Most writers on the emotions and on human conduct seem to be treating rather of matters outside nature than of natural phenomena following nature's general laws.
They appear to conceive man to be situated in nature as a kingdom within a kingdom.
that he disturbs rather than follows nature's order,
that he has absolute control over his actions, and
that he is determined solely by himself.
They attribute human infirmities and fickleness, not to the power of nature in general, but to some mysterious flaw in the nature of man.
They bemoan, deride, despise, or, as usually happens, abuse this flaw.
He, who succeeds in hitting off the weakness of the human mind more eloquently or more acutely than his fellows, is looked upon as a seer.
Still there has been no lack of very excellent men (to whose toil and industry I confess myself much indebted), who:
have written many noteworthy things on the right way of life, and
have given much sage advice to mankind.
But no one, so far as I know, has defined:
the nature and strength of the emotions, and
the mind's power against them for their restraint.
The illustrious Descartes believed that the mind has absolute power over its actions.
to explain human emotions by their primary causes.
to point out a way how the mind might attain to absolute dominion over them.
But I think that he only displays the acuteness of his own great intellect.
For now, I will to revert to those, who would rather abuse or deride human emotions than understand them.
Such persons will think it strange that I:
should attempt to treat of human vice and folly geometrically, and
should apply rigid reasoning on matters which are frivolous, absurd, dreadful, and repugnant to reason.
However, such is my plan.
Nature is always the same.
Nature does not have flaws in its operations
Everywhere, her efficacy and power of action is the same.
Nature's laws and ordinances, on the changing of all things from one form to another, are the same always and everywhere.
There should be one method of understanding the nature of all things through nature's universal laws and rules.
Thus, hatred, anger, envy, etc., considered in themselves, follow from this same necessity and efficacy of nature.
They answer to certain definite causes, through which they are understood.
They have certain properties which delight us in the contemplation of those properties themselves.
Therefore, I shall explain the nature and strength of the emotions in the same way that I explained the nature of God and the mind.
I shall examine human actions and desires in the same way as I examine lines, planes, and solids.
An adequate cause is a cause through which its effect can be clearly and distinctly perceived.
An inadequate or partial cause is a cause through which, by itself, its effect cannot be understood.
When anything happens within us or externally to us, we act and become our own adequate cause.
We become our own adequate cause (by the foregoing definition) when something happens within us or externally to us, which can only be clearly and distinctly understood through our nature.
On the other hand, we are only the partial cause for something that happens within us, or follows from our nature externally, which we are passive about.
the modifications of the body which increases or reduces the body's active power, aided or constrained, and
also the ideas of such modifications.
Note: If we can be the adequate cause of any of these modifications, I then call the emotion an activity.
Otherwise, I call it a passion or state wherein the mind is passive.
The human body can be affected in many ways which increases or reduces its power of activity.
It can also be affected in other ways which do not change this power.
Note: This postulate or axiom rests on Postulate 1 and Lemmas 5 and 7, which is after 2.13.
The human body can undergo many changes.
Nevertheless, it can retain:
the impressions or traces of objects (cf. 2. Post. 5) and
consequently, the same images of things (see note 2.17).
Proposition 1: Our mind is active in certain cases, and passive in certain cases.
It is active in so far as it has adequate ideas.
It is passive in so far as it has inadequate ideas.
Proof: In every human mind, there are some adequate ideas, and some ideas that are fragmentary and confused (2. 40. note).
The ideas which are adequate in the mind are adequate also in God, as he constitutes the essence of the mind (2.40. Coroll.).
Those ideas which are inadequate in the mind are likewise (by the same Coroll.) adequate in God, because he contains the minds of all.
Some effect must necessarily follow from any given idea (1.36).
God is the adequate cause of this effect (3. Def. 1), not because he is infinite, but because he is conceived as affected by the given idea (2.9).
But of that effect whereof God is the cause, inasmuch as he is affected by an idea which is adequate in a given mind, of that effect,
The mind in question is the adequate cause (2.11. Coroll.) of the effect of whcih .
Therefore our mind, in so far as it has adequate ideas (3. Def. 2), is in certain cases necessarily active.
Whatever follows from the idea which is adequate in God, by virtue of his containing all minds, not by virtue of him having the mind of one man only, (2.11. Coroll.) the mind of man is only a partial cause, not an adequate one.
(3. Def. 2) the mind, as it has inadequate ideas, in certain cases is necessarily passive.
Therefore our mind, is active in certain cases, and passive in certain cases. Q.E.D.
Corollary: It follows that the mind is more or less liable to be acted upon, as it has inadequate ideas.
On the contrary, it is more or less active in proportion as it has adequate ideas.
Proposition 2: The body cannot determine the mind to think.
The mind cannot determine body to motion or rest or any state different from these, if such there be.
Proof: God is the cause of all modes of thinking, by virtue of his being a thinking thing, and not by virtue of his being displayed under any other attribute (2.6).
That, therefore, which determines the mind to thought is a mode of thought, and not a mode of extension.
That is (2 Def. 1), it is not body.
Everything cannot spring from the mind, which is a mode of thought because:
The motion a body must arise from another body, which has also been determined to a state of motion by a third body.
Absolutely everything which takes place in a body must spring from God, as he is regarded as affected by some mode of extension, and not by some mode of thought (2.6.)
Therefore, the body cannot determine the mind, etc. Q.E.D.
Note: This is made clearer by what was said in the note to 2.7: that mind and body are one and the same thing.
They are conceived:
Under the attribute of thought
Under the attribute of extension
Thus, it follows that the order or concatenation of things is identical, whether nature be conceived under the one attribute or the other.
Consequently, the order of states of activity and passivity in our body is simultaneous in nature with the order of states of activity and passivity in the mind.
The same conclusion is evident from the way we proved 2.12.
I do not think that men can be induced to consider the question calmly and fairly.
People are so convinced:
that the body moves merely at the mind's bidding, or
that it performs a variety of actions depending solely on the mind's will or the exercise of thought.
However, no one has laid down the limits to the powers of the body.
No one has as yet been taught by experience what the body can accomplish solely by the laws of nature, as she is regarded as extension.
No one has gained such an accurate knowledge of the bodily mechanism, that he can explain all its functions.
Many actions are observed in the lower animals, which far transcend human sagacity.
Sleepwalkers do many things in their sleep, which they would not venture to do when awake.
These show that the body can by the sole laws of its nature do many things which the mind wonders at.
No one knows:
how the mind moves the body
how many various degrees of motion it can impart to the body
how quickly the mind can move the body.
Thus, when men say that this or that physical action has its origin in the mind, which latter has dominion over the body, they:
are using words without meaning, or
are confessing in specious phraseology that they are ignorant of the cause of the said action, and do not wonder at it.
But they will say that:
we have, at any rate, experience of the fact that unless the human mind is in a fit state to think, the body remains inert.
we have experience, that the mind alone can determine whether we speak or are silent, and a variety of similar states which, accordingly, we say depend on the mind's decree.
But I ask them whether experience does not also teach, that if the body be inactive the mind is simultaneously unfitted for thinking?
When the body is sleeping, the mind is also in a state of torpor.
The mind also has no power of thinking when the body is asleep
Experience will confirm that the mind is not always fit for thinking on a given subject.
The mind more or less fitted for contemplating an object, as the body is more or less fitted for being stimulated by the image of that object.
But it is impossible that solely from the laws of nature considered as extended substance, we should be able to deduce the causes of buildings, pictures, and things of that kind, which are produced only by human art.
nor would the human body, unless it were determined and led by the mind, be capable of building a single temple.
However, I have just pointed out that the objectors cannot:
fix the limits of the body's power, or
say what can be concluded from a consideration of its sole nature, whereas they have experience of many things being accomplished solely by the laws of nature, which they would never have believed possible except under the direction of mind:
such are the actions performed by sleepwalkers while asleep, and wondered at by their performers when awake.
I emphasize that the human body's mechanism is more complex than everything that has been put together by human art.
Infinite results follow from nature, under whatever attribute she be considered.
As for the second objection, the world would be much happier if people were as fully able to keep silence as they are to speak.
Experience shows that people can:
govern anything more easily than their tongues, and
restrain anything more easily than their appetites;
when many believe that we are only free in respect to objects which we moderately desire, because our desire for such can easily be controlled by the thought of something else frequently remembered.
but that we are by no means free in respect to what we seek with violent emotion, for our desire cannot then be allayed with the remembrance of anything else.
However, unless such persons had proved by experience that we do many things which we repent of afterwards, and again that we often, when assailed by contrary emotions,
see the better and follow the worse, there would be nothing to prevent their believing that we are free in all things.
Thus, an infant believes that of its own free will it desires milk
An angry child believes that it freely desires vengeance.
A timid child believes that it freely desires to run away.
A drunken man believes that he utters from the free decision of his mind words which, when he is sober, he would willingly have withheld.
A delirious man, a garrulous woman, a child, and similar other people believe that they speak from the free decision of their mind, when they are in reality unable to restrain their impulse to talk.
Experience teaches us that men believe themselves to be free, simply because:
they are conscious of their actions, and
unconscious of the causes whereby those actions are determined.
The dictates of the mind are just another name for the appetites.
Those dictates therefore vary according to the body's varying state.
Everyone shapes his actions according to his emotion.
Those with conflicting emotions know not what they wish.
Those who are not attacked by any emotion are readily swayed this way or that.
All these considerations clearly show that a mental decision and a bodily appetite, or determined state, are simultaneous, or rather are one and the same thing.
We call these as
decision,when it is regarded through thought.
conditioned state,when it is regarded as extension, and deduced from the laws of motion.
This will be more obvious in the sequel.
Now, I want to point out that we cannot act by the decision of the mind, unless we have a memory of having done so.
For instance, we cannot say a word without remembering that we have done so.
Again, it is not within the mind's free power to remember or forget a thing at will.
Therefore, the freedom of the mind must in any case be limited to the power of uttering something which it remembers.
But when we dream that we speak, we believe that we speak from a free decision of the mind, yet we do not speak.
If we do speak, it is by a spontaneous motion of the body.
Again, we dream that we are concealing something, and we seem to act from the same decision of the mind as that, whereby we keep silence when awake on something we know.
Lastly, we dream that from the free decision of our mind we do something, which we should not dare to do when awake.
Are there two sorts of decisions in the mind:
We must admit that the mind's free decision is not distinguishable from the imagination or memory.
It is nothing more than the affirmation of an idea,
An idea necessarily involves affirmation (2.49).
These mental decisions arise by the same necessity, as ideas exist.
Therefore, those who believe that they act from the free decision of their mind, merely dream with their eyes open.
Proposition 3: The mind's activities arise solely from adequate ideas.
The mind's passive states depend solely on inadequate ideas.
Proof: The first element, which constitutes the essence of the mind, is nothing else but the idea of the actually existent body (2.11. and 2.13), which (2.15) is compounded of many other ideas, whereof some are adequate and some inadequate (2.29. Coroll., 2.38. Coroll.).
Whatsoever therefore follows from the nature of mind, and has mind for its proximate cause, through which it must be understood, must necessarily follow either from an adequate or from an inadequate idea.
But in so far as the mind (3.1) has inadequate ideas, it is necessarily passive: wherefore the activities of the mind follow solely from adequate ideas, and accordingly the mind is only passive in so far as it has inadequate ideas. Q.E.D.
Note: Thus we see, that passive states are not attributed to the mind, except in so far as it contains something involving negation, or in so far as it is regarded as a part of nature, which cannot be clearly anythingd distinctly perceived through itself without other parts:
I could thus show, that passive states are attributed to individual things in the same way that they are attributed to the mind, and that they cannot otherwise be perceived, but my purpose is solely to treat of the human mind.
Proposition 4: Nothing can be destroyed, except by a cause external to itself.
Proof: This proposition is self-evident.
For the definition of anything affirms the essence of that thing, but does not negative it.
In other words, it postulates the essence of the thing, but does not take it away.
So long therefore as we regard only the thing itself, without taking into account external causes, we shall not be able to find in it anything which could destroy it. Q.E.D.
Proposition 5: Things are naturally contrary, that is, cannot exist in the same object, in so far as one is capable of destroying the other.
Proof: If they could agree together or co-exist in the same object, there would then be in the said object something which could destroy it; but this, by the foregoing proposition, is absurd, therefore things, etc. Q.E.D.
Proposition 6: Everything in itself endeavours to persist in its own being.
Proof: Individual things are modes whereby the attributes of God are expressed in a given determinate manner (1.25. Coroll.).
That is (1.34), they are things which express in a given determinate manner the power of God, whereby God is and acts.
Nothing contains in itself anything whereby it can be destroyed, or which can take away its existence (3.4).
But contrariwise it is opposed to all that could take away its existence (3.5).
Therefore, in so far as it can, and in so far as it is in itself, it endeavours to persist in its own being. Q.E.D.
Proposition 7. The endeavour, wherewith everything endeavours to persist in its own being, is nothing else but the actual essence of the thing in question.
Proof: From the given essence of anything certain consequences necessarily follow (1.36), nor have things any power save such as necessarily follows from their nature as determined (1.29).
Wherefore the power of any given thing, or the endeavour whereby, either alone or with other things, it acts, or endeavours to act, that is (3.6), the power or endeavour, wherewith it endeavours to persist in its own being, is nothing else but the given or actual essence of the thing in question. Q.E.D.
Proposition 8: The endeavour, whereby a thing endeavours to persist in its own being, involves no finite time, but an indefinite time.
Proof: If it involved a limited time, which should determine the duration of the thing, it would then follow solely from that power whereby the thing exists, that the thing could not exist beyond the limits of that time, but that it must be destroyed; but this (3.4) is absurd.
Wherefore the endeavour wherewith a thing exists involves no definite time; but, contrariwise, since (3.4) it will by the same power whereby it already exists always continue to exist, unless it be destroyed by some external cause, this endeavour involves an indefinite time.
Proposition 9: The mind has clear, distinct, and confused ideas which consicously persist for an indefinite period
Proof: The essence of the mind is made up of adequate and inadequate ideas (3.3)
Therefore (3.7), The mind endeavours to persist in its own being both ideas for an indefinite time (3.8).
The mind (2.23) is conscious of itself through the ideas of the modifications of the body, the mind is therefore (3.7) conscious of its own endeavour.
Note: This endeavour, when referred solely to the mind, is called will.
When referred to the mind and body in conjunction it is called appetite.
It is merely man's essence.
It leads to its preservation.
Man has naturally been determined to perform.
The only difference between appetite and desire is desire is generally applied to men being conscious of their appetite.
Desire is appetite with consciousness of the appetite.
We do not strive for, wish for, long for, or desire anything because we it is good.
Instead we deem a thing to be good because we strive for it, wish for it, long for it, or desire it.
Proposition 10: An idea, which excludes the existence of our body, cannot be postulated in our mind, but is contrary thereto.
Proof: Whatsoever can destroy our body, cannot be postulated therein (3.5).
Therefore neither can the idea of such a thing occur in God, in so far as he has the idea of our body (2.9. Coroll.).
That is (2.11, 2.13), the idea of that thing cannot be postulated as in our mind, but contrariwise, since (2.11, 2.13) the first element, that constitutes the essence of the mind, is the idea of the human body as actually existing, it follows that the first and chief endeavour of our mind is the endeavour to affirm the existence of our body:
Thus, an idea, which negatives the existence of our body, is contrary to our mind, etc. Q.E.D.