|E4: PROP. 1. No positive quality possessed by a false idea is removed by the presence of what is true, in virtue of its being true.|
|Proof.-- Falsity consists solely in the privation of knowledge which inadequate ideas involve (E2P35), nor have they any positive quality on account of which they are called false (E2P33); contrariwise, in so far as they are referred to God, they are true (E2P32). Wherefore, if the positive quality possessed by a false idea were removed by the presence of what is true, in virtue of its being true, a true idea would then be removed by itself, which (E3P4) is absurd. Therefore, no positive quality possessed by a false idea, etc. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P14|
| E4: PROP. 1, Note.
--This proposition is more clearly understood from
is an idea, which indicates rather the present disposition of
the human body than the nature of the external body; not indeed
distinctly, but confusedly;
whence it comes to pass, that the
mind is said
For instance, when we look at the sun, we conceive [imaginamur] that it is distant from us about two hundred feet; in this judgment we err, so long as we are in ignorance of its true distance; when its true distance is known, the error is removed, but not the imagination; or, in other words, the idea of the sun, which only explains the nature of that luminary, in so far as the body is affected thereby: wherefore, though we know the real distance, we shall still nevertheless imagine the sun to be near us. For, as we said in E2P35N, we do not imagine the sun to be so near us, because we are ignorant of its true distance, but because the mind conceives the magnitude of the sun to the extent that the body is affected thereby. Thus, when the rays of the sun falling on the surface of water are reflected into our eyes, we imagine the sun as if it were in the water, though we are aware of its real position; and similarly other imaginations, wherein the mind is deceived, whether they indicate the natural disposition of the body, or that its power of activity is increased or diminished, are not contrary to the truth, and do not vanish at its presence.
It happens indeed that, when we mistakenly fear an evil, the fear vanishes when we hear the true tidings; but the contrary also happens, namely, that we fear an evil which will certainly come, and our fear vanishes when we hear false tidings; thus imaginations do not vanish at the presence of the truth, in virtue of its being true, but because other imaginations, stronger than the first, supervene and exclude the present existence of that which we imagined, as I have shown in E2P17.
|E4: PROP. 2. We are only passive, in so far as we are a part of Nature, which cannot be conceived by itself without other parts.|
|Proof.--We are said to be passive, when something arises in us, whereof we are only a partial cause (E3D2), that is (E3D1), something which cannot be deduced solely from the laws of our nature. We are passive therefore, in so far as we are a part of Nature, which cannot be conceived by itself without other parts. Q.E.D.|
|E4: PROP. 3. The force whereby a man persists in existing is limited, and is infinitely surpassed by the power of external causes.|
|Proof.--This is evident from the axiom of this part E4A. For, when man is given, there is something else--say A-- more powerful; when A is given, there is something else-- say B--more powerful than A, and so on to infinity; thus the power of man is limited by the power of some other thing, and is infinitely surpassed by the power of external causes. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P4,- E4P6,- E4P15,- E4P43,- E4P69|
|E4: PROP. 4. It is impossible, that man should not be a part of Nature, or that he should be capable of undergoing no changes, save such as can be understood through his nature only as their adequate cause.|
whereby each particular thing,
and consequently man, preserves his being, is the power of
God or of
(E1P24C); not in
so far as it is
but in so far as it can be explained by the
actual human essence
Thus the power of man, in so far as it is
explained through his own actual essence, is a part of the
of God or
in other words, of the essence thereof
was our first point.
Again, if it were possible, that man should undergo no changes save such as can be understood solely through the nature of man, it would follow [E3P4, E3P6] that he would not be able to die, but would always necessarily exist; this would be the necessary consequence of a cause whose power was either finite or infinite; namely, either of man's power only, inasmuch as he would be capable of removing from himself all changes which could spring from external causes; or of the infinite power of Nature, whereby all individual things would be so ordered, that man should be incapable of undergoing any changes save such as tended towards his own preservation.
But the first alternative is absurd (by the last Prop. E4P3, the proof of which is universal, and can be applied to all individual things).
Therefore, if it be possible, that man should not be capable of undergoing any changes, save such as can be explained solely through his own nature, and consequently that he must always (as we have shown) necessarily exist; such a result must follow from the infinite power of God, and consequently (E1P16) from the necessity of the divine nature, in so far as it is regarded as affected by the idea of any given man, the whole order of nature as conceived under the attributes of extension and thought must be deducible. It would therefore follow (E1P21) that man is infinite, which (by the first part of this proof) is absurd.
It is, therefore, impossible, that man should not undergo any changes save those whereof he is the adequate cause. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P68N|
|E4: PROP. 4, Corollary.--Hence it follows, that man is necessarily always a prey to his passions, that he follows and obeys the general order of nature, and that he accommodates himself thereto, as much as the nature of things demands.|
|Referenced in: E4P37N2|
|E4: PROP. 5. The power and increase of every passion, and its persistence in existing are not defined by the power, whereby we ourselves endeavour to persist in existing, but by the power of an external cause compared with our own.|
|Proof.--The essence of a passion cannot be explained through our essence alone (E3D1 and E3D2), that is (E3P7), the power of a passion cannot be defined by the power, whereby we ourselves endeavour to persist in existing, but (as is shown in E2P16) must necessarily be defined by the power of an external cause compared with our own. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P6,- E4P7,- E4P15,- E4P43,- E4P69,- E5P8,- E5P20N|
|E4: PROP. 6. The force of any passion or emotion can overcome the rest of a man's activities or power, so that the emotion becomes obstinately fixed to him.|
|Proof.--The force and increase of any passion and its persistence in existing are defined by the power of an external cause compared with our own (by the foregoing Prop. E4P5); therefore (E4P3) it can overcome a man's power, etc. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P37N2,- E4P43,- E4P44,- E4P60,- E5P7|
|E4: PROP. 7. An emotion can only be controlled or destroyed by another emotion contrary thereto, and with more power for controlling emotion.|
Emotion, in so
far as it is referred to the
mind, is an idea,
whereby the mind
of its body a greater or less force of existence
than before (cf. the general Definition of the Emotions at the end of Part
3. E3DOE). When, therefore,
the mind is assailed by any
body is at the same time affected with a
modification whereby its
power of activity is increased or diminished.
Now this modification of the body (E4P5) receives from its cause the force for persistence in its being; which force can only be checked or destroyed by a bodily cause (E2P6), in virtue of the body being affected with a modification contrary to (E3P5) and stronger than itself (E4A);
wherefore (E2P12) the mind is affected by the idea of a modification contrary to, and stronger than the former modification, in other words, (by the general definition of the emotions E3DOE) the mind will be affected by an emotion contrary to and stronger than the former emotion, which will exclude or destroy the existence of the former emotion; thus an emotion cannot be destroyed nor controlled except by a contrary and stronger emotion. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P7C,- E4P14,- E4P15,- E4P37N2,- E4P69|
|E4: PROP. 7, Corollary.--An emotion, in so far as it is referred to the mind, can only be controlled or destroyed through an idea of a modification of the body contrary to, and stronger than, that which we are undergoing.|
|For the emotion which we undergo can only be checked or destroyed by an emotion contrary to, and stronger than, itself [by E4P7], in other words, (by the general Definition of the Emotions E3DOE) only by an idea of a modification of the body contrary to, and stronger than, the modification which we undergo.|
|E4: PROP. 8. The knowledge of good and evil is nothing else but the emotions of pleasure or pain, in so far as we are conscious thereof.|
|Proof.--We call a
thing good or evil, when it is of service or the
reverse in preserving our being (E4D1
and E4D2), that is
when it increases or diminishes, helps or hinders, our
power of activity.
in so far as we perceive that a thing affects us with
pain, we call it
good or evil; wherefore the knowledge of good and evil is
nothing else but the idea of the
pain, which necessarily
follows from that pleasurable or painful
But this idea is united to the emotion in the same way as mind is united to body (E2P21); that is [E2P21N], there is no real distinction between this idea and the emotion or [E3DOE] idea of the modification of the body, save in conception only. Therefore the knowledge of good and evil is nothing else but the emotion, in so far as we are conscious thereof. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P14,- E4P15,- E4P19,- E4P29,- E4P30,- E4P63C,- E4P64|