|E4: PROP. 19. Every man, by the laws of his nature, necessarily desires or shrinks from that which he deems to be good or bad.|
|Proof.--The knowledge of good and evil is (E4P8) the emotion of pleasure or pain, in so far as we are conscious thereof; therefore [by E3P28], every man necessarily desires what he thinks good, and shrinks from what he thinks bad. Now this appetite is nothing else but man's nature or essence (cf. the Definition of Appetite in E3P9N, and E3DOE1). Therefore, every man, solely by the laws of his nature, desires the one, and shrinks from the other, etc. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P35,- E4P37,- E4P37N2,- E4P46,- E4P59|
|E4: PROP. 20. The more every man endeavours, and is able to seek what is useful to him--in other words, to preserve his own being--the more is he endowed with virtue; on the contrary, in proportion as a man neglects to seek what is useful to him, that is, to preserve his own being, he is wanting in power.|
|Proof.-- Virtue is human power, which is defined solely by man's essence (E4D8), that is [by E3P7], which is defined solely by the endeavour made by man to persist in his own being. Wherefore, the more a man endeavours, and is able to preserve his own being, the more is he endowed with virtue, and, consequently (E3P4 and E3P6), in so far as a man neglects to preserve his own being, he is wanting in power. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P35C2,- E4P37N2|
|E4: PROP. 20, Note. --No one, therefore, neglects seeking his own good, or preserving his own being, unless he be overcome by causes external and foreign to his nature. No one, I say, from the necessity of his own nature, or otherwise than under compulsion from external causes, shrinks from food, or kills himself: which latter may be done in a variety of ways. A man, for instance, kills himself under the compulsion of another man, who twists round his right hand, wherewith he happened to have taken up a sword, and forces him to turn the blade against his own heart; or, again, he may be compelled, like Seneca, by a tyrant's command, to open his own veins--that is, to escape a greater evil by incurring a lesser; or, lastly, latent external causes may so disorder his imagination, and so affect his body, that it may assume a nature contrary to its former one, and whereof the idea cannot exist in the mind (E3P10) But that a man, from the necessity of his own nature, should endeavour to become non-existent, is as impossible as that something should be made out of nothing, as everyone will see for himself, after a little reflection.|
|E4: PROP. 21. No one can desire to be blessed, to act rightly, and to live rightly, without at the same time wishing to be, to act, and to live--in other words, to actually exist.|
|Proof.--The proof of this proposition, or rather the proposition itself, is self-evident, and is also plain from the definition of desire. For the desire of living, acting, etc., blessedly or rightly, is (E3DOE1) the essence of man--that is (E3P7), the endeavour made by everyone to preserve his own being. Therefore, no one can desire, etc. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P22C|
|E4: PROP. 22. No virtue can be conceived as prior to this endeavour to preserve one's own being.|
|Proof.--The effort for self-preservation is the essence of a thing (E3P7); therefore, if any virtue could be conceived as prior thereto, the essence of a thing would have to be conceived as prior to itself [by E4D8], which is obviously absurd. Therefore no virtue, etc. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P22C|
|E4: PROP. 22, Corollary.--The effort for self-preservation is the first and only foundation of virtue. For prior to this principle nothing can be conceived [by E4P22], and without it no virtue can be conceived [by E4P21].|
|Referenced in: E4P24,- E4P25,- E4P26,- E4P56,- E5P41|
|E4: PROP. 23. Man, in so far as he is determined to a particular action because he has inadequate ideas, cannot be absolutely said to act in obedience to virtue; he can only be so described, in so far as he is determined for the action because he understands.|
|Proof.--In so far as a man is determined to an action through having inadequate ideas, he is passive (E3P1), that is (E3D1 [,E3D2] and E3D3), he does something, which cannot be perceived solely through his essence, that is (by E4D8), which does not follow from his virtue. But, in so far as he is determined for an action because he understands, he is active; that is, he does something, which is perceived through his essence alone, or which adequately follows from his virtue. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P28|
|E4: PROP. 24. To act absolutely in obedience to virtue is in us the same thing as to act, to live, or to preserve one's being (these three terms are identical in meaning) in accordance with the dictates of reason on the basis of seeking what is useful to one's self.|
|Proof.--To act absolutely in obedience to virtue is nothing else but to act according to the laws of one's own nature [by E4D8]. But we only act, in so far as we understand (E3P3): therefore to act in obedience to virtue is in us nothing else but to act, to live, or to preserve one's being in obedience to reason, and that on the basis of seeking what is useful for us (E4P22C). Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P36,- E4P37,- E4P56,- E4P67,- E4P72,- E5P41|
|E4: PROP. 25. No one wishes to preserve his being for the sake of anything else.|
wherewith everything endeavours to persist in
its being, is defined solely by the
essence of the thing
from this alone, and not from the essence of anything else,
follows (E3P6) that
everyone endeavours to preserve his being.
Moreover, this proposition is plain from E4P22C, for if a man should endeavour to preserve his being for the sake of anything else, the last-named thing would obviously be the basis of virtue, which, by the foregoing corollary, is absurd. Therefore no one, etc. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P26,- E4P52N|
|E4: PROP. 26. Whatsoever we endeavour in obedience to reason is nothing further than to understand; neither does the mind, in so far as it makes use of reason, judge anything to be useful to it, save such things as are conducive to understanding.|
|Proof.--The effort for
self-preservation is nothing else but the
of the thing in question (E3P7),
which, in so far as it exists
such as it is, is conceived to have force for continuing in existence
(E3P6) and doing such things as
necessarily follow from its given nature
(see the Def. of Appetite E3P9N).
But the essence
of reason is nought
else but our mind,
in so far as it clearly and distinctly understands (see the definition of
therefore (E2P40) whatsoever we
endeavour in obedience to
is nothing else but to understand.
Again, since this effort of the mind wherewith the mind endeavours, in so far as it reasons, to preserve its own being is nothing else but understanding; this effort at understanding is (E4P22C) the first and single basis of virtue, nor shall we endeavour to understand things for the sake of any ulterior object (E4P25); on the other hand, the mind, in so far as it reasons, will not be able to conceive any good for itself, save such things as are conducive to understanding [by E4D1].
|Referenced in: E4P27,- E4P28,- E4P36,- E4P37,- E4P38,- E4P40,- E4P48,- E4P53,- E5P9,- E5P10|
|E4: PROP. 27. We know nothing to be certainly good or evil, save such things as really conduce to understanding, or such as are able to hinder us from understanding.|
|Proof.--The mind, in so far as it reasons, desires nothing beyond understanding, and judges nothing to be useful to itself, save such things as conduce to understanding (by the foregoing Prop. E4P26). But the mind (E2P41, E2P43, and E2P43N) cannot possess certainty concerning anything, except in so far as it has adequate ideas, or (what by E2P40N2, is the same thing) in so far as it reasons. Therefore we know nothing to be good or evil save such things as really conduce, etc. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P28,- E4P38,- E4P40,- E4P48,- E4P50,- E5P9,- E5P10|
|E4: PROP. 28. The mind's highest good is the knowledge of God, and the mind's highest virtue is to know God.|
mind is not
capable of understanding
anything higher than
God, that is (E1D6), than a Being
absolutely infinite, and without
which (E1P15) nothing can
either be or be conceived; therefore (E4P26
and E4P27), the mind's highest utility or
(E4D1) good is the
knowledge of God.
Again, the mind is active, only in so far as it understands [E3P1 and E3P3], and only to the same extent can it be said absolutely to act virtuously [by E4P23]. The mind's absolute virtue is therefore to understand. Now, as we have already shown, the highest that the mind can understand is God; therefore the highest virtue of the mind is to understand or to know God. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P36,- E5P20,- E5P25,- E5P27|
|E4: PROP. 29. No individual thing, which is entirely different from our own nature, can help or check our power of activity, and absolutely nothing can do us good or harm, unless it has something in common with our nature.|
|Proof.--The power of every
[(E2P10C)] the power
of man, whereby he exists and operates, can only be determined by an
(E1P28), whose nature
(E2P6) must be understood
through the same nature as that, through which human nature is conceived.
Therefore our power of activity,
however it be conceived, can be
determined and consequently helped or hindered by the power of any other
which has something in common with us, but not by the
power of anything, of which the nature is entirely different from our own;
and since we call good or evil that which is the cause of pleasure or pain (E4P8), that is (E3P11N), which increases or diminishes, helps or hinders, our power of activity; therefore, that which is entirely different from our nature can neither be to us good nor bad. Q.E.D.
|Referenced in: E4P31C|
|E4: PROP. 30. A thing cannot be bad for us through the quality which it has in common with our nature, but it is bad for us in so far as it is contrary to our nature.|
|Proof.--We call a thing bad when it is the cause of pain (E4P8), that is (by the Def., which see in E3P11N), when it diminishes or checks our power of action. Therefore, if anything were bad for us through that quality which it has in common with our nature, it would be able itself to diminish or check that which it has in common with our nature, which (E3P4) is absurd. Wherefore nothing can be bad for us through that quality which it has in common with us, but, on the other hand, in so far as it is bad for us, that is (as we have just shown), in so far as it can diminish or check our power of action, it is contrary to our nature [by E3P5]. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P31,- E4P34,- E4P34N,- E5P10,- E5P38,- E5P39|
|E4: PROP. 31. In so far as a thing is in harmony with our nature, it is necessarily good.|
|Proof.--In so far as a thing is in harmony with our nature, it cannot be bad for it [by E4P30]. It will therefore necessarily be either good or indifferent. If it be assumed that it be neither good nor bad, [E1A3] nothing will follow from its nature (E4D1), which tends to the preservation of our nature, that is (by the hypothesis), which tends to the preservation of the thing itself; but this (E3P6) is absurd; therefore, in so far as a thing is in harmony with our nature, it is necessarily good. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P31C,- E4P34N|
|E4: PROP. 31, Corollary.--Hence it follows, that, in proportion as a thing is in harmony with our nature, so is it more useful or better for us, and vice versa, in proportion as a thing is more useful for us, so is it more in harmony with our nature.|
|For, in so far as it is not in harmony with our nature, it will necessarily be different therefrom or contrary thereto. If different, it can neither be good nor bad (E4P29); if contrary, it will be contrary to that which is in harmony with our nature, that is [by E4P31], contrary to what is good--in short, bad. Nothing, therefore, can be good, except in so far as it is in harmony with our nature; and hence a thing is useful, in proportion as it is in harmony with our nature, and vice versa. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P35,- E4P35C1,- E4P72|
|E4: PROP. 32. In so far as men are a prey to passion, they cannot, in that respect, be said to be naturally in harmony.|
|Proof.--Things, which are said to be in harmony naturally, are understood to agree in power (E3P7), not in want of power or negation, and consequently not in passion (E3P3N); wherefore men, in so far as they are a prey to their passions, cannot be said to be naturally in harmony. Q.E.D.|
|E4: PROP. 32, Note. --This is also self-evident; for, if we say that white and black only agree in the fact that neither is red, we absolutely affirm that they do not agree in any respect. So, if we say that a man and a stone only agree in the fact that both are finite--wanting in power, not existing by the necessity of their own nature, or, lastly, indefinitely surpassed by the power of external causes--we should certainly affirm that a man and a stone are in no respect alike; therefore, things which agree only in negation, or in qualities which neither possess, really agree in no respect.|
|E4: PROP. 33. Men can differ in nature, in so far as they are assailed by those emotions, which are passions, or passive states; and to this extent one and the same man is variable and inconstant.|
|Proof.--The nature or essence of the emotions cannot be explained solely through our essence or nature (E3D1 and E3D2), but it must be defined by the power, that is (E3P7), by the nature of external causes in comparison with our own; hence it follows, that there are as many kinds of each emotion as there are external objects whereby we are affected (E3P56), and that men may be differently affected by one and the same object (E3P51), and to this extent differ in nature; lastly, that one and the same man may be differently affected towards the same object, and may therefore be variable and inconstant. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P35,- E4P37N2|
|E4: PROP. 34. In so far as men are assailed by emotions which are passions, they can be contrary one to another.|
|Proof.--A man, for instance Peter, can be the cause of Paul's feeling pain, because he (Peter) possesses something similar to that which Paul hates (E3P16), or because Peter has sole possession of a thing which Paul also loves (E3P32 and E3P32N), or for other causes (of which the chief are enumerated in E3P55C1N); it may therefore happen that Paul should hate Peter (E3DOE7), consequently it may easily happen also [by E3P40 and E3P40N], that Peter should hate Paul in return, and that each should endeavour to do the other an injury (E3P39), that is (E4P30), that they should be contrary one to another. But the emotion of pain is always a passion or passive state (E3P59); hence men, in so far as they are assailed by emotions which are passions, can be contrary one to another. Q.E.D.|
|Referenced in: E4P35,- E4P36N,- E4P37N2|
| E4: PROP. 34, Note.
--I said that Paul may hate
Peter, because he conceives [imaginamur] that Peter
possesses something which he (Paul) also
loves; from this it seems, at
first sight, to follow, that these two men, through both loving the same
thing, and, consequently, through agreement of their respective natures,
stand in one another's way; if this were so, E4P30
and E4P31 of this
Part would be untrue.
But if we give the matter our unbiased attention, we shall see that the discrepancy vanishes. For the two men are not in one another's way in virtue of the agreement of their natures, that is, through both loving the same thing, but in virtue of one differing from the other. For, in so far as each loves the same thing, the love of each is fostered thereby (E3P31), that is (E3DOE6) the pleasure of each is fostered thereby. Wherefore it is far from being the case, that they are at variance through both loving the same thing, and through the agreement in their natures.
The cause for their opposition lies, as I have said, solely in the fact that they are assumed to differ. For we assume that Peter has the idea of the loved object as already in his possession, while Paul has the idea of the loved object as lost. Hence the one man will be affected with pleasure, the other will be affected with pain, and thus they will be at variance one with another.
We can easily show in like manner, that all other causes of hatred depend solely on differences, and not on the agreement between men's natures.