|E4: PROP. 35. In so far only as men live in obedience to reason, do they always necessarily agree in nature.
|Proof.--In so far as men are assailed by emotions that are passions, they can be different in nature (E4P33), and at variance one with another [by E4P34]. But men are only said to be active, in so far as they act in obedience to reason (E3P3); therefore, whatsoever follows from human nature in so far as it is defined by reason must (E3D2) be understood solely through human nature as its proximate cause. But, since every man by the laws of his nature desires that which he deems good, and endeavours to remove that which he deems bad (E4P19); and further, since that which we, in accordance with reason, deem good or bad, necessarily is good or bad (E2P41); it follows that men, in so far as they live in obedience to reason, necessarily do only such things as are necessarily good for human nature, and consequently for each individual man (E4P31C); in other words, such things as are in harmony with each man's nature. Therefore, men in so far as they live in obedience to reason, necessarily live always in harmony one with another. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P35C1,- E4P35C2,- E4P36N,- E4P40,- E4P71
|E4: PROP. 35, Corollary 1.--There is no individual thing in nature, which is more useful to man, than a man who lives in obedience to reason.
|For that thing is to man most useful, which is most in harmony with his nature (E4P31C); that is, obviously, man. But man acts absolutely according to the laws of his nature, when he lives in obedience to reason (E3D2), and to this extent only is always necessarily in harmony with the nature of another man (by the last Prop. E4P35); wherefore among individual things nothing is more useful to man, than a man who lives in obedience to reason. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P35C2,- E4P37,- E4P37N2,- E4P71
|E4: PROP. 35, Corollary 2.--As every man seeks most that which is useful to him, so are men most useful one to another.
|For the more a man seeks what is useful to him and endeavours to preserve himself, the more is he endowed with virtue (E4P20), or, what is the same thing (E4D8), the more is he endowed with power to act according to the laws of his own nature, that is [E3P3] to live in obedience to reason. But men are most in natural harmony, when they live in obedience to reason (by the last Prop. E4P35); therefore (by the foregoing Coroll. E4P35C1) men will be most useful one to another, when each seeks most that which is useful to him. Q.E.D.
| E4: PROP. 35 Corollary 2,
--What we have just shown is attested by experience so conspicuously,
that it is in the mouth of nearly everyone: "Man is to man a God."
Yet it rarely happens that men live in obedience to reason, for things are so ordered among them, that they are generally envious and troublesome one to another. Nevertheless they are scarcely able to lead a solitary life, so that the definition of man as a social animal has met with general assent; in fact, men do derive from social life much more convenience than injury.
Let satirists then laugh their fill at human affairs, let theologians rail, and let misanthropes praise to their utmost the life of untutored rusticity, let them heap contempt on men and praises on beasts; when all is said, they will find that men can provide for their wants much more easily by mutual help, and that only by uniting their forces can they escape from the dangers that on every side beset them: not to say how much more excellent and worthy of our knowledge it is, to study the actions of men than the actions of beasts. But I will treat of this more at length elsewhere.
|Referenced in: E4P37N2
|E4: PROP. 36. The highest good of those who follow virtue is common to all, and therefore all can equally rejoice therein.
|Proof.--To act virtuously is to act in obedience with reason (E4P24), and whatsoever we endeavour to do in obedience to reason is to understand (E4P26); therefore (E4P28) the highest good for those who follow after virtue is to know God; that is (E2P47 and E2P47N) a good which is common to all and can be possessed by all men equally, in so far as they are of the same nature. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P37,- E5P20
| E4: PROP. 36, Note.
--Someone may ask how it would be, if the
highest good of those who
follow after virtue
were not common to all? Would it not then follow, as
above (E4P34), that men
living in obedience to
reason, that is
(E4P35), men in so far as they
agree in nature, would be at variance one
To such an inquiry I make answer, that it follows not accidentally but from the very nature of reason, that man's highest good is common to all, inasmuch as it is deduced from the very essence of man, in so far as defined by reason; and that a man could neither be, nor be conceived without the power of taking pleasure in this highest good. For it belongs to the essence of the human mind (E2P47), to have an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God.
|E4: PROP. 37. The good which every man, who follows after virtue, desires for himself he will also desire for other men, and so much the more, in proportion as he has a greater knowledge of God.
|Proof.--Men, in so far as
they live in obedience to
reason, are most
useful to their fellow men (E4P35C1);
therefore (E4P19), we shall in
necessarily endeavour to bring about that men should
live in obedience to
But the good which every man, in so far as he
is guided by reason,
or, in other words, follows after
himself, is to understand (E4P26);
wherefore the good, which each
follower of virtue
seeks for himself, he will
desire also for others.
Again, desire, in so far as it is referred to the mind, is the very essence of the mind (E3DOE1); now the essence of the mind consists in knowledge (E2P11), which involves the knowledge of God (E2P47), and without it (E1P15), can neither be, nor be conceived; therefore, in proportion as the mind's essence involves a greater knowledge of God, so also will be greater the desire of the follower of virtue, that other men should possess that which he seeks as good for himself.--Q.E.D.
|Another Proof.-- The good, which a man desires for himself and loves, he will love more constantly, if he sees that others love it also (E3P31); he will therefore [by E3P31C] endeavour that others should love it also; and as the good in question is common to all [by E4P36], and therefore all can rejoice therein, he will endeavour, for the same reason, to bring about that all should rejoice therein, and this he will do the more (E3P37), in proportion as his own enjoyment of the good is greater.
|Referenced in: E4P45,- E4P45C1,- E4P46,- E4P50,- E4P51,- E4P68N,- E4P70,- E4P71,- E4P73,- E4P73N,- E5P4CN,- E5P20
| E4: PROP. 37, Note 1.
--He who, guided by
emotion only, endeavours to
cause others to love
what he loves
himself, and to make the rest of the world live according to
his own fancy, acts solely by impulse, and is, therefore,
especially to those who take delight in something different, and
accordingly study and, by similar impulse, endeavour, to make men live in
accordance with what pleases themselves. Again, as the highest good sought
by men under the guidance of
emotion is often such, that it can only be
possessed by a single individual, it follows that those who
love it are
not consistent in their intentions, but, while they delight to sing its
to be believed. But he, who endeavours to lead men by
reason, does not act by impulse but
courteously and kindly, and his
intention is always consistent.
Again, whatsoever we desire and do, whereof we are the cause in so far as we possess the idea of God, or know God, I set down to Religion. The desire of welldoing, which is engendered by a life according to reason, I call piety. Further, the desire, whereby a man living according to reason is bound to associate others with himself in friendship, I call honour [Honestas]; by honourable I mean that which is praised by men living according to reason, and by base I mean that which is repugnant to the gaining of friendship.
I have also shown in addition what are the foundations of a state; and the difference between true virtue and infirmity may be readily gathered from what I have said; namely, that true virtue is nothing else but living in accordance with reason; while infirmity is nothing else but man's allowing himself to be led by things which are external to himself, and to be by them determined to act in a manner demanded by the general disposition of things rather than by his own nature considered solely in itself.
Such are the matters which I engaged to prove in E4P18N, whereby it is plain that the law against the slaughtering of animals is founded rather on vain superstition and womanish pity than on sound reason. The rational quest of what is useful to us further teaches us the necessity of associating ourselves with our fellowmen, but not with beasts, or things, whose nature is different from our own; we have the same rights in respect to them as they have in respect to us. Nay, as everyone's right is defined by his virtue, or power, men have far greater rights over beasts than beasts have over men. Still I do not deny that beasts feel: what I deny is, that we may not consult our own advantage and use them as we please, treating them in the way which best suits us; for their nature is not like ours, and their emotions are naturally different from human emotions (E3P57N).
It remains for me to explain what I mean by just and unjust, sin and merit. On these points see the following note.
|Referenced in: E4P45C2,- E4P58,- E4APND15,- E4APND25,- E5P4CN
| E4: PROP. 37, Note 2.
--In the Appendix to Part 1. (E1APND) I
undertook to explain praise and
merit and sin, justice and injustice.
Concerning praise and blame I have spoken in E3P29N: the time has now come to treat of the remaining terms. But I must first say a few words concerning man in the state of nature and in society.
Every man exists by sovereign natural right, and, consequently, by sovereign natural right performs those actions which follow from the necessity of his own nature; therefore by sovereign natural right every man judges what is good and what is bad, takes care of his own advantage according to his own disposition (E4P19 and E4P20), avenges the wrongs done to him (E3P40C2), and endeavours to preserve that which he loves and to destroy that which he hates, (E3P28).
Now, if men lived under the guidance of reason, everyone would remain in possession of this his right, without any injury being done to his neighbour (E4P35C1). But seeing that they are a prey to their emotions [by E4P4C], which far surpass human power or virtue (E4P6), they are often drawn in different directions, and being at variance one with another (E4P33 and E4P34), stand in need of mutual help (E4P35C2N).
Wherefore, in order that men may live together in harmony, and may aid one another, it is, necessary that they should forego their natural right, and, for the sake of security, refrain from all actions which can injure their fellow-men. The way in which this end can be attained, so that men who are necessarily a prey to their emotions (E4P4C), inconstant, and diverse [by E4P33], should be able to render each other mutually secure, and feel mutual trust, is evident from E4P7 and E3P39. It is there shown, that an emotion can only be restrained by an emotion stronger than, and contrary to itself, and that men avoid inflicting injury through fear of incurring a greater injury themselves.
On this law society can be established, so long as it keeps in its own hand the right, possessed by everyone, of avenging injury, and pronouncing on good and evil; and provided it also possesses the power to lay down a general rule of conduct, and to pass laws sanctioned, not by reason, which is powerless in restraining emotion, but by threats (E4P17N). Such a society established with laws and the power of preserving itself is called a State, while those who live under its protection are called citizens.
We may readily understand that there is in the state of nature nothing, which by universal consent is pronounced good or bad; for in the state of nature everyone thinks solely of his own advantage, and according to his disposition, with reference only to his individual advantage, decides what is good or bad, being bound by no law to anyone besides himself.
In the state of nature, therefore, sin is inconceivable; it can only exist in a state, where good and evil are pronounced on by common consent, and where everyone is bound to obey the State authority. Sin, then, is nothing else but disobedience, which is therefore punished by the right of the State only. Obedience, on the other hand, is set down as merit, inasmuch as a man is thought worthy of merit, if he takes delight in the advantages which a State provides.
Again, in the state of nature, no one is by common consent master of anything, nor is there anything in nature, which can be said to belong to one man rather than another: all things are common to all. Hence, in the state of nature, we can conceive no wish to render to every man his own, or to deprive a man of that which belongs to him; in other words, there is nothing in the state of nature answering to justice and injustice. Such ideas are only possible in a social state, when it is decreed by common consent what belongs to one man and what to another.
From all these considerations it is evident, that justice and injustice, sin and merit, are extrinsic ideas, and not attributes which display the nature of the mind. But I have said enough.
|Referenced in: E4P37N1,- E4P45C2,- E4P73,- E4APND15