|E4: PROP. 53. Humility is not a virtue, or does not arise from reason.
|Proof.-- Humility is pain arising from a man's contemplation of his own infirmities (Def. of the Emotions, E3DOE26). But, in so far as a man knows himself by true reason, he is assumed to understand his essence, that is, his power (E3P7). Wherefore, if a man in self-contemplation perceives any infirmity in himself, it is not by virtue of his understanding himself, but (E3P55) by virtue of his power of activity being checked. But, if we assume that a man perceives his own infirmity by virtue of understanding something stronger than himself, by the knowledge of which he determines his own power of activity, this is the same as saying that we conceive that a man understands himself distinctly (E4P26), because [alternatively "whereby" or "and that"] his power of activity is aided. Wherefore humility, or the pain which arises from a man's contemplation of his own infirmity, does not arise from the contemplation or reason, and is not a virtue but a passion. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P54
|E4: PROP. 54. Repentance is not a virtue, or does not arise from reason; but he who repents of an action is doubly wretched or infirm.
|Proof.--The first part of this proposition is proved like the foregoing one [E4P53]. The second part is proved from the mere definition of the emotion in question (Def. of the Emotions, E3DOE27). For the man allows himself to be overcome, first, by evil desires; secondly, by pain.
| E4: PROP. 54, Note.
--As men seldom live under the guidance of
reason, these two
namely, Humility and
Repentance, as also
Fear, bring more good
than harm; hence, as we must sin, we had better sin in that direction.
For, if all men who are a prey to
emotion were all equally
would shrink from nothing, and would
nothing; how then could they be
joined and linked together in bonds of union?
The crowd plays the tyrant, when it is not in fear; hence we need not wonder that the prophets, who consulted the good, not of a few, but of all, so strenuously commended Humility, Repentance, and Reverence. Indeed those who are a prey to these emotions may be led much more easily than others to live under the guidance of reason, that is, to become free and to enjoy the life of the blessed.
|E4: PROP. 55. Extreme pride or dejection indicates extreme ignorance of self.
|Proof.--This is evident from Def. of the Emotions, E3DOE28 and E3DOE29.
|Referenced in: E4P56
|E4: PROP. 56. Extreme pride or dejection indicates extreme infirmity of spirit.
|Proof.--The first foundation of virtue is self-preservation (E4P22C) under the guidance of reason (E4P24). He, therefore, who is ignorant of himself, is ignorant of the foundation of all virtues, and consequently of all virtues. Again, to act virtuously is merely to act under the guidance of reason (E4P24): now he, that acts under the guidance of reason, must necessarily know that he so acts (E2P43). Therefore he who is in extreme ignorance of himself, and consequently of all virtues, acts least in obedience to virtue; in other words (E4D8), is most infirm of spirit. Thus [by E4P55] extreme pride or dejection indicates extreme infirmity of spirit. Q.E.D.
|E4: PROP. 56, Corollary.--Hence it most clearly follows, that the proud and the dejected specially fall a prey to the emotions.
|E4: PROP. 56 Corollary, Note. --Yet dejection can be more easily corrected than pride; for the latter being a pleasurable emotion, and the former a painful emotion, the pleasurable is stronger than the painful (E4P18).
|E4: PROP. 57. The proud man delights in the company of flatterers and parasites, but hates the company of the high minded.
|Proof.-- Pride is pleasure arising from a man's overestimation of himself (Def. of the Emotions, E3DOE28 and E3DOE6); this estimation the proud man will endeavour to foster by all the means in his power (E3P13CN); he will therefore delight in the company of flatterers and parasites (whose character is too well known to need definition here), and will avoid the company of high-minded men, who value him according to his deserts. Q.E.D.
| E4: PROP. 57, Note.
--It would be too long a task to enumerate here all the evil results of
inasmuch as the proud are a
prey to all the
emotions, though to
none of them less than to love and
I cannot, however, pass over in silence the fact, that a man may be called proud from his underestimation of other people; and, therefore, pride in this sense may be defined as pleasure arising from the false opinion, whereby a man may consider himself superior to his fellows. The dejection, which is the opposite quality to this sort of pride, may be defined as pain arising from the false opinion, whereby a man may think himself inferior to his fellows.
Such being the case, we can easily see that a proud man is necessarily envious ([see E3P55C1N] E3P41N), and only takes pleasure in the company, who fool his weak mind to the top of his bent, and make him insane instead of merely foolish.
Though dejection is the emotion contrary to pride, yet is the dejected man very near akin to the proud man. For, inasmuch as his pain arises from a comparison between his own infirmity and other men's power or virtue, it will be removed, or, in other words, he will feel pleasure, if his imagination be occupied in contemplating other men's faults; whence arises the proverb, " The unhappy are comforted by finding fellow-sufferers."
Contrariwise, he will be the more pained in proportion as he thinks himself inferior to others; hence none are so prone to envy as the dejected, they are specially keen in observing men's actions, with a view to fault-finding rather than correction, in order to reserve their praises for dejection, and to glory therein, though all the time with a dejected air.
These effects follow as necessarily from the said emotion, as it follows from the nature of a triangle, that the three angles are equal to two right angles. I have already said that I call these and similar emotions bad, solely in respect to what is useful to man. The laws of nature have regard to nature's general order, whereof man is but a part. I mention this, in passing, lest any should think that I have wished to set forth the faults and irrational deeds of men rather than the nature and properties of things. For, as I said in the preface to the third Part E3PREF, I regard human emotions and their properties as on the same footing with other natural phenomena. Assuredly human emotions indicate the power and ingenuity of nature, if not of human nature, quite as fully as other things which we admire, and which we delight to contemplate. But I pass on to note those qualities in the emotions, which bring advantage to man, or inflict injury upon him.
|Referenced in: E4APND22
|E4: PROP. 58. Honour (gloria) is not repugnant to reason, but may arise therefrom.
|Proof.--This is evident from Def. of the Emotions, E3DOE30, and also from the definition of an honourable man (E4P37N1).
| E4: PROP. 58, Note.
--Empty honour, as it is styled, is
fostered only by the
good opinion of the populace; when this good opinion ceases there ceases
also the self-approval,
in other words, the highest object of each man's
(E4P52N); consequently, he whose
honour is rooted in popular
approval must, day by day, anxiously strive, act, and scheme in order to
retain his reputation. For the populace is variable and inconstant, so
that, if a reputation be not kept up, it quickly withers away. Everyone
wishes to catch popular applause for himself, and readily represses the
fame of others. The object of the strife being estimated as the greatest
of all goods, each combatant is seized with a fierce desire to put down
his rivals in every possible way, till he who at last comes out victorious
is more proud of
having done harm to others than of having done good to
himself. This sort of honour,
then, is really empty, being nothing.
The points to note concerning shame may easily be inferred from what was said on the subject of mercy and repentance. I will only add that shame, like compassion, though not a virtue, is yet good, in so far as it shows, that the feeler of shame is really imbued with the desire to live honourably; in the same way as suffering is good, as showing that the injured part is not mortified. Therefore, though a man who feels shame is sorrowful he is yet more perfect than he, who is shameless, and has no desire to live honourably.
Such are the points which I undertook to remark upon concerning the emotions of pleasure and pain; as for the desires, they are good or bad according as they spring from good or evil emotions. But all, in so far as they are engendered in us by emotions wherein the mind is passive, are blind (as is evident from what was said in E4P44N), and would be useless, if men could easily be induced to live by the guidance of reason only, as I will now briefly show.
|E4: PROP. 59. To all the actions, whereto we are determined by emotion wherein the mind is passive, we can be determined without emotion by reason.
|Proof.--To act rationally is
nothing else (E3P3 and
E3D2) but to
perform those actions, which follow from the necessity of our nature
considered in itself alone. But
pain is bad,
in so far as it diminishes or
checks the power of action
(E4P41); wherefore we
cannot by pain be
determined to any action, which we should be unable to perform under the
Again, pleasure is bad only in so far as it hinders a man's capability for action (E4P41 and E4P43); therefore to this extent we could not be determined by it to any action, which we could not perform under the guidance of reason.
Lastly, pleasure, in so far as it is good, is in harmony with reason (for it consists in the fact that a man's capability for action is increased or aided); nor is the mind passive therein, except in so far as a man's power of action is not increased to the extent of affording him an adequate conception of himself and his actions (E3P3N). Wherefore, if a man who is pleasurably affected be brought to such a state of perfection, that he gains an adequate conception of himself and his own actions, he will be equally, nay more, capable of those actions, to which he is determined by emotion wherein the mind is passive.
But all emotions are attributable to pleasure, to pain, or to desire (Def. of the Emotions, E3DOE4 explanation); and desire (Def. of the Emotions, E3DOE1) is nothing else but the attempt to act; therefore, to all actions, etc. Q.E.D.
|Another Proof.-- A given action is called bad, in so far as it arises from one being affected by hatred or any evil emotion [by E4P45C1]. But no action, considered in itself alone, is either good or bad (as we pointed out in the preface to Pt. 4 E4PREF), one and the same action being sometimes good, sometimes bad; wherefore to the action which is sometimes bad, or arises from some evil emotion, we may be led by reason (E4P19). Q E.D.
|Referenced in: E5P4CN
| E4: PROP. 59, Note.
--An example will put this point in a clearer light. The action of
striking, in so far as it is considered physically, and in so far as we
merely look to the fact that a man raises his arm, clenches his fist, and
moves his whole arm violently downwards, is a
virtue or excellence which
is conceived as proper to the structure of the human body. If, then, a
man, moved by anger or
hatred, is led to
clench his fist or to move his
arm, this result takes place (as we showed in Pt. 2.), because one and the
same action can be associated with various mental
images of things;
therefore we may be determined to the performance of one and the same
confused ideas, or by
clear and distinct ideas.
Hence it is evident that every desire which springs from emotion, wherein the mind is passive, would become useless, if men could be guided by reason. Let us now see why desire which arises from emotion, wherein the mind is passive, is called by us blind.
|E4: PROP. 60. Desire arising from a pleasure or pain, that is not attributable to the whole body, but only to one or certain parts thereof, is without utility in respect to a man as a whole.
|Proof.--Let it be assumed,
for instance, that A, a part of a body, is
so strengthened by some external cause, that it prevails over the
remaining parts (E4P6).
This part will not endeavour to do away with its
own powers, in order that the other parts of the body may perform its
office; for this it would be necessary for it to have a force or power of
doing away with its own powers, which
(E3P6) is absurd. The said part,
[E3P7 and E3P12],
the mind also, will endeavour to preserve its
arising from a
pleasure of the kind aforesaid
has no utility in reference to a man as a whole.
If it be assumed, on the other hand, that the part, A, be checked so that the remaining parts prevail, it may be proved in the same manner that desire arising from pain has no utility in respect to a man as a whole. Q.E.D.
|E4: PROP. 60, Note. --As pleasure is generally (E4P44N) attributed to one part of the body, we generally desire to preserve our being without taking into consideration our health as a whole: to which it may be added, that the desires which have most hold over us (E4P9 [E4P9C]) take account of the present and not of the future.
|Referenced in: E4APND30
|E4: PROP. 61. Desire which springs from reason cannot be excessive.
|Proof.-- Desire (Def. of the Emotions, E3DOE1) considered absolutely is the actual essence of man, in so far as it is conceived as in any way determined to a particular activity by some given modification of itself. Hence desire, which arises from reason, that is (E3P3), which is engendered in us in so far as we act, is the actual essence or nature of man, in so far as it is conceived as determined to such activities as are adequately conceived through man's essence only (E3D2). Now, if such desire could be excessive, human nature considered in itself alone would be able to exceed itself, or would be able to do more than it can, a manifest contradiction. Therefore, such desire cannot be excessive. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P63C,- E5P4CN
|E4: PROP. 62. In so far as the mind conceives a thing under the dictates of reason, it is affected equally, whether the idea be of a thing future, past, or present.
|Proof.--Whatsoever the mind conceives under the guidance of reason, it conceives under the form of eternity or necessity (E2P44C2), and is therefore affected with the same certitude ([E2P43], E2P43N). Wherefore, whether the thing be present, past, or future, the mind conceives it under the same necessity and is affected with the same certitude; and whether the idea be of something present, past, or future, it will in all cases be equally true (E2P41); that is, it will always possess the same properties of an adequate idea (E2D4); therefore, in so far as the mind conceives things under the dictates of reason, it is affected in the same manner, whether the idea be of a thing future, past, or present. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P66
| E4: PROP. 62, Note.
--If we could possess an adequate knowledge of the
duration of things,
and could determine by
reason their periods of existence, we should
contemplate things future with the same
emotion as things present; and the
as though it were present the good which it conceived as
future; consequently it would necessarily neglect a lesser good in the
present for the sake of a greater good in the future, and would in no wise
that which is good in the present but a source of evil in the
future, as we shall presently show.
However, we can have but a very inadequate knowledge of the duration of things (E2P31); and the periods of their existence (E2P44C1N) we can only determine by imagination, which is not so powerfully affected by the future as by the present. Hence such true knowledge of good and evil as we possess is merely abstract or general, and the judgment which we pass on the order of things and the connection of causes, with a view to determining what is good or bad for us in the present, is rather imaginary than real. Therefore it is nothing wonderful, if the desire arising from such knowledge of good and evil, in so far as it looks on into the future, be more readily checked than the desire of things which are agreeable at the present time. (Cf. E4P16)