Unformatted text preview: ). But because the word ‘longing’ seems to
involve desire, I include this affect among the affects of desire.
33. Emulation is a desire for a thing which we have because we imagine that others have
the same desire.
Explanation: If someone flees because he sees others flee, or is timid because he sees
others timid, or on seeing someone else burn his hand withdraws his own hand and moves
his body as if his hand were burned, we say that he ‘imitates’ the other’s affect, but not
that he ‘emulates’ it. It’s not that we know of any difference in how emulation and
imitation are caused; it’s just that in ordinary usage we reserve ‘emulous’ for the person
who imitates what we judge to be honourable, useful, or pleasant.
As for the cause of emulation, see 27 and the note on it; and on why envy is generally
joined to this effect, see 32 and the note on it.
34. Gratitude is the desire - the eagerness of love - by which we try to benefit one who
has benefited us from a similar affect of love. See 39 and the note on 41.
35. Benevolence is a desire to benefit someone whom we pity. See the note on 27.
36. Anger is a desire by which we are spurred, out of hate, to harm a person whom we
hate. See 39.
37. Vengeance is a desire by which, out of reciprocal hate, we are roused to harm
someone who from a similar affect has injured us. See the second corollary to 40 and the
note on it.
38. Cruelty is a desire by which someone is roused to harm someone whom we love or
Explanation: Cruelty is the opposite of mercy, which is not a passion but a power of the
mind by which a man governs anger and vengeance - ·something active, not passive·.
39. Timidity is a desire to avoid a greater evil, which we fear, by a lesser one. See the
note on 39.
40. Daring is a desire by which someone is spurred to do something dangerous which his
equals fear to undertake.
41, Cowardice is ascribed to someone whose desire is hindered by timidity concerning a
danger which his equals are willing to risk.
Explanation: So cowardice is just Ÿfear of some evil which most people don’t usually
fear; so I don’t count it among the affects of Ÿdesire. But I wanted to include it here
because it is the opposite of daring so far as its relation to desire is concerned.
42. Consternation is attributed to someone whose desire to avoid an evil is hindered by
wonder at the evil he fears.
Explanation: So consternation is a kind of cowardice. But because it arises from a double
timidity, it can be more conveniently defined as a fear that keeps a man senseless or
vacillating so that he can’t avert the evil. I say ‘senseless’ because part of the meaning is 90
that his desire to avert the evil is hindered by wonder; and I say ‘vacillating’ because part
of the meaning is that the desire is hindered by timidity concerning another evil which
torments him equally, so that he does not know which of the two to avoid. On these see
the notes on 39 and 52. For cowardice and daring, see the note on 51.
43. Human kindness - or in other words, courtesy - is the desire to do what pleases men
and not do what displeases them.
44. Ambition is an excessive desire for esteem.
Explanation: Ambition is a desire by which a ll t he affects are encouraged and
strengthened (by 27 and 31); so this affect can hardly be overcome. For as long as a man is
bound by any desire he must at the same time be bound by this one. As Cicero says, ‘The
best men are those who are most led by love of esteem. Even philosophers who write
books disparaging esteem put their names on them!’
45. Gluttony is the immoderate desire for and love of eating.
45. Drunkenness is the immoderate desire for and love of drinking.
46. Avarice is the immoderate desire for and love of wealth.
48. Lust is the desire for and love of sexual intercourse.
Explanation: This desire for sexual union is usually called ‘lust’, whether or not it is
These five affects (as I pointed out in the note on 56) have no opposites. For courtesy
is a sort of ambition (see the note on 29), and I have already pointed out also that
moderation, sobriety, and chastity indicate the Ÿpower of the mind and not Ÿpassions.
Even if it can happen that an avaricious, ambitious, or timid man abstains from too much
food, drink, and sex, that doesn’t make greed, ambition, and timidity opposites of
gluttony, drunkenness, or lust.
For the Ÿgreedy man generally longs to gorge himself on other people’s food and
drink. And the Ÿambitious man won’t be moderate in anything, provided he can hope not
to be discovered; if he lives among the drunken and the lustful, then his ambition will make
him all more inclined to these vices. And the Ÿtimid man does what he wants not to do; for
although he may hurl his wealth into the sea to avoid death, he is still avaricious. And if
the lustful man has unpleasure because he can’t indulge his inclinations, that doesn’t mean
that he has stopped being lustful.
Basically these affects have less to do with the acts of eating, drinking, and so on than
with the ·underlying· appetite itself and the love. So their only opposites are nobility and
resoluteness, which will be discussed later on.
I pass over the definitions of jealousy and the other vacillations of mind, both because
they arise from combinations of affects that I have already defined and because most of
them don’t have names. Their not having names shows that it is sufficient for practical
purposes to know them only in a general way. Furthermore, from the definitions of the
affects that I have explained it is clear that they all Ÿarise from desire, pleasure, or
unpleasure - or rather, that they Ÿare nothing but those three, with different names given
to them according to their different contexts and relations to other things. If we want now
to attend to these basic affects, and to what I have said about the nature of the mind, we
can define the mental side of the affects as follows. 91 GENERAL DEFINITION OF THE AFFECTS
An affect that is called a passion of the mind is a confused idea through which a mind
affirms of its body (or of some part of it) a greater or lesser force of existing than it had
before, - an idea which, when it is given, determines the mind to think of one thing rather
Explanation: I say that an affect - a passion of the mind - is a confused idea because I
have shown (3) that it is only when it has inadequate or confused ideas that the mind ·is
passive, that is·, is acted on.
Next, I say ‘through which a mind affirms of its body (or of some part of it) a greater
or lesser force of existing than it had before’ because all the ideas that we have of bodies
indicate the actual constitution of our own body (by the second corollary to II16) more
than the nature of the external body. But an idea that makes an affect what it is has to be
one indicating or expressing a state of the body (or of some part of it) which the body or
part thereof is in because its power of acting - its force of existing - is increased or
lessened, helped or hindered.
Please understand what I say about ‘a greater or lesser force of existing than before’.
I do not mean that the mind compares its body’s present constitution with a past
constitution ·and thinks that its force has increased or lessened·, but that the idea which
makes the affect what it is affirms of the body something that really does involve more or
less of reality ·or force· than before.
And because Ÿthe essence of the mind consists in this (by II11 and II13), that it affirms
the actual existence of its body, and Ÿwe understand by ‘perfection’ the very essence of a
thing, it follows that Ÿthe mind passes to a greater or lesser perfection when it happens to
affirm of its body (or of some part thereof) something that involves more or less reality
than before. So when I said above that the mind’s power of thinking is increased or
lessened, I meant merely that the mind has formed of its body (or of some part of it) an
idea that expresses more or less reality than it had previously affirmed of the body.
Finally, I added ‘which determines the mind to think of one thing rather than another’
in order to bring within the scope of the definition desire as well as pleasure and
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This note was uploaded on 03/12/2013 for the course PHIL 105 taught by Professor Mendetta during the Spring '13 term at SUNY Stony Brook.
- Spring '13