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Unformatted text preview: asure or unpleasure from the image of a past or
future thing as from the image of a present thing.
So long as a man has the image of a thing, he will regard the thing as present even if
it doesn’t exist (by II17 and its corollary); and all there is to his imagining it as past
or future is his joining its image to the image of a past or future time (see the note
on II44). The image of the thing is in itself the same, whether it is related to the past,
the future, or the present; that is (by the second corollary to II16), the constitution of
the body - i.e. the affect - is the same, whether the image is of a past
future thing, or a present thing. And so, the affect of pleasure or unpleasure is the
same, no matter what time is involved.
First note on 18: I call a thing past or future here insofar as we
have been affected by it or will be affected by it.
For example, insofar as we
have seen it or will see it,
or insofar as it
has refreshed us or will refresh us, or
has injured us or will injure us.
When we imagine the thing in this way, we affirm its existence, that is, our body doesn’t
have any affect that excludes the thing’s existence. And so (by II17) our body has the
image of the thing in the same way as if it itself were present. However, people who have
had much experience generally vacillate when they think about events as future or past,
and are usually in doubt about event’s outcome (see the note on II44); and for that reason
the affects arising from similar images of things are not so constant, but are generally
disturbed by the images of other things until the person becomes more certain of the
Second note on 18: From what I just have said, we understand what hope and fear,
confidence and despair, gladness and regret are. [‘Regret’ is used to render a phrase of
Spinoza’s whose normal meaning is ‘remorse’, meaning a guilty regret for something one
has done.] For hope is just an inconstant pleasure that has arisen from the image of a
future or past event whose outcome we doubt, whereas fear is an inconstant unpleasure
that has arisen from the image of a doubtful event. If the doubt involved in these affects is 65
removed, hope becomes confidence, and fear becomes despair - that is, a pleasure or
unpleasure arising from the image of a thing we feared or hoped for. Finally, gladness is a
pleasure that has arisen from the image of a past thing whose outcome we had doubted,
while regret is the corresponding unpleasure.
19: Someone who imagines that what he loves is destroyed will have unpleasure,
whereas someone who imagines it to be preserved will have pleasure.
The mind tries its utmost to imagine things that increase or aid the body’s power of
acting (by 12), that is (by the note on 13), things that it loves. But the imagination is
helped to imagine a thing x by whatever posits the existence of x, and hindered by
whatever excludes the existence x (by II17). Therefore, the images of things that
posit the existence of a loved thing help the mind’s effort to imagine that thing, that
is (by the note on 11), give the mind pleasure. Whereas images that exclude the
existence of a loved thing hinder that effort of the mind, that is (by the note on 11),
give the mind unpleasure.
20: Someone who imagines that what he hates is destroyed will have pleasure.
A mind (by 13) tries to imagine things that exclude the existence of things by which
the ·corresponding· body’s power of acting is lessened or hindered, that is (by the
note on 13), it tries to imagine things that exclude the existence of things it hates. So
the image of a thing that excludes the existence of what the mind hates helps this
effort of the mind, that is (by the note on 11), it gives the mind pleasure. So
someone who imagines that what he hates is destroyed will have pleasure.
21: Someone who imagines what he loves to have pleasure or unpleasure will himself
have pleasure or unpleasure; and each of those affects will be great in the lover in
proportion as they are great in the object of his love.
I have demonstrated in 19 that the images of things that posit the existence of a
loved thing help the effort by which the mind tries to imagine that thing. But
pleasure posits the existence of the pleasurable thing, and the greater the pleasure
the more it does this. For (by the note on 11) pleasure is a transition to a greater
perfection. So the image in the lover of the loved thing’s pleasure helps his mind’s
effort, that is (by the note on 11), gives him pleasure, which is great in proportion as
the loved thing’s affect is great.This was the first thing to be proved.
Next, any thing’s unpleasure tends to its destruction, and the more so the
greater the unpleasure that it has (by the note on 11). So (by 19) someone who
imagines what he loves to have unpleasure will himself have unpleasure, which will
be great in proportion as the loved thing’s unpleasure is great.
Note on 21: This explains to...
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- Spring '13