Part 3: The origin and nature of the emotions

Proposition 39: He who hates anyone will endeavour to do him an injury, unless he fears that a greater injury will come to himself; He who loves anyone will seek to benefit him.

Proof: To hate a man is (3.13 note) to conceive him as a cause of pain

Note: By good I here mean every kind of pleasure, and all that conduces thereto, especially that which satisfies our longings, whatsoever they may be.

Proposition 40: He, who sees himself as hated by another, and believes that there is no cause for hatred, will hate that other in return.

Proof: He who conceives another as affected with hatred, will thereupon be affected himself with hatred (3.27), that is, with pain, accompanied by the idea of an external cause.

Note: He who thinks that he has given just cause for hatred will (3.30 and note) be affected with shame.

Corollary 1: He who conceives, that one whom he loves hates him, will be a prey to conflicting hatred and love.

Corollary 2: If a man conceives that one, whom he has hitherto regarded without emotion, has done him any injury from motives of hatred, he will forthwith seek to repay the injury in kind.

Proof: He who conceives, that another hates him, will (by the last proposition) hate his enemy in return, and (3.26) will endeavour to recall everything which can affect him painfully;

Note: The endeavour to injure one whom we hate is called Anger.

Proposition 41: If anyone conceives that he is loved by another, and believes that he has given no cause for such love, he will love that other in return. (Cf. 3.15 Coroll., and 3.16)

Proof: This proposition is proved in the same way as the preceding one. See also the note appended thereto.

Note: If he believes that he has given just cause for the love, he will take pride therein (3.30 and note).

Corollary: He who imagines that he is loved by one whom he hates, will be a prey to conflicting hatred and love.

Note: If hatred be the prevailing emotion, he will endeavour to injure him who loves him.

Proposition 42: He who has conferred a benefit on anyone from motives of love or honour will feel pain, if he sees that the benefit is received without gratitude.

Proof: When a man loves something similar to himself, he endeavours, as far as he can, to bring it about that he should be loved thereby in return (3.33).

Proposition 43: Hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be destroyed by love.

Proof: He who conceives, that an object of his hatred hates him in return, will thereupon feel a new hatred, while the former hatred (by hypothesis) still remains (3.40).

Proposition 44: Hatred which is completely vanquished by love passes into love: and love is thereupon greater than if hatred had not preceded it.

Proof: The proof proceeds in the same way as Prop. 38 of this Part.

Note: Though this be so, no one will endeavour to hate anything, or to be affected with pain, for the sake of enjoying this greater pleasure.

Proposition 45: If one thinks that anyone similar to himself hates anything also similar to himself, which he loves, he will hate that person.

Proof: The beloved object feels reciprocal hatred towards him who hates it (3.40).

Proposition 46: If a man has been affected pleasurably or painfully by another person representing a different class or nation, the man will love or hate that person and the whole class or nation for that person.

Proof: This is evident from 3.16.

Proposition 47. Joy arising from the fact, that anything we hate is destroyed, or suffers other injury, is never unaccompanied by a certain pain in us.

Proof: This is evident from 3.27 For in so far as we conceive a thing similar to ourselves to be affected with pain, we ourselves feel pain. Note: This proposition can also be proved from the Corollary to 2.17.

Proposition 48: Love or hatred towards, for instance, Peter is destroyed, if the pleasure involved in the former, or the pain involved in the latter emotion, be associated with the idea of another cause: and will be diminished in proportion as we conceive Peter not to have been the sole cause of either emotion. Proof: This Proposition is evident from the mere definition of love and hatred (3.13 note). Proposition 49: Love or hatred towards a thing, which we conceive to be free, must, other conditions being similar, be greater than if it were felt towards a thing acting by necessity. Proof: A thing which we conceive as free must (1. Def. 7) be perceived through itself without anything else. Note: It follows that men, thinking themselves to be free, feel more love or hatred towards one another than towards anything else: to this consideration we must add the imitation of emotions treated of in 3.27, 3.34, 3.40 and 3.43. Proposition 50: Anything whatever can be, accidentally, a cause of hope or fear. Proof: This proposition is proved in the same way as 3.15, which see, together with the note to 3.18. Note: Things which are accidentally the causes of hope or fear are called good or evil omens. Proposition 51: Different men may be differently affected by the same object, and the same man may be differently affected at different times by the same object. Proof: The human body is affected by external bodies in a variety of ways (2. Post. 3). Note: We thus see that it is possible, that what one man loves another may hate, and that what one man fears another may not fear; or, again, that one and the same man may love what he once hated, or may be bold where he once was timid, and so on.

[10] This is possible, though the human mind is part of the divine intellect, as I have shown in 2.13 note.

Proposition 52: An object which we have formerly seen in conjunction with others, and which we do not conceive to have any property that is not common to many, will not be regarded by us for so long, as an object which we conceive to have some property peculiar to itself. Proof: As soon as we conceive an object which we have seen in conjunction with others, we at once remember those others (2.28 and note). Note: Wonder is the mental modification, or imagination of a particular thing. Proposition 53: When the mind regards itself and its own power of activity, it feels pleasure which is proportional to the distinctness wherewith it conceives itself and its own power of activity.

Proof: A man does not know himself except through the modifications of his body, and the ideas thereof (2.19 and 2.23).

Corollary: This pleasure is fostered more and more, in proportion as a man conceives himself to be praised by others.

Proposition 54: The mind endeavours to conceive only such things as assert its power of activity.

Proof: The endeavour or power of the mind is the actual essence thereof (III. vii.).

Proposition 55: When the mind contemplates its own weakness, it feels pain thereat.

Proof: The essence of the mind only affirms that which the mind is, or can do;

Corollary: This pain is more and more fostered, if a man conceives that he is blamed by others;

Note: This pain, accompanied by the idea of our own weakness, is called humility;

Corollary: No one envies the virtue of anyone who is not his equal. Proof: Envy is a species of hatred (3.24. note) or (3.13. note) pain, that is (3.11. note), a modification whereby a man's power of activity, or endeavour towards activity, is checked. Note: When, therefore, as we said in the note to 3.52., we venerate a man, through wonder at his prudence, fortitude, etc., we do so, because we conceive those qualities to be peculiar to him, and not as common to our nature. Proposition 56: There are as many kinds of pleasure, of pain, of desire, and of every emotion compounded of these, such as vacillations of spirit, or derived from these, such as love, hatred, hope, fear, etc., as there are kinds of objects whereby we are affected. Proof: Pleasure and pain, and consequently the emotions compounded thereof, or derived therefrom, are passions, or passive states (3.11. note). Note: Among the kinds of emotions, which, by the last proposition, must be very numerous, the chief are luxury, drunkenness, lust, avarice, and ambition, being merely species of love or desire, displaying the nature of those emotions in a manner varying according to the object, with which they are concerned. Proposition 57. Any emotion of a given individual differs from the emotion of another individual, only in so far as the essence of the one individual differs from the essence of the other. Proof: This proposition is evident from Ax. i. (which see after Lemma 3. Prop. 13, Part 2). Note: It follows that the emotions of the animals which are called irrational (for after learning the origin of mind we cannot doubt that brutes feel) only differ from man's emotions, to the extent that brute nature differs from human nature. Proposition 58: Besides pleasure and desire, which are passivities or passions, there are other emotions derived from pleasure and desire, which are attributable to us in so far as we are active. Proof: When the mind conceives itself and its power of activity, it feels pleasure (3.53.). Proposition 59: Among all the emotions attributable to the mind as active, there are none which cannot be referred to pleasure or desire.

Proof: All emotions can be referred to desire, pleasure, or pain, as their definitions, already given, show.

Note: All actions following from emotion, which are attributable to the mind in virtue of its understanding, I set down to strength of character (fortitudo), which I divide into courage ( animositas) and highmindedness (generositas).

I have thus explained, and displayed through their primary causes the principal emotions and vacillations of spirit, which arise from the combination desire, pleasure, and pain.

  • We are in many ways driven about by external causes.
  • Like waves of the sea driven by contrary winds, we toss to and fro unwitting of the issue and of our fate.
  • I have only given the chief conflicting emotions, not all that might be given, because we can easily show that love is united to repentance, scorn, shame, etc.
  • Emotions may be compounded one with another in so many ways that cannot be computed.
  • It is enough to have enumerated the most important.
  • I have left the rest to those who are more curious than profitable.
  • Regarding love, while we are enjoying a thing which we longed for, the act of enjoyment by the body arouses other images of things that makes the mind desire them fresh.
  • For the rest, I have neglected the outward modifications of the body observable in emotions, such, for instance, as trembling, pallor, sobbing, laughter, &c.,
  • Lastly, the definitions of the emotions require to be supplemented in a few points;
  • I will therefore repeat them, interpolating such observations as I think should here and there be added.