Part 3 out of 5
affected, it is destroyed, to an extent proportioned to the
strength of the pain (III. xi. note). Therefore, he (III. xx.)
who conceives, that some object of his hatred is painfully
affected, will feel pleasure, to an extent proportioned to the
amount of pain he conceives in the object of his hatred. This
was our first point. Again, pleasure postulates the existence of
the pleasurably affected thing (III. xi. note), in proportion as
the pleasure is greater or less. If anyone imagines that an
object of his hatred is pleasurably affected, this conception
(III. xiii.) will hinder his own endeavour to persist ; in other
words (III. xi. note), he who hates will be painfully affected.
Note.-This pleasure can scarcely be felt unalloyed, and
without any mental conflict. For (as I am about to show in Prop.
xxvii.), in so far as a man conceives that something similar to
himself is affected by pain, he will himself be affected in like
manner ; and he will have the contrary emotion in contrary
circumstances. But here we are regarding hatred only.
PROP. XXIV. If we conceive that anyone pleasurably affects an
object of our hate, we shall feel hatred towards him also. If we
conceive that he painfully affects that said object, we shall
feel love towards him.
Proof.-This proposition is proved in the same way as III.
xxii., which see.
Note.-These and similar emotions of hatred are attributable
to envy, which, accordingly, is nothing else but hatred, in so
far as it is regarded as disposing a man to rejoice in another's
hurt, and to grieve at another's advantage.
PROP. XXV. We endeavour to affirm, concerning ourselves, and
concerning what we love, everything that we can conceive to
affect pleasurably ourselves, or the loved object. Contrariwise,
we endeavour to negative everything, which we conceive to affect
painfully ourselves or the loved object.
Proof.-That, which we conceive to affect an object of our
love pleasurably or painfully, affects us also pleasurably or
painfully (III. xxi.). But the mind (III. xii.) endeavours, as
far as possible, to conceive those things which affect us
pleasurably ; in other words (II. xvii. and Coroll.), it
endeavours to regard them as present. And, contrariwise (III.
xiii.), it endeavours to exclude the existence of such things as
affect us painfully ; therefore, we endeavour to affirm
concerning ourselves, and concerning the loved object, whatever
we conceive to affect ourselves, or the love object pleasurably.
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. Again, the pleasure
which arises from a man thinking too highly of another is called
over-esteem. Whereas the pleasure which arises from thinking too
little of a man is called disdain.
PROP. XXVII. By the very fact that we conceive a thing, which is
like ourselves, and which we have not regarded with any emotion,
to be affected with any emotion, we are ourselves affected with a
like emotion (affectus).
Proof.-The images of things are modifications of the human
body, whereof the ideas represent external bodies as present to
us (II. xvii.) ; in other words (II. x.), whereof the ideas
involve the nature of our body, and, at the same time, the nature
of the external bodies as present. If, therefore, the nature of
the external body be similar to the nature of our body, then the
idea which we form of the external body will involve a
modification of our own body similar to the modification of the
external body. Consequently, if we conceive anyone similar to
ourselves as affected by any emotion, this conception will
express a modification of our body similar to that emotion.
Thus, from the fact of conceiving a thing like ourselves to be
affected with any emotion, we are ourselves affected with a like
emotion. If, however, we hate the said thing like ourselves, we
shall, to that extent, be affected by a contrary, and not
similar, emotion. Q.E.D.
Note I.-This imitation of emotions, when it is referred to
pain, is called compassion (cf. III. xxii. note) ; when it is
referred to desire, it is called emulation, which is nothing else
but the desire of anything, engendered in us by the fact that we
conceive that others have the like desire.
Corollary I.-If we conceive that anyone, whom we have
hitherto regarded with no emotion, pleasurably affects something
similar to ourselves, we shall be affected with love towards him.
If, on the other hand, we conceive that he painfully affects the
same, we shall be affected with hatred towards him.
Proof.-This is proved from the last proposition in the same
manner as III. xxii. is proved from III. xxi.
Corollary II.-We cannot hate a thing which we pity, because
its misery affects us painfully.
Proof.-If we could hate it for this reason, we should rejoice
in its pain, which is contrary to the hypothesis.
Corollary III.-We seek to free from misery, as far as we can,
a thing which we pity.
Proof.-That, which painfully affects the object of our pity,
affects us also with similar pain (by the foregoing proposition)
; therefore, we shall endeavour to recall everything which
removes its existence, or which destroys it (cf. III. xiii.) ; in
other words (III. ix. note), we shall desire to destroy it, or we
shall be determined for its destruction ; thus, we shall
endeavour to free from misery a thing which we pity. Q.E.D.
Note II.-This will or appetite for doing good, which arises
from pity of the thing whereon we would confer a benefit, is
called benevolence, and is nothing else but desire arising from
compassion. Concerning love or hate towards him who has done
good or harm to something, which we conceive to be like
ourselves, see III. xxii. note.
PROP. XXVIII. We endeavour to bring about whatsoever we conceive
to conduce to pleasure ; but we endeavour to remove or destroy
whatsoever we conceive to be truly repugnant thereto, or to
conduce to pain.
Proof.-We endeavour, as far as possible, to conceive that
which we imagine to conduce to pleasure (III. xii.) ; in other
words (II. xvii.) we shall endeavour to conceive it as far as
possible as present or actually existing. But the endeavour of
the mind, or the mind's power of thought, is equal to, and
simultaneous with, the endeavour of the body, or the body's power
of action. (This is clear from II. vii. Coroll. and II. xi.
Coroll.). Therefore we make an absolute endeavour for its
existence, in other words (which by III. ix. note, come to the
same thing) we desire and strive for it ; this was our first
point. Again, if we conceive that something, which we believed
to be the cause of pain, that is (III. xiii. note), which we
hate, is destroyed, we shall rejoice (III. xx.). We shall,
therefore (by the first part of this proof), endeavour to destroy
the same, or (III. xiii.) to remove it from us, so that we may
not regard it as present ; this was our second point. Wherefore
whatsoever conduces to pleasure, &c. Q.E.D.
PROP. XXIX. We shall also endeavour to do whatsoever we conceive
men6 to regard with pleasure, and contrariwise we shall shrink
from doing that which we conceive men to shrink from.
Proof.-From the fact of imagining, that men love or hate
anything, we shall love or hate the same thing (III. xxvii.).
That is (III. xiii. note), from this mere fact we shall feel
pleasure or pain at the thing's presence. And so we shall
endeavour to do whatsoever we conceive men to love or regard with
pleasure, etc. Q.E.D.
Note.-This endeavour to do a thing or leave it undone, solely
in order to please men, we call ambition, especially when we so
eagerly endeavour to please the vulgar, that we do or omit
certain things to our own or another's hurt : in other cases it
is generally called kindliness. Furthermore I give the name of
praise to the pleasure, with which we conceive the action of
another, whereby he has endeavoured to please us ; but of blame
to the pain wherewith we feel aversion to his action.
PROP. XXX. If anyone has done something which he conceives as
affecting other men pleasurably, he will be affected by pleasure,
accompanied by the idea of himself as cause ; in other words, he
will regard himself with pleasure. On the other hand, if he has
done anything which he conceives as affecting others painfully,
he will regard himself with pain.
Proof.-He who conceives, that he affects others with pleasure
or pain, will, by that very fact, himself be affected with
pleasure or pain (III. xxvii.), but, as a man (II. xix. and
xxiii.) is conscious of himself through the modifications whereby
he is determined to action, it follows that he who conceives,
that he affects others pleasurably, will be affected with
pleasure accompanied by the idea of himself as cause ; in other
words, he will regard himself with pleasure. And so mutatis
mutandis in the case of pain. Q.E.D.
Note.-As love (III. xiii.) is pleasure accompanied by the
idea of an external cause, and hatred is pain accompanied by the
idea of an external cause ; the pleasure and pain in question
will be a species of love and hatred. But, as the terms love and
hatred are used in reference to external objects, we will employ
other names for the emotions now under discussion : pleasure
accompanied by the idea of an external cause7 we will style
Honour, and the emotion contrary thereto we will style Shame : I
mean in such cases as where pleasure or pain arises from a man's
belief, that he is being praised or blamed : otherwise pleasure
accompanied by the idea of an external cause8 is called
self-complacency, and its contrary pain is called repentance.
Again, as it may happen (II. xvii. Coroll.) that the pleasure,
wherewith a man conceives that he affects others, may exist
solely in his own imagination, and as (III. xxv.) everyone
endeavours to conceive concerning himself that which he conceives
will affect him with pleasure, it may easily come to pass that a
vain man may be proud and may imagine that he is pleasing to all,
when in reality he may be an annoyance to all.
PROP. XXXI. If we conceive that anyone loves, desires, or hates
anything which we ourselves love, desire, or hate, we shall
thereupon regard the thing in question with more steadfast love,
&c. On the contrary, if we think that anyone shrinks from
something that we love, we shall undergo vacillations of soul.
Proof.-From the mere fact of conceiving that anyone loves
anything we shall ourselves love that thing (III. xxvii.) : but
we are assumed to love it already ; there is, therefore, a new
cause of love, whereby our former emotion is fostered ; hence we
shall thereupon love it more steadfastly. Again, from the mere
fact of conceiving that anyone shrinks from anything, we shall
ourselves shrink from that thing (III. xxvii.). If we assume
that we at the same time love it, we shall then simultaneously
love it and shrink from it ; in other words, we shall be subject
to vacillation (III. xvii. note). Q.E.D.
Corollary.-From the foregoing, and also from III. xxviii. it
follows that everyone endeavours, as far as possible, to cause
others to love what he himself loves, and to hate what he himself
hates : as the poet says : "As lovers let us share every hope
and every fear : ironhearted were he who should love what the
Note.-This endeavour to bring it about, that our own likes
and dislikes should meet with universal approval, is really
ambition (see III. xxix. note) ; wherefore we see that everyone
by nature desires (appetere), that the rest of mankind should
live according to his own individual disposition : when such a
desire is equally present in all, everyone stands in everyone
else's way, and in wishing to be loved or praised by all, all
become mutually hateful.
PROP. XXXII. If we conceive that anyone takes delight in
something, which only one person can possess, we shall endeavour
to bring it about that the man in question shall not gain
Proof.-From the mere fact of our conceiving that another
person takes delight in a thing (III. xxvii. and Coroll.) we
shall ourselves love that thing and desire to take delight
therein. But we assumed that the pleasure in question would be
prevented by another's delight in its object ; we shall,
therefore, endeavour to prevent his possession thereof (III.
Note.-We thus see that man's nature is generally so
constituted, that he takes pity on those who fare ill, and envies
those who fare well with an amount of hatred proportioned to his
own love for the goods in their possession. Further, we see that
from the same property of human nature, whence it follows that
men are merciful, it follows also that they are envious and
ambitious. Lastly, if we make appeal to Experience, we shall
find that she entirely confirms what we have said ; more
especially if we turn our attention to the first years of our
life. We find that children, whose body is continually, as it
were, in equilibrium, laugh or cry simply because they see others
laughing or crying ; moreover, they desire forthwith to imitate
whatever they see others doing, and to possess themselves of
whatever they conceive as delighting others : inasmuch as the
images of things are, as we have said, modifications of the human
body, or modes wherein the human body is affected and disposed by
external causes to act in this or that manner.
PROP. XXXIII. When we love a thing similar to ourselves we
endeavour, as far as we can, to bring about that it should love
us in return.
Proof.-That which we love we endeavour, as far as we can, to
conceive in preference to anything else (III. xii.). If the
thing be similar to ourselves, we shall endeavour to affect it
pleasurably in preference to anything else (III. xxix.). In
other words, we shall endeavour, as far as we can, to bring it
about, that the thing should be affected with pleasure
accompanied by the idea of ourselves, that is (III. xiii. note),
that it should love us in return. Q.E.D.
PROP. XXXIV. The greater the emotion with which we conceive a
loved object to be affected towards us, the greater will be our
Proof.-We endeavour (III. xxxiii.), as far as we can, to
bring about, that what we love should love us in return : in
other words, that what we love should be affected with pleasure
accompanied by the idea of ourself as cause. Therefore, in
proportion as the loved object is more pleasurably affected
because of us, our endeavour will be assisted.-that is (III. xi.
and note) the greater will be our pleasure. But when we take
pleasure in the fact, that we pleasurably affect something
similar to ourselves, we regard ourselves with pleasure (III. 30)
; therefore the greater the emotion with which we conceive a
loved object to be affected, &c. Q.E.D.
PROP. XXXV. If anyone conceives, that an object of his love
joins itself to another with closer bonds of friendship than he
himself has attained to, he will be affected with hatred towards
the loved object and with envy towards his rival.
Proof.-In proportion as a man thinks, that a loved object is
well affected towards him, will be the strength of his
self-approval (by the last Prop.), that is (III. xxx. note), of
his pleasure ; he will, therefore (III. xxviii.), endeavour, as
far as he can, to imagine the loved object as most closely bound
to him : this endeavour or desire will be increased, if he thinks
that someone else has a similar desire (III. xxxi.). But this
endeavour or desire is assumed to be checked by the image of the
loved object in conjunction with the image of him whom the loved
object has joined to itself ; therefore (III. xi. note) he will
for that reason be affected with pain, accompanied by the idea of
the loved object as a cause in conjunction with the image of his
rival ; that is, he will be (III. xiii.) affected with hatred
towards the loved object and also towards his rival (III. xv.
Coroll.), which latter he will envy as enjoying the beloved
Note.-This hatred towards an object of love joined with envy
is called Jealousy, which accordingly is nothing else but a
wavering of the disposition arising from combined love and
hatred, accompanied by the idea of some rival who is envied.
Further, this hatred towards the object of love will be greater,
in proportion to the pleasure which the jealous man had been wont
to derive from the reciprocated love of the said object ; and
also in proportion to the feelings he had previously entertained
towards his rival. If he had hated him, he will forthwith hate
the object of his love, because he conceives it is pleasurably
affected by one whom he himself hates : and also because he is
compelled to associate the image of his loved one with the image
of him whom he hates. This condition generally comes into play
in the case of love for a woman : for he who thinks, that a woman
whom he loves prostitutes herself to another, will feel pain, not
only because his own desire is restrained, but also because,
being compelled to associate the image of her he loves with the
parts of shame and the excreta of another, he therefore shrinks
We must add, that a jealous man is not greeted by his beloved
with the same joyful countenance as before, and this also gives
him pain as a lover, as I will now show.
PROP. XXXVI. He who remembers a thing, in which he has once
taken delight, desires to possess it under the same circumstances
as when he first took delight therein.
Proof.-Everything, which a man has seen in conjunction with
the object of his love, will be to him accidentally a cause of
pleasure (III. xv.) ; he will, therefore, desire to possess it,
in conjunction with that wherein he has taken delight ; in other
words, he will desire to possess the object of his love under the
same circumstances as when he first took delight therein. Q.E.D.
Corollary.-A lover will, therefore, feel pain if one of the
aforesaid attendant circumstances be missing.
Proof.-For, in so far as he finds some circumstance to be
missing, he conceives something which excludes its existence. As
he is assumed to be desirous for love's sake of that thing or
circumstance (by the last Prop.), he will, in so far as he
conceives it to be missing, feel pain (III. xix.). Q.E.D.
Note.-This pain, in so far as it has reference to the absence
of the object of love, is called Regret.
PROP. XXXVII. Desire arising through pain or pleasure, hatred or
love, is greater in proportion as the emotion is greater.
Proof.-Pain diminishes or constrains a man's power of
activity (III. xi. note), in other words (III. vii.), diminishes
or constrains the effort, wherewith he endeavours to persist in
his own being ; therefore (III. v.) it is contrary to the said
endeavour : thus all the endeavours of a man affected by pain are
directed to removing that pain. But (by the definition of pain),
in proportion as the pain is greater, so also is it necessarily
opposed to a greater part of man's power of activity ; therefore
the greater the pain, the greater the power of activity employed
to remove it ; that is, the greater will be the desire or
appetite in endeavouring to remove it. Again, since pleasure
(III. xi. note) increases or aids a man's power of activity, it
may easily be shown in like manner, that a man affected by
pleasure has no desire further than to preserve it, and his
desire will be in proportion to the magnitude of the pleasure.
Lastly, since hatred and love are themselves emotions of pain
and pleasure, it follows in like manner that the endeavour,
appetite, or desire, which arises through hatred or love, will be
greater in proportion to the hatred or love. Q.E.D.
PROP. XXXVIII. If a man has begun to hate an object of his love,
so that love is thoroughly destroyed, he will, causes being
equal, regard it with more hatred than if he had never loved it,
and his hatred will be in proportion to the strength of his
Proof.-If a man begins to hate that which he had loved, more
of his appetites are put under restraint than if he had never
loved it. For love is a pleasure (III. xiii. note) which a man
endeavours as far as he can to render permanent (III. xxviii.) ;
he does so by regarding the object of his love as present, and by
affecting it as far as he can pleasurably ; this endeavour is
greater in proportion as the love is greater, and so also is the
endeavour to bring about that the beloved should return his
affection (III. xxxiii.). Now these endeavours are constrained
by hatred towards the object of love (III. xiii. Coroll. and III.
xxiii.) ; wherefore the lover (III. xi. note) will for this cause
also be affected with pain, the more so in proportion as his love
has been greater ; that is, in addition to the pain caused by
hatred, there is a pain caused by the fact that he has loved the
object ; wherefore the lover will regard the beloved with greater
pain, or in other words, will hate it more than if he had never
loved it, and with the more intensity in proportion as his former
love was greater. Q.E.D.
PROP. XXXIX. He who hates anyone will endeavour to do him an
injury, unless he fears that a greater injury will thereby accrue
to himself ; on the other hand, he who loves anyone will, by the
same law, seek to benefit him.
Proof.-To hate a man is (III. xiii. note) to conceive him as
a cause of pain ; therefore he who hates a man will endeavour to
remove or destroy him. But if anything more painful, or, in
other words, a greater evil, should accrue to the hater
thereby-and if the hater thinks he can avoid such evil by not
carrying out the injury, which he planned against the object of
his hate-he will desire to abstain from inflicting that injury
(III. xxviii.), and the strength of his endeavour (III. xxxvii.)
will be greater than his former endeavour to do injury, and will
therefore prevail over it, as we asserted. The second part of
this proof proceeds in the same manner. Wherefore he who hates
another, etc. Q.E.D.
Note.-By good I here mean every kind of pleasure, and all
that conduces thereto, especially that which satisfies our
longings, whatsoever they may be. By evil, I mean every kind of
pain, especially that which frustrates our longings. For I have
shown (III. ix. note) that we in no case desire a thing because
we deem it good, but, contrariwise, we deem a thing good because
we desire it : consequently we deem evil that which we shrink
from ; everyone, therefore, according to his particular emotions,
judges or estimates what is good, what is bad, what is better,
what is worse, lastly, what is best, and what is worst. Thus a
miser thinks that abundance of money is the best, and want of
money the worst ; an ambitious man desires nothing so much as
glory, and fears nothing so much as shame. To an envious man
nothing is more delightful than another's misfortune, and nothing
more painful than another's success. So every man, according to
his emotions, judges a thing to be good or bad, useful or
useless. The emotion, which induces a man to turn from that
which he wishes, or to wish for that which he turns from, is
called timidity, which may accordingly be defined as the fear
whereby a man is induced to avoid an evil which he regards as
future by encountering a lesser evil (III. xxviii.). But if the
evil which he fears be shame, timidity becomes bashfulness.
Lastly, if the desire to avoid a future evil be checked by the
fear of another evil, so that the man knows not which to choose,
fear becomes consternation, especially if both the evils feared
be very great.
PROP. XL. He, who conceives himself to be hated by another, and
believes that he has given him no cause for hatred, will hate
that other in return.
Proof.-He who conceives another as affected with hatred, will
thereupon be affected himself with hatred (III. xxvii.), that is,
with pain, accompanied by the idea of an external cause. But, by
the hypothesis, he conceives no cause for this pain except him
who is his enemy ; therefore, from conceiving that he is hated by
some one, he will be affected with pain, accompanied by the idea
of his enemy ; in other words, he will hate his enemy in return.
Note.-He who thinks that he has given just cause for hatred
will (III. xxx. and note) be affected with shame ; but this case
(III. xxv.) rarely happens. This reciprocation of hatred may
also arise from the hatred, which follows an endeavour to injure
the object of our hate (III. xxxix.). He therefore who conceives
that he is hated by another will conceive his enemy as the cause
of some evil or pain ; thus he will be affected with pain or
fear, accompanied by the idea of his enemy as cause ; in other
words, he will be affected with hatred towards his enemy, as I
Corollary I.-He who conceives, that one whom he loves hates
him, will be a prey to conflicting hatred and love. For, in so
far as he conceives that he is an object of hatred, he is
determined to hate his enemy in return. But, by the hypothesis,
he nevertheless loves him : wherefore he will be a prey to
conflicting hatred and love.
Corollary II.-If a man conceives that one, whom he has
hitherto regarded without emotion, has done him any injury from
motives of hatred, he will forthwith seek to repay the injury in
Proof.-He who conceives, that another hates him, will (by the
last proposition) hate his enemy in return, and (III. xxvi.) will
endeavour to recall everything which can affect him painfully ;
he will moreover endeavour to do him an injury (III. xxxix.).
Now the first thing of this sort which he conceives is the injury
done to himself ; he will, therefore, forthwith endeavour to
repay it in kind. Q.E.D.
Note.-The endeavour to injure one whom we hate is called
Anger ; the endeavour to repay in kind injury done to ourselves
is called Revenge.
PROP. XLI. If anyone conceives that he is loved by another, and
believes that he has given no cause for such love, he will love
that other in return. (Cf. III. xv. Coroll., and III. xvi.)
Proof.-This proposition is proved in the same way as the
preceding one. See also the note appended thereto.
Note.-If he believes that he has given just cause for the
love, he will take pride therein (III. xxx. and note) ; this is
what most often happens (III. xxv.), and we said that its
contrary took place whenever a man conceives himself to be hated
by another. (See note to preceding proposition.) This
reciprocal love, and consequently the desire of benefiting him
who loves us (III. xxxix.), and who endeavours to benefit us, is
called gratitude or thankfulness. It thus appears that men are
much more prone to take vengeance than to return benefits.
Corollary.-He who imagines that he is loved by one whom he
hates, will be a prey to conflicting hatred and love. This is
proved in the same way as the first corollary of the preceding
Note.-If hatred be the prevailing emotion, he will endeavour
to injure him who loves him ; this emotion is called cruelty,
especially if the victim be believed to have given no ordinary
cause for hatred.
PROP. XLII. He who has conferred a benefit on anyone from
motives of love or honour will feel pain, if he sees that the
benefit is received without gratitude.
Proof.-When a man loves something similar to himself, he
endeavours, as far as he can, to bring it about that he should be
loved thereby in return (III. xxxiii.). Therefore he who has
conferred a benefit confers it in obedience to the desire, which
he feels of being loved in return ; that is (III. xxxiv.) from
the hope of honour or (III. xxx. note) pleasure ; hence he will
endeavour, as far as he can, to conceive this cause of honour, or
to regard it as actually existing. But, by the hypothesis, he
conceives something else, which excludes the existence of the
said cause of honour : wherefore he will thereat feel pain (III.
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 (III. xl.). But if, on the
other hand, he conceives that the object of hate loves him, he
will to this extent (III. xxxviii.) regard himself with pleasure,
and (III. xxix.) will endeavour to please the cause of his
emotion. In other words, he will endeavour not to hate him (III.
xli.), and not to affect him painfully ; this endeavour (III.
xxxvii.) will be greater or less in proportion to the emotion
from which it arises. Therefore, if it be greater than that
which arises from hatred, and through which the man endeavours to
affect painfully the thing which he hates, it will get the better
of it and banish the hatred from his mind. Q.E.D.
PROP. XLIV. Hatred which is completely vanquished by love passes
into love : and love is thereupon greater than if hatred had not
Proof.-The proof proceeds in the same way as Prop. xxxviii.
of this Part : for 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 (III. xxxvii.), accompanied by the idea
of the former object of hatred as cause.
Note.-Though this be so, no one will endeavour to hate
anything, or to be affected with pain, for the sake of enjoying
this greater pleasure ; that is, no one will desire that he
should be injured, in the hope of recovering from the injury, nor
long to be ill for the sake of getting well. For everyone will
always endeavour to persist in his being, and to ward off pain as
far as he can. If the contrary is conceivable, namely, that a
man should desire to hate someone, in order that he might love
him the more thereafter, he will always desire to hate him. For
the strength of love is in proportion to the strength of the
hatred, wherefore the man would desire, that the hatred be
continually increased more and more, and, for a similar reason,
he would desire to become more and more ill, in order that he
might take a greater pleasure in being restored to health : in
such a case he would always endeavour to be ill, which (III. vi.)
PROP. XLV. If a man conceives, that anyone similar to himself
hates anything also similar to himself, which he loves, he will
hate that person.
Proof.-The beloved object feels reciprocal hatred towards him
who hates it (III. xl.) ; therefore the lover, in conceiving that
anyone hates the beloved object, conceives the beloved thing as
affected by hatred, in other words (III. xiii.), by pain ;
consequently he is himself affected by pain accompanied by the
idea of the hater of the beloved thing as cause ; that is, he
will hate him who hates anything which he himself loves (III.
xiii. note). Q.E.D.
PROP. XLVI. If a man has been affected pleasurably or painfully
by anyone, of a class or nation different from his own, and if
the pleasure or pain has been accompanied by the idea of the said
stranger as cause, under the general category of the class or
nation : the man will feel love or hatred, not only to the
individual stranger, but also to the whole class or nation
whereto he belongs.
Proof.-This is evident from III. xvi.
PROP. XLVII. Joy arising from the fact, that anything we hate is
destroyed, or suffers other injury, is never unaccompanied by a
certain pain in us.
Proof.-This is evident from III. xxvii. For in so far as we
conceive a thing similar to ourselves to be affected with pain,
we ourselves feel pain.
Note.-This proposition can also be proved from the Corollary
to II. xvii. Whenever we remember anything, even if it does not
actually exist, we regard it only as present, and the body is
affected in the same manner ; wherefore, in so far as the
remembrance of the thing is strong, a man is determined to regard
it with pain ; this determination, while the image of the thing
in question lasts, is indeed checked by the remembrance of other
things excluding the existence of the aforesaid thing, but is not
destroyed : hence, a man only feels pleasure in so far as the
said determination is checked : for this reason the joy arising
from the injury done to what we hate is repeated, every time we
remember that object of hatred. For, as we have said, when the
image of the thing in question, is aroused, inasmuch as it
involves the thing's existence, it determines the man to regard
the thing with the same pain as he was wont to do, when it
actually did exist. However, since he has joined to the image of
the thing other images, which exclude its existence, this
determination to pain is forthwith checked, and the man rejoices
afresh as often as the repetition takes place. This is the cause
of men's pleasure in recalling past evils, and delight in
narrating dangers from which they have escaped. For when men
conceive a danger, they conceive it as still future, and are
determined to fear it ; this determination is checked afresh by
the idea of freedom, which became associated with the idea of the
danger when they escaped therefrom : this renders them secure
afresh : therefore they rejoice afresh.
PROP. XLVIII. Love or hatred towards, for instance, Peter is
destroyed, if the pleasure involved in the former, or the pain
involved in the latter emotion, be associated with the idea of
another cause : and will be diminished in proportion as we
conceive Peter not to have been the sole cause of either emotion.
Proof.-This Prop. is evident from the mere definition of love
and hatred (III. xiii. note). For pleasure is called love
towards Peter, and pain is called hatred towards Peter, simply in
so far as Peter is regarded as the cause of one emotion or the
other. When this condition of causality is either wholly or
partly removed, the emotion towards Peter also wholly or in part
PROP. XLIX. Love or hatred towards a thing, which we conceive to
be free, must, other conditions being similar, be greater than if
it were felt towards a thing acting by necessity.
Proof.-A thing which we conceive as free must (I. Def. vii.)
be perceived through itself without anything else. If,
therefore, we conceive it as the cause of pleasure or pain, we
shall therefore (III. xiii. note) love it or hate it, and shall
do so with the utmost love or hatred that can arise from the
given emotion. But if the thing which causes the emotion be
conceived as acting by necessity, we shall then (by the same Def.
vii. Part I.) conceive it not as the sole cause, but as one of
the causes of the emotion, and therefore our love or hatred
towards it will be less. Q.E.D.
Note.-Hence it follows, that men, thinking themselves to be
free, feel more love or hatred towards one another than towards
anything else : to this consideration we must add the imitation
of emotions treated of in III. xxvii., xxxiv., xl. and xliii.
PROP. L. Anything whatever can be, accidentally, a cause of hope
Proof.-This proposition is proved in the same way as III.
xv., which see, together with the note to III. xviii.
Note.-Things which are accidentally the causes of hope or
fear are called good or evil omens. Now, in so far as such omens
are the cause of hope or fear, they are (by the definitions of
hope and fear given in III. xviii. note) the causes also of
pleasure and pain ; consequently we, to this extent, regard them
with love or hatred, and endeavour either to invoke them as means
towards that which we hope for, or to remove them as obstacles,
or causes of that which we fear. It follows, further, from III.
xxv., that we are naturally so constituted as to believe readily
in that which we hope for, and with difficulty in that which we
fear ; moreover, we are apt to estimate such objects above or
below their true value. Hence there have arisen superstitions,
whereby men are everywhere assailed. However, 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. Further, in so far
as we hope for or fear anything, we regard it with love or hatred
; thus everyone can apply by himself to hope and fear what we
have said concerning love and hatred.
PROP. LI. Different men may be differently affected by the same
object, and the same man may be differently affected at different
times by the same object.
Proof.-The human body is affected by external bodies in a
variety of ways (II. Post. iii.). Two men may therefore be
differently affected at the same time, and therefore (by Ax. i.
after Lemma iii. after II. xiii.) may be differently affected by
one and the same object. Further (by the same Post.) the human
body can be affected sometimes in one way, sometimes in another ;
consequently (by the same Axiom) it may be differently affected
at different times by one and the same object. Q.E.D.
Note.-We thus see that it is possible, that what one man
loves another may hate, and that what one man fears another may
not fear ; or, again, that one and the same man may love what he
once hated, or may be bold where he once was timid, and so on.
Again, as everyone judges according to his emotions what is good,
what bad, what better, and what worse (III. xxxix. note), it
follows that men's judgments may vary no less than their
emotions10, hence when we compare some with others, we
distinguish them solely by the diversity of their emotions, and
style some intrepid, others timid, others by some other epithet.
For instance, I shall call a man intrepid, if he despises an evil
which I am accustomed to fear ; if I further take into
consideration, that, in his desire to injure his enemies and to
benefit those whom he loves, he is not restrained by the fear of
an evil which is sufficient to restrain me, I shall call him
daring. Again, a man will appear timid to me, if he fears an
evil which I am accustomed to despise ; and if I further take
into consideration that his desire is restrained by the fear of
an evil, which is not sufficient to restrain me, I shall say that
he is cowardly ; and in like manner will everyone pass judgment.
Lastly, from this inconstancy in the nature of human
judgment, inasmuch as a man often judges things solely by his
emotions, and inasmuch as the things which he believes cause
pleasure or pain, and therefore endeavours to promote or prevent,
are often purely imaginary, not to speak of the uncertainty of
things alluded to in III. xxviii. ; we may readily conceive that
a man may be at one time affected with pleasure, and at another
with pain, accompanied by the idea of himself as cause. Thus we
can easily understand what are Repentance and Self-complacency.
Repentance is pain, accompanied by the idea of one's self as
cause ; Self-complacency is pleasure, accompanied by the idea of
one's self as cause, and these emotions are most intense because
men believe themselves to be free (III. xlix.).
PROP. LII. An object which we have formerly seen in conjunction
with others, and which we do not conceive to have any property
that is not common to many, will not be regarded by us for so
long, as an object which we conceive to have some property
peculiar to itself.
Proof.-As soon as we conceive an object which we have seen in
conjunction with others, we at once remember those others (II.
xviii. and note), and thus we pass forthwith from the
contemplation of one object to the contemplation of another
object. And this is the case with the object, which we conceive
to have no property that is not common to many. For we thereupon
assume that we are regarding therein nothing, which we have not
before seen in conjunction with other objects. But when we
suppose that we conceive an object something special, which we
have never seen before, we must needs say that the mind, while
regarding that object, has in itself nothing which it can fall to
regarding instead thereof ; therefore it is determined to the
contemplation of that object only. Therefore an object, &c.
Note.-This mental modification, or imagination of a
particular thing, in so far as it is alone in the mind, is called
Wonder ; but if it be excited by an object of fear, it is called
Consternation, because wonder at an evil keeps a man so engrossed
in the simple contemplation thereof, that he has no power to
think of anything else whereby he might avoid the evil. If,
however, the object of wonder be a man's prudence, industry, or
anything of that sort, inasmuch as the said man, is thereby
regarded as far surpassing ourselves, wonder is called Veneration
; otherwise, if a man's anger, envy, &c., be what we wonder at,
the emotion is called Horror. Again, if it be the prudence,
industry, or what not, of a man we love, that we wonder at, our
love will on this account be the greater (III. xii.), and when
joined to wonder or veneration is called Devotion. We may in
like manner conceive hatred, hope, confidence, and the other
emotions, as associated with wonder ; and we should thus be able
to deduce more emotions than those which have obtained names in
ordinary speech. Whence it is evident, that the names of the
emotions have been applied in accordance rather with their
ordinary manifestations than with an accurate knowledge of their
To wonder is opposed Contempt, which generally arises from
the fact that, because we see someone wondering at, loving, or
fearing something, or because something, at first sight, appears
to be like things, which we ourselves wonder at, love, fear, &c.,
we are, in consequence (III. xv. Coroll. and III. xxvii.),
determined to wonder at, love, or fear that thing. But if from
the presence, or more accurate contemplation of the said thing,
we are compelled to deny concerning it all that can be the cause
of wonder, love, fear, &c., the mind then, by the presence of the
thing, remains determined to think rather of those qualities
which are not in it, than of those which are in it ; whereas, on
the other hand, the presence of the object would cause it more
particularly to regard that which is therein. As devotion
springs from wonder at a thing which we love, so does Derision
spring from contempt of a thing which we hate or fear, and Scorn
from contempt of folly, as veneration from wonder at prudence.
Lastly, we can conceive the emotions of love, hope, honour, &c.,
in association with contempt, and can thence deduce other
emotions, which are not distinguished one from another by any
PROP. LIII. When the mind regards itself and its own power of
activity, it feels pleasure : and that pleasure is greater in
proportion to the distinctness wherewith it conceives itself and
its own power of activity.
Proof.-A man does not know himself except through the
modifications of his body, and the ideas thereof (II. xix. and
xxiii.). When, therefore, the mind is able to contemplate
itself, it is thereby assumed to pass to a greater perfection, or
(III. xi. note) to feel pleasure ; and the pleasure will be
greater in proportion to the distinctness, wherewith it is able
to conceive itself and its own power of activity. Q.E.D.
Corollary.-This pleasure is fostered more and more, in
proportion as a man conceives himself to be praised by others.
For the more he conceives himself as praised by others, the more
he will imagine them to be affected with pleasure, accompanied by
the idea of himself (III. xxix. note) ; thus he is (III. xxvii.)
himself affected with greater pleasure, accompanied by the idea
of himself. Q.E.D.
PROP. LIV. The mind endeavours to conceive only such things as
assert its power of activity.
Proof.-The endeavour or power of the mind is the actual
essence thereof (III. vii.) ; but the essence of the mind
obviously only affirms that which the mind is and can do ; not
that which it neither is nor can do ; therefore the mind
endeavours to conceive only such things as assert or affirm its
power of activity. Q.E.D.
PROP. LV. When the mind contemplates its own weakness, it feels
Proof.-The essence of the mind only affirms that which the
mind is, or can do ; in other words, it is the mind's nature to
conceive only such things as assert its power of activity (last
Prop.). Thus, when we say that the mind contemplates its own
weakness, we are merely saying that while the mind is attempting
to conceive something which asserts its power of activity, it is
checked in its endeavour - in other words (III. xi. note), it
feels pain. Q.E.D.
Corollary.-This pain is more and more fostered, if a man
conceives that he is blamed by others ; this may be proved in the
same way as the corollary to III. liii.
Note.-This pain, accompanied by the idea of our own weakness,
is called humility ; the pleasure, which springs from the
contemplation of ourselves, is called self-love or
self-complacency. And inasmuch as this feeling is renewed as
often as a man contemplates his own virtues, or his own power of
activity, it follows that everyone is fond of narrating his own
exploits, and displaying the force both of his body and mind, and
also that, for this reason, men are troublesome to one another.
Again, it follows that men are naturally envious (III. xxiv.
note, and III. xxxii. note), rejoicing in the shortcomings of
their equals, and feeling pain at their virtues. For whenever a
man conceives his own actions, he is affected with pleasure (III.
liii.), in proportion as his actions display more perfection, and
he conceives them more distinctly-that is (II. xl. note), in
proportion as he can distinguish them from others, and regard
them as something special. Therefore, a man will take most
pleasure in contemplating himself, when he contemplates some
quality which he denies to others. But, if that which he affirms
of himself be attributable to the idea of man or animals in
general, he will not be so greatly pleased : he will, on the
contrary, feel pain, if he conceives that his own actions fall
short when compared with those of others. This pain (III.
xxviii.) he will endeavour to remove, by putting a wrong
construction on the actions of his equals, or by, as far as he
can, embellishing his own.
It is thus apparent that men are naturally prone to hatred
and envy, which latter is fostered by their education. For
parents are accustomed to incite their children to virtue solely
by the spur of honour and envy. But, perhaps, some will scruple
to assent to what I have said, because we not seldom admire men's
virtues, and venerate their possessors. In order to remove such
doubts, I append the following corollary.
Corollary.-No one envies the virtue of anyone who is not his
Proof.-Envy is a species of hatred (III. xxiv. note) or (III.
xiii. note) pain, that is (III. xi. note), a modification whereby
a man's power of activity, or endeavour towards activity, is
checked. But a man does not endeavour or desire to do anything,
which cannot follow from his nature as it is given ; therefore a
man will not desire any power of activity or virtue (which is the
same thing) to be attributed to him, that is appropriate to
another's nature and foreign to his own ; hence his desire cannot
be checked, nor he himself pained by the contemplation of virtue
in some one unlike himself, consequently he cannot envy such an
one. But he can envy his equal, who is assumed to have the same
nature as himself. Q.E.D.
Note.-When, therefore, as we said in the note to III. lii.,
we venerate a man, through wonder at his prudence, fortitude,
&c., we do so, because we conceive those qualities to be peculiar
to him, and not as common to our nature ; we, therefore, no more
envy their possessor, than we envy trees for being tall, or lions
for being courageous.
PROP. LVI. There are as many kinds of pleasure, of pain, of
desire, and of every emotion compounded of these, such as
vacillations of spirit, or derived from these, such as love,
hatred, hope, fear, &c., as there are kinds of objects whereby we
Proof.-Pleasure and pain, and consequently the emotions
compounded thereof, or derived therefrom, are passions, or
passive states (III. xi. note) ; now we are necessarily passive
(III. i.), in so far as we have inadequate ideas ; and only in so
far as we have such ideas are we passive (III. iii.) ; that is,
we are only necessarily passive (II. xl. note), in so far as we
conceive, or (II. xvii. and note) in so far as we are affected by
an emotion, which involves the nature of our own body, and the
nature of an external body. Wherefore the nature of every
passive state must necessarily be so explained, that the nature
of the object whereby we are affected be expressed. Namely, the
pleasure, which arises from, say, the object A, involves the
nature of that object A, and the pleasure, which arises from the
object B, involves the nature of the object B ; wherefore these
two pleasurable emotions are by nature different, inasmuch as the
causes whence they arise are by nature different. So again the
emotion of pain, which arises from one object, is by nature
different from the pain arising from another object, and,
similarly, in the case of love, hatred, hope, fear, vacillation,
Thus, there are necessarily as many kinds of pleasure, pain,
love, hatred, &c., as there are kinds of objects whereby we are
affected. Now desire is each man's essence or nature, in so far
as it is conceived as determined to a particular action by any
given modification of itself (III. ix. note) ; therefore,
according as a man is affected through external causes by this or
that kind of pleasure, pain, love, hatred, &c., in other words,
according as his nature is disposed in this or that manner, so
will his desire be of one kind or another, and the nature of one
desire must necessarily differ from the nature of another desire,
as widely as the emotions differ, wherefrom each desire arose.
Thus there are as many kinds of desire, as there are kinds of
pleasure, pain, love, &c., consequently (by what has been shown)
there are as many kinds of desire, as there are kinds of objects
whereby we are affected. Q.E.D.
Note.-Among the kinds of emotions, which, by the last
proposition, must be very numerous, the chief are luxury,
drunkenness, lust, avarice, and ambition, being merely species of
love or desire, displaying the nature of those emotions in a
manner varying according to the object, with which they are
concerned. For by luxury, drunkenness, lust, avarice, ambition,
&c., we simply mean the immoderate love of feasting, drinking,
venery, riches, and fame. Furthermore, these emotions, in so far
as we distinguish them from others merely by the objects
wherewith they are concerned, have no contraries. For
temperance, sobriety, and chastity, which we are wont to oppose
to luxury, drunkenness, and lust, are not emotions or passive
states, but indicate a power of the mind which moderates the
last-named emotions. However, I cannot here explain the
remaining kinds of emotions (seeing that they are as numerous as
the kinds of objects), nor, if I could, would it be necessary.
It is sufficient for our purpose, namely, to determine the
strength of the emotions, and the mind's power over them, to have
a general definition of each emotion. It is sufficient, I
repeat, to understand the general properties of the emotions and
the mind, to enable us to determine the quality and extent of the
mind's power in moderating and checking the emotions. Thus,
though there is a great difference between various emotions of
love, hatred, or desire, for instance between love felt towards
children, and love felt towards a wife, there is no need for us
to take cognizance of such differences, or to track out further
the nature and origin of the emotions.
PROP. LVII. Any emotion of a given individual differs from the
emotion of another individual, only in so far as the essence of
the one individual differs from the essence of the other.
Proof.-This proposition is evident from Ax. i. (which see
after Lemma iii. Prop. xiii., Part II.). Nevertheless, we will
prove it from the nature of the three primary emotions.
All emotions are attributable to desire, pleasure, or pain,
as their definitions above given show. But desire is each man's
nature or essence (III. ix. note) ; therefore desire in one
individual differs from desire in another individual, only in so
far as the nature or essence of the one differs from the nature
or essence of the other. Again, pleasure and pain are passive
states or passions, whereby every man's power or endeavour to
persist in his being is increased or diminished, helped or
hindered (III. xi. and note). But by the endeavour to persist in
its being, in so far as it is attributable to mind and body in
conjunction, we mean appetite and desire (III. ix. note) ;
therefore pleasure and pain are identical with desire or
appetite, in so far as by external causes they are increased or
diminished, helped or hindered, in other words, they are every
man's nature ; wherefore the pleasure and pain felt by one man
differ from the pleasure and pain felt by another man, only in so
far as the nature or essence of the one man differs from the
essence of the other ; consequently, any emotion of one
individual only differs, &c. Q.E.D.
Note.-Hence it follows, that the emotions of the animals
which are called irrational (for after learning the origin of
mind we cannot doubt that brutes feel) only differ from man's
emotions, to the extent that brute nature differs from human
nature. Horse and man are alike carried away by the desire of
procreation ; but the desire of the former is equine, the desire
of the latter is human. So also the lusts and appetites of
insects, fishes, and birds must needs vary according to the
several natures. Thus, although each individual lives content
and rejoices in that nature belonging to him wherein he has his
being, yet the life, wherein each is content and rejoices, is
nothing else but the idea, or soul, of the said individual, and
hence the joy of one only differs in nature from the joy of
another, to the extent that the essence of one differs from the
essence of another. Lastly, it follows from the foregoing
proposition, that there is no small difference between the joy
which actuates, say, a drunkard, and the joy possessed by a
philosopher, as I just mention here by the way. Thus far I have
treated of the emotions attributable to man, in so far as he is
passive. It remains to add a few words on those attributable to
him in so far as he is active.
PROP. LVIII. Besides pleasure and desire, which are passivities
or passions, there are other emotions derived from pleasure and
desire, which are attributable to us in so far as we are active.
Proof.-When the mind conceives itself and its power of
activity, it feels pleasure (III. liii.) : now the mind
necessarily contemplates itself, when it conceives a true or
adequate idea (II. xliii.). But the mind does conceive certain
adequate ideas (II. xl. note 2.). Therefore it feels pleasure in
so far as it conceives adequate ideas ; that is, in so far as it
is active (III. i.). Again, the mind, both in so far as it has
clear and distinct ideas, and in so far as it has confused ideas,
endeavours to persist in its own being (III. ix.) ; but by such
an endeavour we mean desire (by the note to the same Prop.) ;
therefore, desire is also attributable to us, in so far as we
understand, or (III. i.) in so far as we are active. Q.E.D.
PROP. LIX. Among all the emotions attributable to the mind as
active, there are none which cannot be referred to pleasure or
Proof.-All emotions can be referred to desire, pleasure, or
pain, as their definitions, already given, show. Now by pain we
mean that the mind's power of thinking is diminished or checked
(III. xi. and note) ; therefore, in so far as the mind feels
pain, its power of understanding, that is, of activity, is
diminished or checked (III. i.) ; therefore, no painful emotions
can be attributed to the mind in virtue of its being active, but
only emotions of pleasure and desire, which (by the last Prop.)
are attributable to the mind in that condition. Q.E.D.
Note.-All actions following from emotion, which are
attributable to the mind in virtue of its understanding, I set
down to strength of character (fortitudo), which I divide into
courage (animositas) and highmindedness (generositas). By
courage I mean the desire whereby every man strives to preserve
his own being in accordance solely with the dictates of reason.
By highmindedness I mean the desire whereby every man endeavours,
solely under the dictates of reason, to aid other men and to
unite them to himself in friendship. Those actions, therefore,
which have regard solely to the good of the agent I set down to
courage, those which aim at the good of others I set down to
highmindedness. Thus temperance, sobriety, and presence of mind
in danger, &c., are varieties of courage ; courtesy, mercy, &c.,
are varieties of highmindedness.
I think I have thus explained, and displayed through their
primary causes the principal emotions and vacillations of spirit,
which arise from the combination of the three primary emotions,
to wit, desire, pleasure, and pain. It is evident from what I
have said, that we are in many ways driven about by external
causes, and that like waves of the sea driven by contrary winds
we toss to and fro unwitting of the issue and of our fate. But I
have said, that I have only set forth the chief conflicting
emotions, not all that might be given. For, by proceeding in the
same way as above, we can easily show that love is united to
repentance, scorn, shame, &c. I think everyone will agree from
what has been said, that the emotions may be compounded one with
another in so many ways, and so many variations may arise
therefrom, as to exceed all possibility of computation. However,
for my purpose, it is enough to have enumerated the most
important ; to reckon up the rest which I have omitted would be
more curious than profitable. It remains to remark concerning
love, that it very often happens that while we are enjoying a
thing which we longed for, the body, from the act of enjoyment,
acquires a new disposition, whereby it is determined in another
way, other images of things are aroused in it, and the mind
begins to conceive and desire something fresh. For example, when
we conceive something which generally delights us with its
flavour, we desire to enjoy, that is, to eat it. But whilst we
are thus enjoying it, the stomach is filled and the body is
otherwise disposed. If, therefore, when the body is thus
otherwise disposed, the image of the food which is present be
stimulated, and consequently the endeavour or desire to eat it be
stimulated also, the new disposition of the body will feel
repugnance to the desire or attempt, and consequently the
presence of the food which we formerly longed for will become
odious. This revulsion of feeling is called satiety or
weariness. For the rest, I have neglected the outward
modifications of the body observable in emotions, such, for
instance, as trembling, pallor, sobbing, laughter, &c., for these
are attributable to the body only, without any reference to the
mind. Lastly, the definitions of the emotions require to be
supplemented in a few points ; I will therefore repeat them,
interpolating such observations as I think should here and there
DEFINITIONS OF THE EMOTIONS
I. Desire is the actual essence of man, in so far as it is
conceived, as determined to a particular activity by some given
modification of itself.
Explanation.-We have said above, in the note to Prop. ix. of
this part, that desire is appetite, with consciousness thereof ;
further, that appetite is the essence of man, in so far as it is
determined to act in a way tending to promote its own
persistence. But, in the same note, I also remarked that,
strictly speaking, I recognize no distinction between appetite
and desire. For whether a man be conscious of his appetite or
not, it remains one and the same appetite. Thus, in order to
avoid the appearance of tautology, I have refrained from
explaining desire by appetite ; but I have take care to define it
in such a manner, as to comprehend, under one head, all those
endeavours of human nature, which we distinguish by the terms
appetite, will, desire, or impulse. I might, indeed, have said,
that desire is the essence of man, in so far as it is conceived
as determined to a particular activity ; but from such a
definition (cf. II. xxiii.) it would not follow that the mind can
be conscious of its desire or appetite. Therefore, in order to
imply the cause of such consciousness, it was necessary to add,
in so far as it is determined by some given modification, &c.
For, by a modification of man's essence, we understand every
disposition of the said essence, whether such disposition be
innate, or whether it be conceived solely under the attribute of
thought, or solely under the attribute of extension, or whether,
lastly, it be referred simultaneously to both these attributes.
By the term desire, then, I here mean all man's endeavours,
impulses, appetites, and volitions, which vary according to each
man's disposition, and are, therefore, not seldom opposed one to
another, according as a man is drawn in different directions, and
knows not where to turn.
II. Pleasure is the transition of a man from a less to a greater
III. Pain is the transition of a man from a greater to a less
Explanation-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. This appears more clearly from the consideration of
the contrary emotion, pain. No one can deny, that pain consists
in the transition to a less perfection, and not in the less
perfection itself : for a man cannot be pained, in so far as he
partakes of perfection of any degree. 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 ;
wherefore this activity can only be the activity of transition
from a greater to a less perfection-in other words, it is an
activity whereby a man's power of action is lessened or
constrained (cf. III. xi. note). I pass over the definitions of
merriment, stimulation, melancholy, and grief, because these
terms are generally used in reference to the body, and are merely
kinds of pleasure or pain.
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 (cf. III. lii. and
Explanation-In the note to II. xviii. we showed the reason,
why the mind, from the contemplation of one thing, straightway
falls to the contemplation of another thing, namely, because the
images of the two things are so associated and arranged, that one
follows the other. This state of association is impossible, if
the image of the thing be new ; the mind will then be at a stand
in the contemplation thereof, until it is determined by other
causes to think of something else.
Thus the conception of a new object, considered in itself, is
of the same nature as other conceptions ; hence, I do not include
wonder among the emotions, nor do I see why I should so include
it, inasmuch as this distraction of the mind arises from no
positive cause drawing away the mind from other objects, but
merely from the absence of a cause, which should determine the
mind to pass from the contemplation of one object to the
contemplation of another.
I, therefore, recognize only three primitive or primary
emotions (as I said in the note to III. xi.), namely, pleasure,
pain, and desire. I have spoken of wonder simply because it is
customary to speak of certain emotions springing from the three
primitive ones by different names, when they are referred to the
objects of our wonder. I am led by the same motive to add a
definition of contempt.
V. Contempt is the conception of anything which touches the mind
so little, that its presence leads the mind to imagine those
qualities which are not in it rather than such as are in it (cf.
III. lii. note).
The definitions of veneration and scorn I here pass over, for
I am not aware that any emotions are named after them.
VI. Love is pleasure, accompanied by the idea of an external
Explanation-This definition explains sufficiently clearly the
essence of love ; the definition given by those authors who say
that love is the lover's wish to unite himself to the loved
object expresses a property, but not the essence of love ; and,
as such authors have not sufficiently discerned love's essence,
they have been unable to acquire a true conception of its
properties, accordingly their definition is on all hands admitted
to be very obscure. It must, however, be noted, that when I say
that it is a property of love, that the lover should wish to
unite himself to the beloved object, I do not here mean by wish
consent, or conclusion, or a free decision of the mind (for I
have shown such, in II. xlviii., to be fictitious) ; neither do I
mean a desire of being united to the loved object when it is
absent, or of continuing in its presence when it is at hand ; for
love can be conceived without either of these desires ; but by
wish I mean the contentment, which is in the lover, on account of
the presence of the beloved object, whereby the pleasure of the
lover is strengthened, or at least maintained.
VII. Hatred is pain, accompanied by the idea of an external
Explanation-These observations are easily grasped after what
has been said in the explanation of the preceding definition (cf.
also III. xiii. note).
VIII. Inclination is pleasure, accompanied by the idea of
something which is accidentally a cause of pleasure.
IX. Aversion is pain, accompanied by the idea of something which
is accidentally the cause of pain (cf. III. xv. note).
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
Explanation-In so far as we despise a thing which we hate, we
deny existence thereof (III. lii. note), and to that extent
rejoice (III. xx.). But since we assume that man hates that
which he derides, it follows that the pleasure in question is not
without alloy (cf. III. xlvii. note).
XII. Hope is an inconstant pleasure, arising from the idea of
something past or future, whereof we to a certain extent doubt
XIII. Fear is an inconstant pain arising from the idea of
something past or future, whereof we to a certain extent doubt
the issue (cf. III. xviii. note).
Explanation-From these definitions it follows, that there is
no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.
For he, who depends on hope and doubts concerning the issue of
anything, is assumed to conceive something, which excludes the
existence of the said thing in the future ; therefore he, to this
extent, feels pain (cf. III. xix.) ; consequently, while
dependent on hope, he fears for the issue. Contrariwise he, who
fears, in other words doubts, concerning the issue of something
which he hates, also conceives something which excludes the
existence of the thing in question ; to this extent he feels
pleasure, and consequently to this extent he hopes that it will
turn out as he desires (III. xx.).
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.
Explanation-Thus confidence springs from hope, and despair
from fear, when all cause for doubt as to the issue of an event
has been removed : this comes to pass, because man conceives
something past or future as present and regards it as such, or
else because he conceives other things, which exclude the
existence of the causes of his doubt. For, although we can never
be absolutely certain of the issue of any particular event (II.
xxxi. Coroll.), it may nevertheless happen that we feel no doubt
concerning it. For we have shown, that to feel no doubt
concerning a thing is not the same as to be quite certain of it
(II. xlix. note). Thus it may happen that we are affected by the
same emotion of pleasure or pain concerning a thing past or
future, as concerning the conception of a thing present ; this I
have already shown in III. xviii., to which, with its note, I
refer the reader.
XVI. Joy is pleasure accompanied by the idea of something past,
which has had an issue beyond our hope.
XVII. Disappointment is pain accompanied by the idea of
something past, which has had an issue contrary to our hope.
XVIII. Pity is pain accompanied by the idea of evil, which has
befallen someone else whom we conceive to be like ourselves (cf.
III. xxii. note, and III. xxvii. note).
Explanation-Between pity and sympathy (misericordia) there
seems to be no difference, unless perhaps that the former term is
used in reference to a particular action, and the latter in
reference to a disposition.
XIX. Approval is love towards one who has done good to another.
XX. Indignation is hatred towards one who has done evil to
Explanation-I am aware that these terms are employed in
senses somewhat different from those usually assigned. But my
purpose is to explain, not the meaning of words, but the nature
of things. I therefore make use of such terms, as may convey my
meaning without any violent departure from their ordinary
signification. One statement of my method will suffice. As for
the cause of the above-named emotions see III. xxvii. Coroll. i.,
and III. xxii. note.
XXI. Partiality is thinking too highly of anyone because of the
love we bear him.
XXII. Disparagement is thinking too meanly of anyone because we
Explanation-Thus partiality is an effect of love, and
disparagement an effect of hatred : so that partiality may also
be defined as love, in so far as it induces a man to think too
highly of a beloved object. Contrariwise, disparagement may be
defined as hatred, in so far as it induces a man to think too
meanly of a hated object. Cf. III. xxvi. note.
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
Explanation-Envy is generally opposed to sympathy, which, by
doing some violence to the meaning of the word, may therefore be
thus defined :
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.
Explanation-Concerning envy see the notes to III. xxiv. and
xxxii. These emotions also arise from pleasure or pain
accompanied by the idea of something external, as cause either in
itself or accidentally. I now pass on to other emotions, which
are accompanied by the idea of something within as a cause.
XXV. Self-approval is pleasure arising from a man's
contemplation of himself and his own power of action.
XXVI. Humility is pain arising from a man's contemplation of his
own weakness of body or mind.
Explanation-Self-complacency is opposed to humility, in so
far as we thereby mean pleasure arising from a contemplation of
our own power of action ; but, in so far as we mean thereby
pleasure accompanied by the idea of any action which we believe
we have performed by the free decision of our mind, it is opposed
to repentance, which we may thus define :
XXVII. Repentance is pain accompanied by the idea of some
action, which we believe we have performed by the free decision
of our mind.
Explanation-The causes of these emotions we have set forth in
III. li. note, and in III. liii., liv., lv. and note. Concerning
the free decision of the mind see II. xxxv. note. This is
perhaps the place to call attention to the fact, that it is
nothing wonderful that all those actions, which are commonly
called wrong, are followed by pain, and all those, which are
called right, are followed by pleasure. We can easily gather
from what has been said, that this depends in great measure on
education. Parents, by reprobating the former class of actions,
and by frequently chiding their children because of them, and
also by persuading to and praising the latter class, have brought
it about, that the former should be associated with pain and the
latter with pleasure. This is confirmed by experience. For
custom and religion are not the same among all men, but that
which some consider sacred others consider profane, and what some
consider honourable others consider disgraceful. According as
each man has been educated, he feels repentance for a given
action or glories therein.
XXVIII. Pride is thinking too highly of one's self from
Explanation-Thus pride is different from partiality, for the
latter term is used in reference to an external object, but pride
is used of a man thinking too highly of himself. However, as
partiality is the effect of love, so is pride the effect or
property of self-love, which may therefore be thus defined, love
of self or self-approval, in so far as it leads a man to think
too highly of himself. To this emotion there is no contrary.
For no one thinks too meanly of himself because of self-hatred ;
I say that no one thinks too meanly of himself, in so far as he
conceives that he is incapable of doing this or that. For
whatsoever a man imagines that he is incapable of doing, he
imagines this of necessity, and by that notion he is so disposed,
that he really cannot do that which he conceives that he cannot
do. For, so long as he conceives that he cannot do it, so long
is he not determined to do it, and consequently so long is it
impossible for him to do it. However, if we consider such
matters as only depend on opinion, we shall find it conceivable
that a man may think too meanly of himself ; for it may happen,
that a man, sorrowfully regarding his own weakness, should
imagine that he is despised by all men, while the rest of the
world are thinking of nothing less than of despising him. Again,
a man may think too meanly of himself, if he deny of himself in
the present something in relation to a future time of which he is
uncertain. As, for instance, if he should say that he is unable
to form any clear conceptions, or that he can desire and do
nothing but what is wicked and base, &c. We may also say, that a
man thinks too meanly of himself, when we see him from excessive
fear of shame refusing to do things which others, his equals,
venture. We can, therefore, set down as a contrary to pride an
emotion which I will call self-abasement, for as from
self-complacency springs pride, so from humility springs
self-abasement, which I will accordingly thus define :
XXIX. Self-abasement is thinking too meanly of one's self by
reason of pain.
Explanation-We are nevertheless generally accustomed to
oppose pride to humility, but in that case we pay more attention
to the effect of either emotion than to its nature. We are wont
to call proud the man who boasts too much (III. xxx. note), who
talks of nothing but his own virtues and other people's faults,
who wishes to be first ; and lastly who goes through life with a
style and pomp suitable to those far above him in station. On
the other hand, we call humble the man who too often blushes, who
confesses his faults, who sets forth other men's virtues, and
who, lastly, walks with bent head and is negligent of his attire.
However, these emotions, humility and self-abasement, are
extremely rare. For human nature, considered in itself, strives
against them as much as it can (see III. xiii., liv.) ; hence
those, who are believed to be most self-abased and humble, are
generally in reality the most ambitious and envious.
XXX. Honour11 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.
Explanation-On this subject see the note to III. xxx. But we
should here remark the difference which exists between shame and
modesty. Shame is the pain following the deed whereof we are
ashamed. Modesty is the fear or dread of shame, which restrains
a man from committing a base action. Modesty is usually opposed
to shamelessness, but the latter is not an emotion, as I will
duly show ; however, the names of the emotions (as I have
remarked already) have regard rather to their exercise than to
I have now fulfilled the task of explaining the emotions
arising from pleasure and pain. I therefore proceed to treat of
those which I refer to desire.
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.
Explanation-When we remember a thing, we are by that very
fact, as I have already said more than once, disposed to
contemplate it with the same emotion as if it were something
present ; but this disposition or endeavour, while we are awake,
is generally checked by the images of things which exclude the
existence of that which we remember. Thus when we remember
something which affected us with a certain pleasure, we by that
very fact endeavour to regard it with the same emotion of
pleasure as though it were present, but this endeavour is at once
checked by the remembrance of things which exclude the existence
of the thing in question. Wherefore regret is, strictly
speaking, a pain opposed to that of pleasure, which arises from
the absence of something we hate (cf. III. xlvii. note). But, as
the name regret seems to refer to desire, I set this emotion
down, among the emotions springing from desire.
XXXIII. Emulation is the desire of something, engendered in us
by our conception that others have the same desire.
Explanation-He who runs away, because he sees others running
away, or he who fears, because he sees others in fear ; or again,
he who, on seeing that another man has burnt his hand, draws
towards him his own hand, and moves his body as though his own
were burnt ; such an one can be said to imitate another's
emotion, but not to emulate him ; not because the causes of
emulation and imitation are different, but because it has become
customary to speak of emulation only in him, who imitates that
which we deem to be honourable, useful, or pleasant. As to the
cause of emulation, cf. III. xxvii. and note. The reason why
this emotion is generally coupled with envy may be seen from III.
xxxii. and note.
XXXIV. Thankfulness or Gratitude is the desire or zeal springing
from love, whereby we endeavour to benefit him, who with similar
feelings of love has conferred a benefit on us. Cf. III. xxxix.
note and xl.
XXXV. Benevolence is the desire of benefiting one whom we pity.
Cf. III. xxvii. note.
XXXVI. Anger is the desire, whereby through hatred we are
induced to injure one whom we hate, III. xxxix.
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. Coroll. ii and note.)
XXXVIII. Cruelty or savageness is the desire, whereby a man is
impelled to injure one whom we love or pity.
Explanation-To cruelty is opposed clemency, which is not a
passive state of the mind, but a power whereby man restrains his
anger and revenge.
XXXIX. Timidity is the desire to avoid a greater evil, which we
dread, by undergoing a lesser evil. Cf. III. xxxix. note.
XL. Daring is the desire, whereby a man is set on to do
something dangerous which his equals fear to attempt.
XLI. Cowardice is attributed to one, whose desire is checked by
the fear of some danger which his equals dare to encounter.
Explanation-Cowardice is, therefore, nothing else but the
fear of some evil, which most men are wont not to fear ; hence I
do not reckon it among the emotions springing from desire.
Nevertheless, I have chosen to explain it here, because, in so
far as we look to the desire, it is truly opposed to the emotion
XLII. Consternation is attributed to one, whose desire of
avoiding evil is checked by amazement at the evil which he fears.
Explanation-Consternation is, therefore, a species of
cowardice. But, inasmuch as consternation arises from a double
fear, it may be more conveniently defined as a fear which keeps a
man so bewildered and wavering, that he is not able to remove the
evil. I say bewildered, in so far as we understand his desire of
removing the evil to be constrained by his amazement. I say
wavering, in so far as we understand the said desire to be
constrained by the fear of another evil, which equally torments
him : whence it comes to pass that he knows not, which he may
avert of the two. On this subject, see III. xxxix. note, and
III. lii. note. Concerning cowardice and daring, see III. li.
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.
XLIV. Ambition is the immoderate desire of power.
Explanation-Ambition is the desire, whereby all the emotions
(cf. III. xxvii. and xxxi.) are fostered and strengthened ;
therefore this emotion can with difficulty be overcome. For, so
long as a man is bound by any desire, he is at the same time
necessarily bound by this. "The best men," says Cicero, "are
especially led by honour. Even philosophers, when they write a
book contemning honour, sign their names thereto," and so on.
XLV. Luxury is excessive desire, or even love of living
XLVI. Intemperance is the excessive desire and love of drinking.
XLVII. Avarice is the excessive desire and love of riches.
XLVIII. Lust is desire and love in the matter of sexual
Explanation-Whether this desire be excessive or not, it is
still called lust. These last five emotions (as I have shown in
III. lvi.) have on contraries. For deference is a species of
ambition. Cf. III. xxix. note.
Again, I have already pointed out, that temperance, sobriety,
and chastity indicate rather a power than a passivity of the
mind. It may, nevertheless, happen, that an avaricious, an
ambitious, or a timid man may abstain from excess in eating,
drinking, or sexual indulgence, yet avarice, ambition, and fear
are not contraries to luxury, drunkenness, and debauchery. For
an avaricious man often is glad to gorge himself with food and
drink at another man's expense. An ambitious man will restrain
himself in nothing, so long as he thinks his indulgences are
secret ; and if he lives among drunkards and debauchees, he will,
from the mere fact of being ambitious, be more prone to those
vices. Lastly, a timid man does that which he would not. For
though an avaricious man should, for the sake of avoiding death,
cast his riches into the sea, he will none the less remain
avaricious ; so, also, if a lustful man is downcast, because he
cannot follow his bent, he does not, on the ground of abstention,
cease to be lustful. In fact, these emotions are not so much
concerned with the actual feasting, drinking, &c., as with the
appetite and love of such. Nothing, therefore, can be opposed to
these emotions, but high-mindedness and valour, whereof I will
The definitions of jealousy and other waverings of the mind I
pass over in silence, first, because they arise from the
compounding of the emotions already described ; secondly, because
many of them have no distinctive names, which shows that it is
sufficient for practical purposes to have merely a general
knowledge of them. However, it is established from the
definitions of the emotions, which we have set forth, that they
all spring from desire, pleasure, or pain, or, rather, that there
is nothing besides these three ; wherefore each is wont to be
called by a variety of names in accordance with its various
relations and extrinsic tokens. If we now direct our attention
to these primitive emotions, and to what has been said concerning
the nature of the mind, we shall be able thus to define the
emotions, in so far as they are referred to the mind only.
GENERAL DEFINITION OF THE EMOTIONS
Emotion, which is called a passivity of the soul, is a
confused idea, whereby the mind affirms concerning its body, or
any part thereof, a force for existence (existendi vis) greater
or less than before, and by the presence of which the mind is
determined to think of one thing rather than another.
Explanation-I say, first, that emotion or passion of the soul
is a confused idea. For we have shown that the mind is only
passive, in so far as it has inadequate or confused ideas. (III.
iii.) I say, further, whereby the mind affirms concerning its
body or any part thereof a force for existence greater than
before. For all the ideas of bodies, which we possess, denote
rather the actual disposition of our own body (II. xvi. Coroll.
ii.) than the nature of an external body. But the idea which
constitutes the reality of an emotion must denote or express the
disposition of the body, or of some part thereof, because its
power of action or force for existence is increased or
diminished, helped or hindered. But it must be noted that, when
I say a greater or less force for existence than before, I do not
mean that the mind compares the present with the past disposition
of the body, but that the idea which constitutes the reality of
an emotion affirms something of the body, which, in fact,
involves more or less of reality than before.
And inasmuch as the essence of mind consists in the fact (II.
xi., xiii.), that it affirms the actual existence of its own
body, and inasmuch as we understand by perfection the very
essence of a thing, it follows that the mind passes to greater or
less perfection, when it happens to affirm concerning its own
body, or any part thereof, something involving more or less
reality than before.
When, therefore, I said above that the power of the mind is
increased or diminished, I merely meant that the mind had formed
of its own body, or of some part thereof, an idea involving more
or less of reality, than it had already affirmed concerning its
own body. For the excellence of ideas, and the actual power of
thinking are measured by the excellence of the object. Lastly, I
have added by the presence of which the mind is determined to
think of one thing rather than another, so that, besides the
nature of pleasure and pain, which the first part of the
definition explains, I might also express the nature of desire.
PART IV :
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 : so much
so, that he is often compelled, while seeing that which is better
for him, to follow that which is worse. Why this is so, and what
is good or evil in the emotions, I propose to show in this part
of my treatise. But, before I begin, it would be well to make a
few prefatory observations on perfection and imperfection, good
When a man has purposed to make a given thing, and has
brought it to perfection, his work will be pronounced perfect,
not only by himself, but by everyone who rightly knows, or thinks
that he knows, the intention and aim of its author. For
instance, suppose anyone sees a work (which I assume to be not
yet completed), and knows that the aim of the author of that work
is to build a house, he will call the work imperfect ; he will,
on the other hand, call it perfect, as soon as he sees that it is
carried through to the end, which its author had purposed for it.
But if a man sees a work, the like whereof he has never seen
before, and if he knows not the intention of the artificer, he
plainly cannot know, whether that work be perfect or imperfect.
Such seems to be the primary meaning of these terms.
But, after men began to form general ideas, to think out
types of houses, buildings, towers, &c., and to prefer certain
types to others, it came about, that each man called perfect that
which he saw agree with the general idea he had formed of the
thing in question, and called imperfect that which he saw agree
less with his own preconceived type, even though it had evidently
been completed in accordance with the idea of its artificer.
This seems to be the only reason for calling natural phenomena,
which, indeed, are not made with human hands, perfect or
imperfect : for men are wont to form general ideas of things
natural, no less than of things artificial, and such ideas they
hold as types, believing that Nature (who they think does nothing
without an object) has them in view, and has set them as types
before herself. Therefore, when they behold something in Nature,
which does not wholly conform to the preconceived type which they
have formed of the thing in question, they say that Nature has
fallen short or has blundered, and has left her work incomplete.
Thus we see that men are wont to style natural phenomena perfect
or imperfect rather from their own prejudices, than from true
knowledge of what they pronounce upon.
Now we showed in the Appendix to Part I., that Nature does
not work with an end in view. For the eternal and infinite
Being, which we call God or Nature, acts by the same necessity as
that whereby it exists. For we have shown, that by the same
necessity of its nature, whereby it exists, it likewise works (I.
xvi.). The reason or cause why God or Nature exists, and the
reason why he acts, are one and the same. Therefore, as he does
not exist for the sake of an end, so neither does he act for the
sake of an end ; of his existence and of his action there is
neither origin nor end. Wherefore, a cause which is called final
is nothing else but human desire, in so far as it is considered
as the origin or cause of anything. For example, when we say
that to be inhabited is the final cause of this or that house, we
mean nothing more than that a man, conceiving the conveniences of
household life, had a desire to build a house. Wherefore, the
being inhabited, in so far as it is regarded as a final cause, is
nothing else but this particular desire, which is really the
efficient cause ; it is regarded as the primary cause, because
men are generally ignorant of the causes of their desires. They
are, as I have often said already, conscious of their own actions
and appetites, but ignorant of the causes whereby they are
determined to any particular desire. Therefore, the common
saying that Nature sometimes falls short, or blunders, and
produces things which are imperfect, I set down among the glosses
treated of in the Appendix to Part I. Perfection and
imperfection, then, are in reality merely modes of thinking, or
notions which we form from a comparison among one another of
individuals of the same species ; hence I said above (II. Def.
vi.), that by reality and perfection I mean the same thing. For
we are wont to refer all the individual things in nature to one
genus, which is called the highest genus, namely, to the category
of Being, whereto absolutely all individuals in nature belong.
Thus, in so far as we refer the individuals in nature to this
category, and comparing them one with another, find that some
possess more of being or reality than others, we, to this extent,
say that some are more perfect than others. Again, in so far as
we attribute to them anything implying negation-as term, end,
infirmity, etc., we, to this extent, call them imperfect, because
they do not affect our mind so much as the things which we call
perfect, not because they have any intrinsic deficiency, or
because Nature has blundered. For nothing lies within the scope
of a thing's nature, save that which follows from the necessity
of the nature of its efficient cause, and whatsoever follows from
the necessity of the nature of its efficient cause necessarily
comes to pass.
As for the terms good and bad, they indicate no positive
quality in things regarded in themselves, but are merely modes of
thinking, or 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.
Nevertheless, though this be so, the terms should still be
retained. For, inasmuch as we desire to form an idea of man as a
type of human nature which we may hold in view, it will be useful
for us to retain the terms in question, in the sense I have
In what follows, then, I shall mean by, "good" that, which we
certainly know to be a means of approaching more nearly to the
type of human nature, which we have set before ourselves ; by
"bad," that which we certainly know to be a hindrance to us in
approaching the said type. Again, we shall that men are more
perfect, or more imperfect, in proportion as they approach more
or less nearly to the said type. For it must be specially
remarked that, when I say that a man passes from a lesser to a
greater perfection, or vice versā, I do not mean that he is
changed from one essence or reality to another ; for instance, a
horse would be as completely destroyed by being changed into a
man, as by being changed into an insect. What I mean is, that we
conceive the thing's power of action, in so far as this is
understood by its nature, to be increased or diminished. Lastly,
by perfection in general I shall, as I have said, mean reality-in
other words, each thing's essence, in so far as it exists, and
operates in a particular manner, and without paying any regard to
its duration. For no given thing can be said to be more perfect,
because it has passed a longer time in existence. The duration
of things cannot be determined by their essence, for the essence
of things involves no fixed and definite period of existence ;
but everything, whether it be more perfect or less perfect, will
always be able to persist in existence with the same force
wherewith it began to exist ; wherefore, in this respect, all
things are equal.
I. By good I mean that which we certainly know to be useful to
II. By evil I mean that which we certainly know to be a
to us in the attainment of any good.
(Concerning these terms see the foregoing preface towards the
III. Particular things I call contingent in so far as, while
regarding their essence only, we find nothing therein, which
necessarily asserts their existence or excludes it.
IV. Particular things I call possible in so far as, while
regarding the causes whereby they must be produced, we know not,
whether such causes be determined for producing them.
(In I. xxxiii. note. i., I drew no distinction between
possible and contingent, because there was in that place no need
to distinguish them accurately.)
V. By conflicting emotions I mean those which draw a man in
different directions, though they are of the same kind, such as
luxury and avarice, which are both species of love, and are
contraries, not by nature, but by accident.
VI. What I mean by emotion felt towards a thing, future,
present, and past, I explained in III. xviii., notes. i. and ii.,
(But I should here also remark, that we can only distinctly
conceive distance of space or time up to a certain definite limit
; that is, all objects distant from us more than two hundred
feet, or whose distance from the place where we are exceeds that
which we can distinctly conceive, seem to be an equal distance
from us, and all in the same plane ; so also objects, whose time
of existing is conceived as removed from the present by a longer
interval than we can distinctly conceive, seem to be all equally
distant from the present, and are set down, as it were, to the
same moment of time.)
VII. By an end, for the sake of which we do something, I mean a
VIII. By virtue (virtus) and power I mean the same thing ; that
is (III. vii), virtue, in so far as it is referred to man, is a
man's nature or essence, in so far as it has the power of
effecting what can only be understood by the laws of that nature.
There is no individual thing in nature, than which there is
not another more powerful and strong. Whatsoever thing be given,
there is something stronger whereby it can be destroyed.
PROP. I. No positive quality possessed by a false idea is
removed by the presence of what is true, in virtue of its being
Proof.-Falsity consists solely in the privation of knowledge
which inadequate ideas involve (II. xxxv.), nor have they any
positive quality on account of which they are called false (II.
xxxiii.) ; contrariwise, in so far as they are referred to God,
they are true (II. xxxii.). Wherefore, if the positive quality
possessed by a false idea were removed by the presence of what is
true, in virtue of its being true, a true idea would then be
removed by itself, which (IV. iii.) is absurd. Therefore, no
positive quality possessed by a false idea, &c. Q.E.D.
Note.-This proposition is more clearly understood from II.
xvi. Coroll. ii. For imagination is an idea, which indicates
rather the present disposition of the human body than the nature
of the external body ; not indeed distinctly, but confusedly ;
whence it comes to pass, that the mind is said to err. For
instance, when we look at the sun, we conceive that it is distant
from us about two hundred feet ; in this judgment we err, so long
as we are in ignorance of its true distance ; when its true
distance is known, the error is removed, but not the imagination
; or, in other words, the idea of the sun, which only explains
tho nature of that luminary, in so far as the body is affected
thereby : wherefore, though we know the real distance, we shall
still nevertheless imagine the sun to be near us. For, as we
said in II. xxxv. note, we do not imagine the sun to be so near
us, because we are ignorant of its true distance, but because the
mind conceives the magnitude of the sun to the extent that the
body is affected thereby. Thus, when the rays of the sun falling
on the surface of water are reflected into our eyes, we imagine
the sun as if it were in the water, though we are aware of its
real position ; and similarly other imaginations, wherein the
mind is deceived, whether they indicate the natural disposition
of the body, or that its power of activity is increased or
diminished, are not contrary to the truth, and do not vanish at
its presence. It happens indeed that, when we mistakenly fear an
evil, the fear vanishes when we hear the true tidings ; but the
contrary also happens, namely, that we fear an evil which will
certainly come, and our fear vanishes when we hear false tidings
; thus imaginations do not vanish at the presence of the truth,
in virtue of its being true, but because other imaginations,
stronger than the first, supervene and exclude the present
existence of that which we imagined, as I have shown in II. xvii.
PROP. II. We are only passive, in so far as we are apart of
Nature, which cannot be conceived by itself without other parts.
Proof.-We are said to be passive, when something arises in
us, whereof we are only a partial cause (III. Def. ii.), that is
(III. Def. i.), something which cannot be deduced solely from the
laws of our nature. We are passive therefore, in so far as we
are a part of Nature, which cannot be conceived by itself without
other parts. Q.E.D.
PROP. III. The force whereby a man persists in existing is
limited, and is infinitely surpassed by the power of external
Proof.-This is evident from the axiom of this part. For,
when man is given, there is something else-say A-more powerful ;
when A is given, there is something else-say B-more powerful than
A, and so on to infinity ; thus the power of man is limited by
the power of some other thing, and is infinitely surpassed by the
power of external causes. Q.E.D.
PROP. IV. It is impossible, that man should not be a part of
Nature, or that he should be capable of undergoing no changes,
save such as can be understood through his nature only as their
Proof.-The power, whereby each particular thing, and
consequently man, preserves his being, is the power of God or of
Nature (I. xxiv. Coroll.) ; not in so far as it is infinite, but
in so far as it can be explained by the actual human essence
(III. vii.). 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, in other words, of the essence thereof (I.
xxxiv.). This was our first point. Again, if it were possible,
that man should undergo no changes save such as can be understood
solely through the nature of man, it would follow that he would
not be able to die, but would always necessarily exist ; this
would be the necessary consequence of a cause whose power was
either finite or infinite ; namely, either of man's power only,
inasmuch as he would be capable of removing from himself all
changes which could spring from external causes ; or of the
infinite power of Nature, whereby all individual things would be
so ordered, that man should be incapable of undergoing any
changes save such as tended towards his own preservation. But
the first alternative is absurd (by the last Prop., the proof of
which is universal, and can be applied to all individual things).
Therefore, if it be possible, that man should not be capable of
undergoing any changes, save such as can be explained solely
through his own nature, and consequently that he must always (as
we have shown) necessarily exist ; such a result must follow from
the infinite power of God, and consequently (I. xvi.) from the
necessity of the divine nature, in so far as it is regarded as
affected by the idea of any given man, the whole order of nature
as conceived under the attributes of extension and thought must
be deducible. It would therefore follow (I. xxi.) that man is
infinite, which (by the first part of this proof) is absurd. It
is, therefore, impossible, that man should not undergo any
changes save those whereof he is the adequate cause. Q.E.D.
Corollary.-Hence it follows, that man is necessarily always a
prey to his passions, that he follows and obeys the general order
of nature, and that he accommodates himself thereto, as much as
the nature of things demands.
PROP. V. The power and increase of every passion, and its
persistence in existing are not defined by the power, whereby we
ourselves endeavour to persist in existing, but by the power of
an external cause compared with our own.
Proof.-The essence of a passion cannot be explained through
our essence alone (III. Deff. i. and ii.), that is (III. vii.),
the power of a passion cannot be defined by the power, whereby we
ourselves endeavour to persist in existing, but (as is shown in
II. xvi.) must necessarily be defined by the power of an external
cause compared with our own. Q.E.D.
PROP. VI. The force of any passion or emotion can overcome the
rest of a man's activities or power, so that the emotion becomes
obstinately fixed to him.
Proof.-The force and increase of any passion and its
persistence in existing are defined by the power of an external
cause compared with our own (by the foregoing Prop.) ; therefore
(IV. iii.) it can overcome a man's power, &e. Q.E.D.
PROP. VII. An emotion can only be controlled or destroyed by
another emotion contrary thereto, and with more power for
Proof.-Emotion, in so far as it is referred to the mind, is
an idea, whereby the mind affirms of its body a greater or less
force of existence than before (cf. the general Definition of the
Emotions at the end of Part III.). When, therefore, 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. Now this modification of the body (IV. v.) receives
from its cause the force for persistence in its being ; which
force can only be checked or destroyed by a bodily cause (II.
vi.), in virtue of the body being affected with a modification
contrary to (III. v.) and stronger than itself (IV. Ax.) ;
wherefore (II. xii.) the mind is affected by the idea of a
modification contrary to, and stronger than the former
modification, in other words, (by the general definition of the
emotions) the mind will be affected by an emotion contrary to and
stronger than the former emotion, which will exclude or destroy
the existence of the former emotion ; thus an emotion cannot be
destroyed nor controlled except by a contrary and stronger
Corollary.-An emotion, in so far as it is referred to the
mind, can only be controlled or destroyed through an idea of a
modification of the body contrary to, and stronger than, that
which we are undergoing. For the emotion which we undergo can
only be checked or destroyed by an emotion contrary to, and
stronger than, itself, in other words, (by the general Definition
of the Emotions) only by an idea of a modification of the body
contrary to, and stronger than, the modification which we
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
Proof.-We call a thing good or evil, when it is of service or
the reverse in preserving our being (IV. Deff. i. and ii.), that
is (III. vii.), when it increases or diminishes, helps or
hinders, our power of activity. Thus, in so far as we perceive
that a thing affects us with pleasure or pain, we call it good or
evil ; wherefore the knowledge of good and evil is nothing else
but the idea of the pleasure or pain, which necessarily follows
from that pleasurable or painful emotion (II. xxii.). But this
idea is united to the emotion in the same way as mind is united
to body (II. xxi.) ; that is, there is no real distinction
between this idea and the emotion or idea of the modification of
the body, save in conception only. Therefore the knowledge of
good and evil is nothing else but the emotion, in so far as we
are conscious thereof. Q.E.D.
PROP. IX. An emotion, whereof we conceive the cause to be with
us at the present time, is stronger than if we did not conceive
the cause to be with us.
Proof.-Imagination or conception is the idea, by which the
mind regards a thing as present (II. xvii. note), but which
indicates the disposition of the mind rather than the nature of
the external thing (II. xvi. Coroll. ii.). An emotion is
therefore a conception, in so far as it indicates the disposition
of the body. But a conception (by II. xvii.) is stronger, so
long as we conceive nothing which excludes the present existence
of the external object ; wherefore an emotion is also stronger or
more intense, when we conceive the cause to be with us at the
present time, than when we do not conceive the cause to be with
Note.-When I said above in III. xviii. that we are affected
by the image of what is past or future with the same emotion as
if the thing conceived were present, I expressly stated, that
this is only true in so far as we look solely to the image of the
thing in question itself ; for the thing's nature is unchanged,
whether we have conceived it or not ; I did not deny that the
image becomes weaker, when we regard as present to us other
things which exclude the present existence of the future object :
I did not expressly call attention to the fact, because I
purposed to treat of the strength of the emotions in this part of
Corollary.-The image of something past or future, that is, of
a thing which we regard as in relation to time past or time
future, to the exclusion of time present, is, when other
conditions are equal, weaker than the image of something present
; consequently an emotion felt towards what is past or future is
less intense, other conditions being equal, than an emotion felt
towards something present.
PROP. X. Towards something future, which we conceive as close at
hand, we are affected more intensely, than if we conceive that