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Spinoza, Ethics, Part 3

i have left them out because they involve the body

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Unformatted text preview: nly the main ·affects·, not all the conflicts of mind there can be. For by proceeding in the same way as I have done we can easily show that ·there can be ever so many others; for example, that· love can be combined with repentance, contempt, shame, etc. Indeed, I think that what I have already said will make it clear to everyone that the various affects can be combined with one another in so many ways, yielding so many variations, that there is no way of enumerating them all. For my purpose it was sufficient to enumerate only the main affects. ·To consider· the ones I have omitted would be more curious than useful. Nevertheless, this remains to be noted about love: it very often it happens that while we are getting pleasure from a thing we have wanted, this pleasure makes changes in the constitution of our body; these alter how it is acted on, and other images of things are aroused in it; and at the same time the mind begins to imagine other things and want other things. For example, when we imagine something that usually pleases us by its taste, we desire to enjoy it - that is, to consume it. But while we are thus enjoying it, the stomach is filled and the body constituted differently. So if (while the body has this new constitution) the presence of the food or drink encourages the image of it and consequently also the effort or desire to consume it, the new constitution will oppose this desire or effort; and so the presence of the food or drink that we used to want will repel us. This is what we call ‘satiety’ and ‘weariness’. As for the external states of the body that are observed in the affects - such as trembling, paleness, sobbing, laughter, etc. - I have left them out because they involve the body only, with no relation to the mind. Finally, there are certain things to be noted about the definitions of the affects. I shall therefore repeat them here in order, adding the observations required on each one. DEFINITIONS OF THE AFFECTS 1. Desire is a man’s essence, insofar as it is conceived to be determined, from any given state of it, to do something. [This seems to mean: ‘A man’s desire to do x is just the aspects of his nature that tend to cause him to do x’.] Explanation: I s aid in the note on 9 t hat desire is appetite together with the consciousness of it. And appetite is the essence of a man, insofar as it is determined to do what promotes his preservation. But in the same note I also warned that I really recognize no difference between human appetite and desire. For an appetite is exactly the same whether or not the man is conscious of it. And so - not wanting to seem to be guilty of a tautology - I didn’t want to explain ‘desire’ by ‘appetite’, and wanted to define it so that it covers all the efforts of human nature that we label as ‘appetite’, ‘will’, ‘desire’, or ‘impulse’. [Spinoza goes on to explain that he stated the definition in terms of ‘insofar as it is conceived to be determined’ rather than merely ‘insofar as it is determined’ because - he says (obscurely) - the latter version doesn’t imply ‘that the mind could be conscious of its desire or appetite’. He continues:] By ‘a state of a man’s essence’ I understand any constitution of that essence, whether it is innate or caused from outside, and whether conceived through the attribute of thought alone, or through extension alone, or through both at once. 84 By the word ‘desire’, therefore, I understand here any of a man’s efforts, impulses, appetites, and volitions, which vary as the man’s constitution varies, and which are often so opposed to one another that the man is pulled different ways and doesn’t know where to turn. 2. Pleasure is a man’s passing from a lesser perfection to a greater. 3. Unpleasure is a man’s passing from a greater perfection to a lesser. Explanation: I say ‘passing’. For pleasure is not perfection itself. If a man had been born with the perfection to which he passes, he would have possessed it without an affect of pleasure. This is clearer from the affect of unpleasure, which is the opposite of pleasure. For no-one can deny that unpleasure consists in passing to a lesser perfection, not in the lesser perfection itself. That is because ·the lesser perfection would still be a perfection, and· a man can’t have unpleasure from participating in a perfection. Nor can we say that unpleasure consists in the lack of a greater perfection. For a lack is nothing, whereas the affect of unpleasure is a happening, and the only happening it can be is the man’s passing to a lesser perfection, that is, an event through which the man’s power of acting is lessened or hindered (see the note on 11). As for the definitions of titillatio [see explanation in the note on 11], ‘cheerfulness’, ‘pain’ and ‘sadness’, I omit them because they are chiefly related to the body, and are merely kinds of pleasure or unpleasure. 4. Wonder is an imagining of a thing in which the mind remains fixed because this particular imagining has no connection with any others. (See 5 2 a nd...
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