorant man, who is driven only by his lusts. The wise man is scarcely at all disturbed in spirit, but, being conscious of himself, and of God, and of things, by a certain eternal necessity, never ceases to be, but always possesses true acquiescence of his spirit. If the way which I have pointed out as leading to this result seems exceedingly hard, it may nevertheless be discovered. Needs must it be hard, since it is so seldom found. How would it be possible, if salvation were ready to our hand, and could without great labour be found, that it should be by almost all men neglected? But all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.
Spinoza's funeral was held at the Nieuwe kerk at Spui, the Netherlands. There is confusion about his place of burial, and stories that his body was stolen
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