Sec. 9-10: Direct Passions, Curiosity

SEC. 9: THE DIRECT PASSIONS

 

  • The direct and indirect passions are founded on pain and pleasure.
    • Good or evil only needs to be presented to produce any kind of affection.
  • Upon the removal of pain and pleasure, the following are immediately removed:
    • love and hatred
    • pride and humility
    • desire and aversion
    • most of our reflective or secondary impressions.

 

  • The following direct passions arise naturally from good and evil with the least preparation:
    • desire and aversion
    • grief and joy
    • hope and fear, along with volition.
  • By an original instinct, the mind tends to unite itself with the good and to avoid the evil, though they are:
    • conceived merely in idea
    • considered to exist in any future period of time.

 

  • If pride or humility and love or hatred were excited by objects through dormant principles of the human mind, the propensity which unites or separates us from the object would still operate, but in conjunction with the indirect passions arising from a double relation of impressions and ideas.

 

  • These indirect passions are always agreeable or uneasy.
  • They:
    • give additional force to the direct passions
    • increase our desire and aversion to the object.
  • Thus, a suit of fine clothes produces pleasure from their beauty.
    • This pleasure produces the direct passions of volition and desire.
  • When these clothes are considered as belonging to our self, the double relation conveys us pride, an indirect passion.
    • The pleasure from pride:
      • returns to the direct affections
      • gives new force to our desire or volition, joy or hope.

 

  • When good is certain or probable, it produces joy.
  • When evil is in the same situation, there arises grief or sorrow.

 

  • When good or evil is uncertain, it gives rise to fear or hope, according to the degrees of uncertainty.

 

  • Desire arises from good considered simply.
  • Aversion is derived from evil.
  • The will exerts itself when the good or the absence of the evil may be attained by any action.

 

  • Beside good and evil, or pain and pleasure, the direct passions frequently arise from a natural impulse or instinct which is unaccountable.
    • Of this kind are:
      • the desire of punishment to our enemies
      • happiness to our friends
      • hunger, lust, and a few other bodily appetites.
  • These passions:
    • produce good and evil
    • do not proceed from them, like the other affections.

 

  • Only the direct affections of hope and fear seem to merit our attention.
    • The very same event which by its certainty would produce grief or joy, gives always rise to fear or hope, when only probable and uncertain.
  • We must reflect on the nature of probability to understand why this circumstance makes such a considerable difference.

 

  • Probability arises from an opposition of contrary chances or causes.
    • This opposition:
      • prevents the mind from fixing on either side.
      • tosses the mind from one side to another
      • makes the mind determined to consider an object as:
        • existent at one moment
        • non-existent at another moment.
  • The imagination or understanding fluctuates between the opposite views.
    • It may be more often turned to the one side than the other.
    • But it is impossible for it to rest on either by reason of the opposition of causes or chances.
  • The pro and con of the question alternately prevail.
    • The mind surveys the object in its opposite principles.
    • It finds such a contrariety that destroys all certainty and established opinion.

 

  • Suppose, an object of doubtful existence is an object of desire or aversion, the mind must feel a momentary joy or sorrow as the mind turns itself to one side or the other.
    • An object whose existence we desire
    • gives satisfaction, when we reflect on those causes, which produce it; and for the same reason excites grief or uneasiness from the opposite consideration:
  • The understanding in all probable questions is divided between the contrary points of view.
    • The affections must be divided between opposite emotions in the same way.

 

The Vibration of the Mind

  • With regard to the passions, the human mind is not like a wind-instrument which loses the sound after the breath ceases.
    • It rather resembles a stringed instrument.
    • After each stroke, the vibrations still retain some sound which gradually and insensibly decays.
  • The imagination is extremely quick and agile.
    • But the passions are slow and restive.
  • This is why, when any object is presented that affords a variety of views to the one, and emotions to the other, the fancy may change its views very quickly.
    • Each stroke will not produce a clear and distinct note of passion.
    • Instead, the one passion will always be mixed and confounded with the other.
  • As the probability inclines to good or evil, the passion of joy or sorrow predominates in the composition.
    • Because the nature of probability is to cast a:
      • superior number of views or chances on one side
      • superior number of returns of one passion, or
      • superior degree of that passion, since the dispersed passions are collected into one.
  • In other words, the grief and joy are intermingled with each other through the contrary views of the imagination.
    • Their union produces hope and fear.

 

  • On this, we may start a very curious question on the contrariety of passions.
  • Where the objects of contrary passions are presented at once, sometimes:
    • both passions exist successively and by short intervals
    • they destroy each other
    • none of them takes place
    • both of them remain united in the mind.
  • All these happen besides the increase of the predominant passion which commonly arises at their first shock.
  • How can we explain these variations?
    • What general principle we can reduce them to?

 

  • When the contrary passions arise from entirely different objects, they take place alternately.
    • The lack of relation in the ideas:
      • separate the impressions from each other
      • prevent their opposition.
  • Thus, when a man experiences the loss of a lawsuit and the joyful birth of a son, the mind runs from the agreeable to the calamitous object.
    • Its speed in transition cannot:
      • temper the one affection with the other
      • remain between them in a state of indifference.

 

  • The mind more easily attains that calm situation, when the same event:
    • is of a mixed nature
    • contains something adverse and prosperous in its different circumstances.
  • In that case, both passions mingle with each other through the relation.
    • They:
      • become mutually destructive
      • leave the mind in perfect tranquility.

 

  • But suppose, in the third place, that the object is not a compound of good or evil, but is probable or improbable.
    • In this case, the contrary passions will both be present in the soul at once.
    • Instead of destroying and tempering each other, they will:
      • subsist together
      • produce a third affection by their union.
  • Contrary passions are incapable of destroying each other, except when their contrary movement:
    • meet exactly by chance
    • are opposite in their direction and in the sensation they produce.
  • This exact chance meeting:
    • depends on the relations of those ideas they are derived from.
    • is more or less perfect, according to the degrees of the relation.
  • In the case of probability, the contrary chances are so far related, that they determine concerning the existence or non-existence of the same object.
    • But this relation is far from being perfect.
    • since some of the chances lie on the side of existence
    • and others on that of non-existence; which are objects altogether incompatible.
  • It is impossible by one steady view to survey the:
    • opposite chances
    • events dependent on them
  • The imagination needs to run alternately from the one to the other.
  • Each view of the imagination produces its peculiar passion which decays away by degrees.
    • This passion is followed by a sensible vibration after the stroke.
  • The incompatibility of the views keeps the passions from shocking in a direct line.
    • Yet their relation is sufficient to mingle their fainter emotions.
  • This is how hope and fear arise from grief and joy’s:
    • different mixtures
    • imperfect union and conjunction.

 

  • Contrary passions succeed each other alternately when they arise from different objects.
    • They mutually destroy each other when they proceed from different parts of the same object.
    • They both subsist and mingle together when they are derived from the contrary and incompatible chances or possibilities, on which any one object depends.
  • The influence of the relations of ideas is plainly seen in this whole affair.
    • If the objects of the contrary passions are totally different, the passions are like two opposite liquors in different bottles which have no influence on each other.
    • If the objects are intimately connected, the passions are like an alkali and an acid which destroy each other when mingled.
    • If the relation is more imperfect and consists in the contradictory views of the same object, the passions are like oil and vinegar which never perfectly unite and incorporate.

 

  • The hypothesis on hope and fear carries its own evidence along with it.
  • We shall be more concise in our proofs.
  • A few strong arguments are better than many weak ones.

 

  • Fear and hope may arise when:
    • the chances are equal on both sides
    • no superiority can be discovered in the one above the other.
  • In this situation, the passions are the strongest, as the mind:
    • has then the least foundation to rest on
    • is tossed with the greatest uncertainty.
  • Throw in a superior degree of probability to the side of grief, you immediately see that passion:
    • diffuse itself over the composition
    • tincture it into fear.
  • Increase the probability and the grief and fear prevails more and more until it finally runs insensibly into pure grief as the joy continually diminishes.
    • After you have brought it to this situation, reduce the grief by reducing the probability on that side.
    • You’ll see the passion clear every moment, until it changes insensibly into hope.
    • This hope again runs by slow degrees into joy as you increase the probability.
  • Are these not plain proofs that fear and hope are mixtures of grief and joy?
    • This is the same as the proof in optics that a coloured ray of the sun passing through a prism is a composition of two other rays.
    • When you change the quantity of either, it will proportionably be more or less in the composition.
  • I am sure that natural or moral philosophy cannot admit of stronger proofs.

 

  • Probability is of two kinds:
    • When the object is really uncertain in itself or is to be determined by chance.
    • When the object is certain, but is still uncertain to our judgment.
      • Our judgement finds proofs on each side of the question.
  • Both these kinds of probabilities cause fear and hope.
    • These passions can only proceed from the uncertainty and fluctuation they bestow on the imagination by that contrariety of views common to both.

 

  • It is a probable good or evil, because probability is a wavering and inconstant method of surveying an object.
    • Probability naturally causes a like mixture and uncertainty of passion.
  • From whatever causes this mixture can be produced, fear and hope will arise, even though there is no probability.
    • This must be a convincing proof of the present hypothesis.
  • We find that an evil, barely possible, sometimes produces fear especially if it is very great.
    • A man cannot think of excessive pains and tortures without trembling, if he is in the least danger of suffering them.
    • The smallness of the probability is compensated by the greatness of the evil.
    • The sensation is equally lively, as if the evil were more probable.
  • One view or glimpse of the former, has the same effect as several of the latter.

 

  • Possible and impossible evils cause fear.
    • We tremble on the brink of a precipice, even if we know we are perfectly secure.
  • This proceeds from the immediate presence of the evil, which influences the imagination in the same way as its certainty would do.
    • But it is immediately retracted as it is encountered by reflecting on our security.
    • It causes the same kind of passion, as when from a contrariety of chances contrary passions are produced.

 

  • Evils, that are certain, sometimes produce fear as the possible or impossible evils.
  • A man in a well-guarded prison, with no hopes of escape, trembles at the thought of the rack he is sentenced to.
  • This only happens when the certain evil is terrible and confounding.
    • In this case, the mind continually rejects it with horror while it continually presses in on the thought.
  • The evil is there fixed and established.
    • But the mind cannot endure to fix on it from which fluctuation and uncertainty there arises a passion of much the same appearance with fear.

 

  • Fear or hope arises also from the kind of good or evil.
  • Let us suppose that a man was told that one of his sons was suddenly killed.
    • He would not settle into pure grief until he was sure which of his sons was killed.
    • Here, there is an evil certain, but its kind is uncertain.
    • Consequently, our fear on this occasion:
      • has no joy
      • arises merely from the fluctuation of the fancy between its objects.
  • Each side of the question here produces fear, yet fear cannot settle.
    • Instead, it receives a tremulous and unsteady motion from the imagination, resembling in its cause and sensation, the mixture and contention of grief and joy.

 

  • From these principles, we may account for a phenomenon in the passions.
    • At first sight, this phenomenon seems very extraordinary, that:
      • surprise is apt to change into fear
      • everything that is unexpected frightens us.
  • The most obvious conclusion from this is, that human nature is generally timid.
    • Upon the sudden appearance of any object. we immediately conclude it to be an evil.
    • Without waiting until we can examine its nature, whether it be good or bad, are initially affected with fear.
  • This is the most obvious conclusion.
    • But on farther examination we find that this phenomenon is otherwise to be accounted for.
  • The suddenness and strangeness of an appearance naturally excite a commotion in the mind, like everything we are unprepared for and not used to.
    • This commotion naturally produces a very violent curiosity or inquisitiveness.
    • From the strong and sudden impulse of the object, this curiosity:
      • becomes uneasy
      • resembles in its fluctuation and uncertainty, the fear or the mixed passions of grief and joy.
    • This image of fear naturally converts into the thing itself.
      • It gives us a real apprehension of evil, as the mind always forms its judgments more from its present disposition than from the nature of its objects.

 

  • Thus, all kinds of uncertainty have a strong connection with fear, even though they do not cause any opposition of passions by the opposite views and considerations they present to us.
    • A person who has left his friend in any malady, will feel more anxiety than if he were present but incapable of giving him assistance and judging of the event of his sickness.
    • In this case, the principal object of the fear is the life or death of his friend.
      • It is equally uncertain to him when present as when absent.
      • Yet the knowledge of a thousand little circumstances of his friend’s condition fixes the idea, and prevents that fluctuation and uncertainty so near allied to fear.
  • Uncertainty is as near allied to hope as to fear, since it makes an essential part of hope.
    • It does not incline to hope because uncertainty alone:
      • is uneasy
      • has a relation of impressions to the uneasy passions.

 

  • It is thus our uncertainty concerning any minute circumstance relating to a person encreases our apprehensions of his death or misfortune. Horace has remarked this phaenomenon.

 

  • A bird watching over her fledgelings is more afraid of them being attacked by snakes.
    • But she would not be any more capable of helping them if she stayed with them.

 

  • I carry further this principle of the connection of fear with uncertainty.
    • Any doubt produces that passion, even though it presents nothing to us on any side but what is good and desirable.
  • A virgin on her bridal night goes to bed full of fears and apprehensions, though she expects only:
    • the pleasure of the highest kind
    • what she has long wished for.
  • The mind does not know on what passion to fix itself because of:
    • the newness and greatness of the event
    • the confusion of wishes and joys which so embarrass the mind.
  • A fluttering or unsettledness of the spirits arises which is uneasy.
    • It very naturally degenerates into fear.

 

  • Whatever causes any fluctuation or mixture of passions with any uneasiness, always produces fear, or at least a passion so like it, that they cannot be distinguished.

 

  • I have examined hope and fear in their most simple and natural situation.
    • I did not consider all their variations from the mixture of different views and reflections.
  • Terror, consternation, astonishment, anxiety, and other passions of that kind, are nothing but different species and degrees of fear.
  • It is easy to imagine how the sensation of a passion may be changed by a different:
    • situation of the object, or
    • turn of thought
  • This may generally account for all the subdivisions of fear and the other affections.
  • Love may show itself in the shape of tenderness, friendship, intimacy, esteem, goodwill, etc.
    • These:
      • are ultimately the same affections
      • arise from the same causes, though with a small variation.
        • It is unnecessary to give any account of this variation.
  • This is why I have confined myself to the principal passion.

 

  • I waive the examination of the will and direct passions as they appear in animals to avoid prolonging this.
    • Since animals are of the same nature and are excited by the same causes as humans.
  • I leave this to the reader’s observation.
    • At the same time, I want him to consider the additional force this bestows on the present system.

SECT. 10: CURIOSITY, OR THE LOVE OF TRUTH

 

  • I think we would be a little inattentive to run over the human mind without once considering that love of truth, which was the first source of all our inquiries.
  • We should:
    • bestow a few reflections on curiosity
    • show its origin in human nature.
  • It is such a peculiar an affection.
    • It would have been impossible to have treated of it under any previous heading, without danger of obscurity and confusion.

 

  • Truth is of two kinds, consisting in:
    • the discovery of the proportions of ideas or
    • the conformity of our ideas of objects to their real existence.
  • The former species of truth, is not desired merely as truth, and that it is not the justness of our conclusions, which alone gives the pleasure.
  • These conclusions are equally just, when we discover the equality of two bodies by a pair of compasses, as when we learn it by a mathematical demonstration.
    • In the one case, the proofs are demonstrative.
    • In the other case, the proofs are only sensible.
    • Yet the mind acquiesces with equal assurance in the one as in the other.
  • In an arithmetical operation, both the truth and the assurance are of the same nature, as in the most profound algebraic problem.
    • In it, the pleasure is very inconsiderable, if it does not degenerate into pain.
    • This is a proof that our satisfaction from the discovery of truth, does not proceed from its mere discovery, but only as endowed with certain qualities.

 

  • The first and most considerable circumstance needed to render truth agreeable, is the genius and capacity employed in its invention and discovery.
    • What is easy and obvious is never valued.
    • Even what is difficult is but little regarded if we come to know it without:
      • difficulty
      • any stretch of thought or judgment.
  • We love to trace the demonstrations of mathematicians.
    • But we receive small entertainment from a person who barely informs us of the proportions of lines and angles, even if we have the utmost confidence in his judgment and veracity.
      • In this case, it is enough to have ears to learn the truth.
  • We are never obliged to fix our attention or exert our genius.
    • This is the most pleasant and agreeable of all the other exercises of the mind.

 

  • The exercise of genius is the principal source of the satisfaction we receive from the sciences.
    • I doubt if it alone is sufficient to give us any considerable enjoyment.
  • The truth we discover must also be of some importance.
    • It is easy to multiply algebraic problems to infinity.
    • There is no end in the discovery of the proportions of conic sections.
      • Few mathematicians take any pleasure in these researches.
      • They turn their thoughts to what is more useful and important.
  • How does this utility and importance operate on us?
    • In the search of such truths, many philosophers have:
      • consumed their time
      • destroyed their health
      • neglected their fortune.
    • These truths they have esteemed important and useful to the world.
    • But it appeared from their whole conduct and behaviour, that they did not have:
      • any public spirit
      • any concern for mankind’s interests.
  • They would entirely lose all relish for their studies if they were convinced that their discoveries:
    • were of no consequence
    • had consequences entirely indifferent to them.
      • This is a contradiction.

 

  • To remove this contradiction, we must consider that there are certain desires and inclinations which:
    • go no farther than the imagination
    • are rather the faint shadows and images of passions, than any real affections.
  • A man who surveys a city’s fortifications, considers their strength and advantages, natural or acquired.
    • He observes the disposition and contrivance of the bastions, ramparts, mines, and other military works.
    • He will receive a suitable pleasure and satisfaction in proportion as all these are fitted to attain their ends.
      • This pleasure:
        • arises from the utility, not the form of the objects.
        • is only a sympathy with the inhabitants who benefit from the fortifications.
    • Though it is possible, that he may have no kindness for them or may even hate them, as a stranger or enemy.

 

  • It may be objected that:
    • such a remote sympathy is a very slight foundation for a passion
    • so much industry and application, as we frequently observe in philosophers, can never be derived from so inconsiderable an original.
  • But the pleasure of study conflicts:
    • chiefly in the mind’s action
    • the exercise of the genius and understanding in the discovery or comprehension of any truth.
  • If the truth’s importance is needed to complete the pleasure, our enjoyment is not brought by any considerable addition.
    • The truth’s importance is only needed in order to fix our attention.
  • When we are careless and inattentive, the understanding has no effect on us.
    • It is unable to convey any of that satisfaction from understanding.

 

  • The mind’s action is the principal foundation of that pleasure.
    • Besides this, we also need a degree of success in:
      • the attainment of the end, or
      • the discovery of that truth.
  • Where the mind pursues any end with passion, we:
    • acquire a concern for the end itself
    • are uneasy if we are disappointed with its pursuit.
      • Even if that passion is not derived originally from the end, but merely from the action and pursuit.
      • Yet by the natural course of the affections, this proceeds from the relation and parallel direction of the passions above-mentioned.

 

  • The passions of hunting and philosophy are two passions most nearly resembling each other.
    • The pleasure of hunting conflicts in the motion, attention, difficulty, and uncertainty of actions of the mind and body.
    • These actions must be attended with an idea of utility, for them to have any effect on us.
  • A man of the greatest fortune and the farthest from avarice takes a pleasure in hunting patridges and pheasants.
    • He feels no satisfaction in shooting crows and magpies because he considers:
      • patridges and pheasants fit for the table
      • crows and magpies as useless.
  • The utility or importance of itself causes no real passion.
    • It is only needed to support the imagination.
    • The same person who overlooks a ten times greater profit in any other subject, is pleased to bring home six woodcocks or plovers, after having hunted them for several hours.
  • To make the parallel between hunting and philosophy more complete, we may observe that in both cases the end of our action may be despised.
    • Yet in the heat of the action, we acquire such an attention to this end, that we are:
      • very uneasy under any disappointments
      • sorry when we:
        • miss our game or
        • fall into any error in our reasoning.

 

  • If we want another parallel to these affections, we may consider the passion of gaming.
    • It affords a pleasure from the same principles as hunting and philosophy.
  • The pleasure of gaming does not arise from interest alone.
    • Since many leave a sure gain for this entertainment.
  • It is not derived from the game alone.
    • Since the same persons have no satisfaction, when they play for nothing.
  • It proceeds from both these causes united.
    • Though separately, they have no effect.
  • It is here, as in certain chemical preparations, where the mixture of two clear and transparent liquids produces a third opaque and coloured liquid.

 

  • Our interest in any game engages our attention, without which we can have no enjoyment.
  • Once our attention is engaged, the difficulty, variety, and sudden reverses of fortune, further interests us.
    • Our satisfaction arises from that concern.
  • Human life is so tiresome a scene.
    • Men generally are of such indolent dispositions.
    • Whatever amuses them gives them a sensible pleasure, though by a passion mixed with pain.
      • This pleasure is increased by the nature of the objects which are sensible and of a narrow compass.
        • They are:
          • entered into with facility
          • agreeable to the imagination.

 

  • The same theory that accounts for the love of truth in mathematics and algebra may be extended to morals, politics, natural philosophy, and other studies.
    • In these, we consider the real connections and existence of ideas, not their other abstract relations of ideas.
  • The love of knowledge displays itself in the sciences.
    • Besides this, there is a certain curiosity implanted in human nature.
    • This curiosity is a passion derived from a quite different principle.
  • Some people have an insatiable desire of knowing the actions and circumstances of their neighbours.
    • Even if:
      • their interest is in no way concerned in them
      • they must entirely depend on others for their information.
        • In this case, there is no room for study or application.
  • Let us search for the reason of this phenomenon.

 

  • It has been proved at large, that the influence of belief is at once to:
    • enliven and infix any idea in the imagination
    • prevent all kinds of hesitation and uncertainty about it.
  • Both these circumstances are advantageous.
    • By the vivacity of the idea we:
      • interest the fancy
      • produce the same pleasure arising from a moderate passion, in a lesser degree.
  • The vivacity of the idea gives pleasure.
    • Its certainty prevents uneasiness by:
      • fixing one particular idea in the mind
      • keeping it from wavering in the choice of its objects.
  • The following is a conspicuous quality of human nature that is common to the mind and body.
    • A change that is too sudden and violent is unpleasant to us.
    • No matter how objects may be indifferent in themselves, their alteration gives uneasiness.
  • It is the nature of doubt to:
    • cause a variation in the thought
    • transport us suddenly from one idea to another
  • Consequently, it must bring pain.
    • This pain chiefly takes place, where interest, relation, or the greatness and novelty of any event interests us.
    • We do not have the interest nor curiosity to know every matter of fact.
    • It is enough for the idea to strike us with such force and concern us so nearly, to give us an uneasiness in its instability and inconstancy.
  • A stranger, who first arrives at any town, may be entirely indifferent about knowing the inhabitants’ history and adventures.
    • But he acquires the same curiosity as the natives, as he:
      • becomes more acquainted with them
      • has lived any considerable time among them.
  • When we read the history of a nation, we may have an ardent desire to clear up any doubt or difficulty that occurs in it.
    • But we become careless in such researches when the ideas of these events are obliterated.

 

Words: 4656

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