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possession by means of fantasy, and we often do this, when other means are unavailable. Spinoza counsels us to go back, in attention, to our childhood1. We find, he says, that children whose bodies are in equilibrium, will imitate whatever they see others do, and will desire for themselves all things which they see give pleasure to others.
He who recollects a thing which he once enjoyed, desires to possess it under the same circumstances as those in which he first enjoyed it2. We have here the idea of the gratification of desire by means of fantasy.
If any one begins to hate a thing loved, so that his love for it is clearly laid aside, he will bear greater hatred towards it on that very account than if he had never loved it3. We could hardly have the modern theory of the mechanism of paranoia more succinctly stated1. Hatred which is entirely conquered by love passes into love, and love on that account is greater than if it had not been preceded by hatred. Here we have the idea of repression again.
Love or hatred towards a thing which we imagine to be free must be greater than the love or hatred towards a necessary thing. This is why men prosecute each other with greater love or hatred than they do other things, because they consider themselves, and therefore other men, to be free. This conception lies at the basis of our present legal system, which was devised by those who believed in 'free-will.' There was a time when animals, and even inanimate objects, were regarded as 'responsible' and were 'punished.'
When the mind imagines its want of power it is saddened by that fact?. Wherefore each person will derive the greatest pleasure from the contemplation of himself when he regards something in himself which he denies in others. He will be saddened if he imagines his actions, when compared with those of others, to be weaker; which sadness he will endeavour to remove by wrongly interpreting the actions of others, or by adorning his own as much as possible. Men therefore have a natural proclivity to hatred and envy, which is aided by their education. For parents are wont to encourage their children to virtue solely by the promise of honour or the fostering of envy. It may be said, Spinoza urges, that we often venerate the virtues of men. Hence he adds the explanation that no one envies the virtue of any one save his equal. A man is not saddened by the fact that he regards some virtue in some one dissimilar to himself; consequently, he cannot envy him.
Though each individual lives content and rejoices in the nature he has, yet the life in which each is content and rejoices is nothing else than the idea or soul of that individual1. Among all the emotions which have reference to the mind, in so far as it is active, there are none which have not reference to pleasure or desire2. Here we come to what Freud has called the Pleasure Principle, which is in constant conflict with the Reality Principle.
Spinoza takes love, which as we have seen he regards as pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause, in a very extended sense. He points out how love can be combined with many other emotions3. I feel that he would have been quite ready to accept the extended view of sex which is held to-day.
He next proceeds to a series of precise definitions of the various emotions which he has already dealt with. Of these definitions we need say no more than that they have generally been considered as his masterpiece. We may note that he expressly disclaims making any distinction between appetite and desire1. Desire is, as we have seen, appetite with a consciousness of itself. Desire is the very essence of man. Whether a man be conscious of his appetite or not, his appetite remains the same. Spinoza grasps the distinction between, and yet the identity of, the conscious and the unconscious mind.
He admits repentance into his list of emotions. But he is careful to preserve his deterministic doctrine intact. Repentance is pain accompanied by the idea of some deed which we think we have done by the free decision of our mind5. It is not wonderful, he says, that pain should follow all those actions which according to custom are called wicked, for this is the result of our education. Here is the core of Spinoza's whole 'ethical' philosophy. Right (rectus) and wrong (pravus) are purely relative terms. Our conceptions of right and wrong arise from the pressure of society. Not that the ideas of right and wrong are not of much importance so far as we are concerned.
In Part IV Spinoza proceeds to the consideration of the Strength of the Emotions, which he calls Human Servitude. He means by servitude man's lack of power in moderating and checking the emotions. A man who is submissive to his emotions is not in power over himself, but is in the hands of fortune to such an extent that he is often constrained, although he may see what is better for him, to follow what is worse.
Spinoza is quoting here from Ovid, Metam. VII, 20, and St Paul, in Romans vii, 19, has the same idea, and is probably quoting from the same source. The solution, that we can only control our emotions by understanding them, is reserved until the final part. This method of controlling the power of the emotions is, of course the key-note of psychoanalysis. Spinoza speaks about what is good and bad in the emotions, but he is most careful to explain again exactly what he means by good and bad. By good he means what we certainly know to be a means of attaining that type of human nature which we have set before us1. He distinguishes between things possible and contingent. By contingent he means that, in so far as we regard the essence of the things alone, we find nothing which imposes or excludes their existence necessarily 2. By possible he means that, while we regard the causes by which the individual things must be produced, we know not whether they are determined to produce them3. By end for the sake of which we do anything he understands desire1. Virtue and power (potestas) are identical5. And he lays down the axiom that there is in nature something by which any individual thing can be destroyed.
He next argues that since man must be a part of nature, he is always necessarily subject to passions, always follows the common order of nature, and accommodates himself to it as much as the nature of things demands. An emotion can neither be hindered nor removed save by another and a stronger emotions. Here we have the idea of repression again.
The knowledge of good and evil, says Spinoza, is nothing else than the emotion of pleasure or pain, in so far as we are conscious of it. For the idea of pleasure is united to the emotion in the same manner as the mind is united to the body. And a man is affected with the same emotion from the image of a thing past or future as from the image of a thing present 10. Leave aside the future, and we see the immense importance of past emotions, repressed, but not destroyed in the unconscious. A true knowledge of good and evil cannot restrain any emotion in so far as the knowledge is true, but only in so far as it is considered as an emotion11. In psycho-analytic language, the emotion content is more important than the intellectual content. But Spinoza does not, as it might appear, argue that the intellectual content has no power over the emotions. For the whole of Part v is an argument as to the way in which the intellect
(reason) can and should control emotions. He is showing here why it is that men are guided by opinion rather than by true reason1, that is to say, why they are obliged to rationalize. And he shows that the desire which arises from pleasure is, ceteris paribus, stronger than the desire which arises from pain2. For desire being the very essence of man, that desire which arises from pleasure is increased by the emotion of pleasure itself. He proceeds to point out how reason postulates that each man. should love himself, and seek what is useful to him. But he qualifies useful, by the most important word truly3. So the dictates of reason lead to virtue, and not as some would say, to selfishness (impietas). And he deals with self-maintenance as the foundation of virtue. For, he says, that to act according to virtue is nothing else than to act in accordance with reason, to live so, and to preserve one's being (for the three things have the same meaning)5 on the basis of seeking what is truly useful to oneself. So the analysed man has not only the utmost peace within himself, but is also the most useful to his fellow men. Having dealt with intelligence as the foundation of ethical judgment? (I am using the word ethical in the ordinary sense here) he goes on to consider the common nature and interests of man as the ground of social ethics. Nothing, he says, can be more useful to man than man. The community, to Spinoza, is not merely the sum of the individuals who compose it, but that sum of individuals functioning as a whole. The definition of man as a social animal has been generally approved". Men shall find that their needs are much best satisfied by mutual help, and that only by joining their strength can they escape the perils which beset them on all sides. He has worked out all this in greater detail elsewhere1o.
Spinoza has been accused of teaching that might is right. Such a statement does not represent his teaching, and, on account of the sense in which he uses the word 'right,' would have had no meaning for him. But he certainly teaches that might is the source of right. Only that which can exist can have rights. The statement is simply a plain acknowledgment of the nature of man, as of other organisms. The statement does not express any ideal. It does not insist that things should move in any particular direction (nor does psycho-analysis). But, as Santayana has said, it describes a situation which makes ideals possible and intelligible. That which man, like any other animal, finds advantageous in his attempts to preserve himself he will call good.
Things which tend in the opposite direction he will call bad. The battle between a man's passions constitutes his character, combined with the battle with other things existing in his environment. It is reason which enables a man to survey all these factors simultaneously. Reason therefore creates a state of mind which is resigned, and yet is most powerful. Its strength consists in the abandonment of striving after what is not attainable, and the acceptance of what is necessary. This state of mind, thus produced, Spinoza calls happiness. He also calls it the intellectual love of God. And this state of mind is precisely that which is produced by a complete analysis; or analysis is, at least, one of the conditions of happiness.
If every man lived under the guidance of reason, each would possess his right without any danger1. But men are liable to emotions which far surpass human power. Men are thus drawn in various directions, and therefore need help from each other. Society has to create a State which can enact and enforce laws. This is much the same view as that of Hobbes. Spinoza makes no distinction between sin and crime. Sin is nothing else than disobedience which is punished by the state. Sin, in the sense of disobedience to the law of God, would have had no meaning for Spinoza. He would simply have denied that such a thing could occur. His view in this respect would have been not unlike that of Macaulay, as expressed in the latter's remarks upon the impossibility of falsifying a divine prediction 2.
Spinoza then considers what bodily and mental affections are good or bad with respect to man's common weal3. He deals with the conduct and duties of the reasonable man. The main argument is that desire which arises from reason can have no excess. This must always be kept in mind when we are thinking of his statement that pleasure can never be evil while pain is always evil. We see why it is that praise can be retained under his system, while blame, as already explained, must be ruled out. He gives a most interesting description of what we should now call a case of dissociation of personality, that of a Spanish poet who had been seized with sickness, and on his recovery had so lost his memory that he did not think that the tales and tragedies he had written were his own. Merriment is always good, and melancholy is always bad3. This might, perhaps, be read in the sense of the "positive and negative emotional states," to which some psychologists have referred. We may also note that if men were born free they would form no conception of