Proposition 67. A free man thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life. Proof: A free man is one who lives under the guidance of reason, who is not led by fear (4.63), but who directly desires that which is good (4.63. Coroll.), in other words (4.24), who strives to act, to live, and to preserve his being on the basis of seeking his own true advantage;
Wherefore such an one thinks of nothing less than of death, but his wisdom is a meditation of life. Q.E.D.
Proposition 68. If men were born free, they would, so long as they remained free, form no conception of good and evil. Proof: I call free him who is led solely by reason.
he, therefore, who is born free, and who remains free, has only adequate ideas;
Therefore (4.64. Coroll.) he has no conception of evil, or consequently (good and evil being correlative) of good. Q.E.D.
Note: The hypothesis of this Proposition from 4.4 is false and inconceivable, except as we look solely to the nature of man, or rather to God; not in so far as the latter is infinite, but only in so far as he is the cause of man's existence.
This, and other matters which we have already proved, seem to have been signifieded by Moses in the history of the first man.
For in that narrative no other power of God is conceived, save that whereby he created man, that is the power wherewith he provided solely for man's advantage
it is stated that God forbade man, being free, to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that, as soon as man should have eaten of it, he would straightway fear death rather than desire to live.
Further, it is written that when man had found a wife, who was in entire harmony with his nature, he knew that there could be nothing in nature which could be more useful to him; but that after he believed the beasts to be like himself, he straightway began to imitate their emotions (3.27), and to lose his freedom; this freedom was afterwards recovered by the patriarchs, led by the spirit of Christ; that is, by the idea of God, whereon alone it depends, that man may be free, and desire for others the good which he desires for himself, as we have shown above (4.37).
Proposition 69. The virtue of a free man is seen to be as great, when it declines dangers, as when it overcomes them. Proof: Emotion can only be checked or removed by an emotion contrary to itself, and possessing more power in restraining emotion (4.7).
But blind daring and fear are emotions, which can be conceived as equally great (4. 5. and 3).
Hence, no less virtue or firmness is required in checking daring than in checking fear (3.59. note);
In other words (Def. of the Emotions, 40. and 41), the free man shows as much virtue, when he declines dangers, as when he strives to overcome them. Q.E.D.
Corollary: The free man is as courageous in timely retreat as in combat; or,
a free man shows equal courage or presence of mind, whether he elect to give battle or to retreat.
Note: What courage (animositas) is, and what I mean thereby, I explained in 3.59. note.
By danger I mean everything, which can give rise to any evil, such as pain, hatred, discord, etc.
Proposition 70. The free man, who lives among the ignorant, strives, as far as he can, to avoid receiving favours from them. Proof: Everyone judges what is good according to his disposition (3.39. note).
Wherefore an ignorant man, who has conferred a benefit on another, puts his own estimate upon it, and, if it appears to be estimated less highly by the receiver, will feel pain (3.42.).
But the free man only desires to join other men to him in friendship (4.37.), not repaying their benefits with others reckoned as of like value, but guiding himself and others by the free decision of reason, and doing only such things as he knows to be of primary importance.
Therefore the free man, lest he should become hateful to the ignorant, or follow their desires rather than reason, will endeavour, as far as he can, to avoid receiving their favours.
Note: I say, as far as he can.
For though men be ignorant, yet are they men, and in cases of necessity could afford us human aid, the most excellent of all things: therefore it is often necessary to accept favours from them, and consequently to repay such favours in kind;
We must, therefore, exercise caution in declining favours, lest we should have the appearance of despising those who bestow them, or of being, from avaricious motives, unwilling to requite them, and so give ground for offence by the very fact of striving to avoid it.
Thus, in declining favours, we must look to the requirements of utility and courtesy.
Proposition 71. Only free men are thoroughly grateful one to another. Proof: Only free men are thoroughly useful one to another, and associated among themselves by the closest necessity of friendship (4.35., and Coroll. 1), only such men endeavour, with mutual zeal of love, to confer benefits on each other (4.37.), and, therefore, only they are thoroughly grateful one to another. Q.E.D. Note: The goodwill, which men who are led by blind desire have for one another, is generally a bargaining or enticement, rather than pure goodwill.
Moreover, ingratitude is not an emotion.
Yet it is base, inasmuch as it generally shows, that a man is affected by excessive hatred, anger, pride, avarice, etc.
He who, by reason of his folly, knows not how to return benefits, is not ungrateful, much less he who is not gained over by the gifts of a courtesan to serve her lust, or by a thief to conceal his thefts, or by any similar persons.
Contrariwise, such an one shows a constant mind, inasmuch as he cannot by any gifts be corrupted, to his own or the general hurt.
Proposition 72. The free man never acts fraudulently, but always in good faith. Proof: If it be asked: What should a man's conduct be in a case where he could by breaking faith free himself from the danger of present death?
Would not his plan of self-preservation completely persuade him to deceive?
This may be answered by pointing out that, if reason persuaded him to act thus, it would persuade all men to act in a similar manner, in which case reason would persuade men not to agree in good faith to unite their forces, or to have laws in common, that is, not to have any general laws, which is absurd.
Proposition 73. The man, who is guided by reason, is more free in a State, where he lives under a general system of law, than in solitude, where he is independent. Proof: The man, who is guided by reason, does not obey through fear (4.63).
But, in so far as he endeavours to preserve his being according to the dictates of reason, that is (4.66. note), in so far as he endeavours to live in freedom, he desires to order his life according to the general good (4.37), and, consequently (as we showed in 4.37 note 2), to live according to the laws of his country.
Therefore the free man, in order to enjoy greater freedom, desires to possess the general rights of citizenship. Q.E.D.
Note: These and similar observations, which we have made on man's true freedom, may be referred to strength, that is, to courage and nobility of character (3.59. note).
I do not think it worth while to prove separately all the properties of strength;
much less need I show, that he that is strong hates no man, is angry with no man, envies no man, is indignant with no man, despises no man, and least of all things is proud.
These propositions, and all that relate to the true way of life and religion, are easily proved from 4.37. and 4.46.; namely, that hatred should be overcome with love, and that every man should desire for others the good which he seeks for himself.
We may also repeat what we drew attention to in the note to 4. 50.,
and in other places; namely, that the strong man has ever first in his thoughts, that all things follow from the necessity of the divine nature; so that whatsoever he deems to be hurtful and evil, and whatsoever, accordingly, seems to him impious, horrible, unjust, and base, assumes that appearance owing to his own disordered, fragmentary, and confused view of the universe.
Wherefore he strives before all things to conceive things as they really are, and to remove the hindrances to true knowledge, such as are hatred, anger, envy, derision, pride, and similar emotions, which I have mentioned above.
Thus he endeavours, as we said before, as far as in him lies, to do good, and to go on his way rejoicing.
How far human virtue is capable of attaining to such a condition, and what its powers may be, I will prove in the following Part.