"On the Origin and Nature of the Emotions"

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Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 03:05 pm
In the hope that some of you have dealt with Spinoza's "Ethics" yet, I'd be eager to discuss particularly the third book ("On the Origin and Nature of the Emotions"). Since my thoughts are still too much confused, I'd simply like to start with the issues I can express most clearly.

Proposition XI states: "Whatsoever increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of activity in our body, the idea thereof increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of thought in our mind."
Thereto in the note: "By pleasure therefore in the following propositions I shall signify a passive state wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection. By pain I shall signify a passive state wherein the mind passes to a lesser perfection."
In the corollary of proposition XIII we read: "The mind shrinks from conceiving those things, which diminish or constrain the power of itself and of the body."
And thereto in the note, Spinoza concludes: "From what has been said we may clearly understand the nature of Love and Hate. Love is nothing else but pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause : Hate is nothing else but pain accompanied by the idea of an external cause."

What does this mean?
love = pleasure (accompanied by the idea of an external cause) = passive state (wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection)
Love (as an idea) makes the mind pass to a greater perfection, whereby the power of thought in our mind is advanced. Thus an object of love increases the power of activity in our body.
An object of hate diminishes the power of activity in our body because hate is pain.
Let's imagine two people: one in the state of hate, the other in the state of love. Are we able to imagine that both bodies actually have a diametrically opposed power of activity?
Isn't it rather the case that both love and hate "stimulate" the body?
Then even hate would be a pleasure, a passive state wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection.
(Indeed, it could be possible that Spinoza had a more uncommon idea of love - beyond all exciting desire. But according to proposition IX this demur doesn't seem to be true.)
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Tue 15 Dec, 2009 12:24 pm
@Wisigerno,
Wisigerno;108949 wrote:
In the corollary of proposition XIII we read: "The mind shrinks from conceiving those things, which diminish or constrain the power of itself and of the body."
And thereto in the note, Spinoza concludes: "From what has been said we may clearly understand the nature of Love and Hate. Love is nothing else but pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause : Hate is nothing else but pain accompanied by the idea of an external cause."
The experience of pleasure quiets the mind... the mind responds to this. It goes into motion according to its nature: it asks why? It identifies the cause. It forms a mental reflection of the experience which can be remembered. It then holds the image of the cause, unable to hold an image of pleasure itself. In a sense, pleasure and pain are blind-spots to the mind. It can't see them... it can only associate them with cause.

I think there must be a fair amount of translation problems here. In my language, love isn't an emotion. It's the root of all emotion. It's the root of hatred... which is merely love disappointed.
 
Wisigerno
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 03:17 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;111549 wrote:
The experience of pleasure quiets the mind... the mind responds to this. It goes into motion according to its nature: it asks why? It identifies the cause. It forms a mental reflection of the experience which can be remembered. It then holds the image of the cause, unable to hold an image of pleasure itself. In a sense, pleasure and pain are blind-spots to the mind. It can't see them... it can only associate them with cause.

I think there must be a fair amount of translation problems here. In my language, love isn't an emotion. It's the root of all emotion. It's the root of hatred... which is merely love disappointed.

I don't really understand how you'd distinguish between love and pleasure. Do you mean that love could be seen by the mind, whereas pleasure couldn't?
Besides, do you regard love to be the basic emotion, or the root of all emotion? For if it is the latter, I don't see how a lack of a root (disappointment) could yield fruit (hatred).
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 09:53 pm
@Wisigerno,
Wisigerno;111850 wrote:
I don't really understand how you'd distinguish between love and pleasure. Do you mean that love could be seen by the mind, whereas pleasure couldn't?
Besides, do you regard love to be the basic emotion, or the root of all emotion? For if it is the latter, I don't see how a lack of a root (disappointment) could yield fruit (hatred).
I don't think Spinoza did distinguish between them except to say that love carries with it the idea of being affected by something external.

Pleasure itself is direct experience, without thought. Thought is the making of images, relating them according to some pattern, following cause and effect.

Without thought, which involves placing experience in a context of meaning, no experience would be remembered.

Put your foot on the floor and then become aware of the feeling of your foot.

What's happened is that your mind became active: it created the situation, it turned your focus to sensation. It then passively waited as the experience came into being.

On the one hand there is the experience of freedom in this... that your mind can navigate into or away from situations and sensations. But you also know as you've done this, that you were following your nature. The mind can only act according to its nature. Its nature is an aspect of, an attribute of the nature of all things.

So I start with the idea that I'm affected by the world. I then see that I, through the power of mind, can affect my own experience. Then I see how that every step of the way: I was an expression of nature.

What I loved affected me with pleasure. I drew the thing I love closer to me. I eventually see that there is only one love... expressed over and over as a bond to the other. To the extent that I see that it didn't specifically have to do with me, I've experienced God. Through mind and substance, the ways of nature are alive in me. That's how I understood Spinoza. If others see it a different way, I'd learn something by exploring that. Nevertheless, the truth Spinoza drew my attention to would remain. Know what I mean? So what it means to you might be different.
 
salima
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 12:15 am
@Wisigerno,
Wisigerno;108949 wrote:
In the hope that some of you have dealt with Spinoza's "Ethics" yet, I'd be eager to discuss particularly the third book ("On the Origin and Nature of the Emotions"). Since my thoughts are still too much confused, I'd simply like to start with the issues I can express most clearly.

Proposition XI states: "Whatsoever increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of activity in our body, the idea thereof increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of thought in our mind."
Thereto in the note: "By pleasure therefore in the following propositions I shall signify a passive state wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection. By pain I shall signify a passive state wherein the mind passes to a lesser perfection."
In the corollary of proposition XIII we read: "The mind shrinks from conceiving those things, which diminish or constrain the power of itself and of the body."
And thereto in the note, Spinoza concludes: "From what has been said we may clearly understand the nature of Love and Hate. Love is nothing else but pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause : Hate is nothing else but pain accompanied by the idea of an external cause."

What does this mean?
love = pleasure (accompanied by the idea of an external cause) = passive state (wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection)
Love (as an idea) makes the mind pass to a greater perfection, whereby the power of thought in our mind is advanced. Thus an object of love increases the power of activity in our body.
An object of hate diminishes the power of activity in our body because hate is pain.
Let's imagine two people: one in the state of hate, the other in the state of love. Are we able to imagine that both bodies actually have a diametrically opposed power of activity?
Isn't it rather the case that both love and hate "stimulate" the body?
Then even hate would be a pleasure, a passive state wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection.
(Indeed, it could be possible that Spinoza had a more uncommon idea of love - beyond all exciting desire. But according to proposition IX this demur doesn't seem to be true.)


I would read it this way:

both pleasure and pain are passive states, they happen to us and we may react or respond
love is the reason the mind makes up when pleasure happens so it can recognize it and maintain and accumulate more of it.
hate is the reason the mind makes up when pain happens so it can recognize it and eradicate or avoid it in the future.
the reasons mind makes up are thoughts, and thinking is an activity, an active rather than passive state.

the sentence I emboldened I cannot understand, I think maybe there is something else in the original that it must be referring to. but life being what it is, and I see more peolple thinking about hate than love, I would think he states that ithe mind imagines itself empowered by thinking hateful thoughts-at these times it senses and feels powerful because that is the nature of hate-it covers fear. however, when the mind thinks about love it becomes vulnerable and insecure...that really shouldnt happen, but it does. maybe because people think of love in terms of being the object of lvoe rather than the one who loves.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 10:48 am
@salima,
It would be nice to drag Spinoza up and ask him to address the ideas of Id, Ego, and Superego.... how he would incorporate them into his use of the word mind.

As it is, his usage is suspiciously kin to that of Dominican philosophers... mind is an aspect of everything... a path to recognition of the nature of God.
 
Wisigerno
 
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 09:17 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna;111979 wrote:
I don't think Spinoza did distinguish between them except to say that love carries with it the idea of being affected by something external.

Pleasure itself is direct experience, without thought. Thought is the making of images, relating them according to some pattern, following cause and effect.

Without thought, which involves placing experience in a context of meaning, no experience would be remembered.

Put your foot on the floor and then become aware of the feeling of your foot.

What's happened is that your mind became active: it created the situation, it turned your focus to sensation. It then passively waited as the experience came into being.

On the one hand there is the experience of freedom in this... that your mind can navigate into or away from situations and sensations. But you also know as you've done this, that you were following your nature. The mind can only act according to its nature. Its nature is an aspect of, an attribute of the nature of all things.

So I start with the idea that I'm affected by the world. I then see that I, through the power of mind, can affect my own experience. Then I see how that every step of the way: I was an expression of nature.

What I loved affected me with pleasure. I drew the thing I love closer to me. I eventually see that there is only one love... expressed over and over as a bond to the other. To the extent that I see that it didn't specifically have to do with me, I've experienced God. Through mind and substance, the ways of nature are alive in me. That's how I understood Spinoza. If others see it a different way, I'd learn something by exploring that. Nevertheless, the truth Spinoza drew my attention to would remain. Know what I mean? So what it means to you might be different.

Isn't it possible to imagine pleasure? - similar to the possibility to imagine, say, this white wall in front of me turning blue.
I doubt that the power of imagination has anything to do with causes and effects.
If I complain that I suffer from terrible toothache, you'll most certainly understand what I'm talking about. But do you reallly understand it due to thoughts on causes and effects?
Assuming that I don't have toothache, but was stabbed with a sword: can you imagine this pain (provided you have never been stabbed with a sword)? Yet you know about the causes and effects.
That the cause isn't important until we talk about love or hate, derives, as I think, from Spinoza's definition of these terms.
Besides, Spinoza writes in the second book (proposition XXII): "The human mind perceives not only the modifications of the body, but also the ideas of such modifications."
In my opinion, the effects of love on our activity are of utmost importance for Spinoa. But since he speaks of "the power of activity in our body", I see no difference in love and hate.

The issue probably lies in the idea of "the power of activity in our body".
I suppose salima shares my uncertainty of this idea.
How would you, Arjuna, interpret it? Do we have to examine this idea from the point of view of the unity of body and mind?
Or is "the power of activity in our body" some kind of freedom, as you foreshadowed? Then, this freedom would probably concern both body and mind. But not in the same way, of course, because body and mind are different modifications. And if we divide freedom into these modifications, we'll have a philosophical idea of freedom (mind), and a banal one (body). The latter could be something like health, not being imprisoned, or the like. But I'm quite certain that that's not what Spinoza had in mind, when he wrote about "the power of activity in our body". Otherwise, though, it would have nothing to do with the body at all.
I'm really puzzled right now-for I feel unable to understand this idea clearly.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 10:30 am
@Wisigerno,
Hi! First of all, I read Spinoza a long time ago during my "read everything related to mysticism" phase. Turn to an authority for a cogent interpretation. All I have is how his writings struck me at that point in my life, muddied now with further life experience.

Think of it this way: any time you turn your attention to your body, you find sensations we could call "body awareness." The more you focus on it, the more sensation you can define... the feeling of your diaphragm, the feeling of your fingers, your neck.. and so on. A person may direct their attention to the body's awareness and discover pain or pleasure... an ache in the elbow, the cozy feeling of a pillow. These sensations don't interfere with thought, and the mind takes no notice of them, but has the power to direct attention to them. In order to receive the content of this awareness, the mind becomes silent.

As pain becomes stronger, it can capture the mind's awareness. Even here, the mind has the power to ignore the pain, to drop awareness of it, ignoring its cause in the process. Ultimately, pain can seize all awareness and halt all operation of the mind including ego, as one's identity becomes simply: pain, an intolerable situation which ideally will be followed by loss of consciousness.

Chronic pain shows another aspect of the mind-body connection: after several months, the actual pain is accompanied by "the pain of the pain." The psyche has become burdened... avenues of action cut off, expectation of pain. Depression now rests upon the mind. If the body's pain were to vanish at this point, the mind would still take time to recover.

One last aspect of the connection is the mind's ability to create the conditions which lead to pain. Psychogenic pain ranges from actual body illness produced by stress (for instance the mind can create stress sufficient to cause the aorta to spasm) to neurological dysfunction related to sleep deprivation. To what extent the mind can produce the sensation of pain by simply believing in it, is another matter.

But the way we usually think of it is this: you can't feel someone else's pain. You can only feel your pain. If a man starts feeling contractions at seeing his wife in labor, he's still feeling his own pain.

In terms of memory, pleasure and pain are symbolized. :shocked: <-- this is pain. Without words, I could tell you I'm in pain. A more complex message would be that I was in pain. But I have little chance of communicating that unless I point to the cause. So you're right: whether imagination depends on cause and effect, depends on how complex the idea is. Nevertheless, the image of pain is only a symbol.
 
Wisigerno
 
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 12:45 pm
@Arjuna,
I really agree with your thoughts, although i think we're missing the point.
It may be a mistake, but I do think the key point is the obscure word (or Spinoza's obscure use of the word) "power".
You write, as it seems to me, merely about mental power, not about physical power (and this probably isn't even a proper term for "the power of activity in our body").
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 01:22 pm
@Wisigerno,
Wisigerno;112411 wrote:
I really agree with your thoughts, although i think we're missing the point.
It may be a mistake, but I do think the key point is the obscure word (or Spinoza's obscure use of the word) "power".
You write, as it seems to me, merely about mental power, not about physical power (and this probably isn't even a proper term for "the power of activity in our body").
I'd like to hear more about how you see it. When you look back on history, you can see special points in time when prevailing viewpoints are changing. There are many in European history... the time of Spinoza was one of them. If you read his works and detect that he thinks like a physicist, you got it. The fact that it's actually hard to read it without laying psychological terms over his, shows that his works reside in a junction between two outlooks. We're actually seeing the medieval become the modern right at the birth of the modern world. That makes it a little trippy to read. It's the experience of evolution itself.

I respond intensely to patterns, and will fit things into a pattern without much concern over whether it's valid to do so. In keeping with this, I looked at Spinoza's works with a question on my mind. Newton and Spinoza lived at the same time. As Newton participated in the evolution of European thought, he was immersed in apocolyptic mystical traditions. Was Spinoza his twin... transmitting the other part... mysticism of the mind?
 
Wisigerno
 
Reply Sat 2 Jan, 2010 03:38 pm
@Arjuna,
I've solved the problem!
Once I wrote:
Quote:
What does this mean?
love = pleasure (accompanied by the idea of an external cause) = passive state (wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection)
Love (as an idea) makes the mind pass to a greater perfection, whereby the power of thought in our mind is advanced. Thus an object of love increases the power of activity in our body.
An object of hate diminishes the power of activity in our body because hate is pain.
Let's imagine two people: one in the state of hate, the other in the state of love. Are we able to imagine that both bodies actually have a diametrically opposed power of activity?
Isn't it rather the case that both love
and hate "stimulate" the body?
Then even hate would be a pleasure, a passive state wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection.
(Indeed, it could be possible that Spinoza had a more uncommon idea of love - beyond all exciting desire. But according to proposition IX this demur doesn't seem to be true.)
I wasn't able to grasp the true meaning of "power of activity".
It may be the case that both love and hate "stimulate" the body, but that's a misleading wording.
My reasoning wrecked Spinoza's thoughts by confusing the logical structure of his arguments.
For Spinoza, the meaning of "power of activity" merely refers to perfection.
Hence, "more power of activity" means "doing something with more pleasure".
What else could it possibly mean, anyway?
If we thought of "power of activity" as "possibility to act", it wouldn't mean anything, because we lack this possibility only in death (besides, this pure possibility couldn't be increased).
If we thought of "more power of activity" as "being able to act in more various ways", it would restrain us from striving.
And we thought of "more power of activity" as "acting more autonomically", it would probably satisfy Kant, but let's consider that Spinoza's idea of freedom isn't mentioned until the last book of his Ethics. (Is this really a valid argument?)

I'm not certain, whether these thoughts utterly coincide with Spinoza's. What do you think?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 12:00 pm
@Wisigerno,
Wisigerno;108949 wrote:
In the hope that some of you have dealt with Spinoza's "Ethics" yet, I'd be eager to discuss particularly the third book ("On the Origin and Nature of the Emotions"). Since my thoughts are still too much confused, I'd simply like to start with the issues I can express most clearly.



Great thread! Interestingly enough, when I went through my favorite modern philosophy book I found to my surprise that Book III was not there. Distressing as that was, I went to another book that had a supposedly "complete" version of ethics in it. What do you know? Not there. Long story short, I have three
Wisigerno;108949 wrote:
Proposition XI states: "Whatsoever increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of activity in our body, the idea thereof increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of thought in our mind."
Thereto in the note: "By pleasure therefore in the following propositions I shall signify a passive state wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection. By pain I shall signify a passive state wherein the mind passes to a lesser perfection."
In the corollary of proposition XIII we read: "The mind shrinks from conceiving those things, which diminish or constrain the power of itself and of the body."
And thereto in the note, Spinoza concludes: "From what has been said we may clearly understand the nature of Love and Hate. Love is nothing else but pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause : Hate is nothing else but pain accompanied by the idea of an external cause."


Restatement of Prop 9 (book III)XI. Whatsoever increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of activity in our body, the idea thereof increases or diminishes , helps or hinders the power of thought in our mind.
Proof: This proposition is evident from II. vii or from II xiv.
Notes- (extensive but relevant)

Spinoza in Context

First, Spinoza organizes the Ethics in such a way that is both mind bindingly brilliant and jaw grindingly confusing. Spinoza composes Ethics in synthetic form, which is that unlike Descartes, who had a self professed (and historically attributed) analytic form (Methods, Meditations, etc). Instead of building from the ground up like Descartes, Spinoza is presupposing axioms, propositions, proofs, etc. and building on the go. That being said, proposition 9 in book three is an amalgamation of synthetic philosophy within the context of the entire Ethics. This is evident in the citation of proofs noted above in the restatement of proposition 9. Proposition 7 and 14 have previously derived (from their own set of derivations, etc), that, in the case of prop 7 (book II) that "The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things." In prop 14 (book II), it says that, "The human mind is capable of perceiving a great many things, and this capacity will vary in proportion to the variety of states which its body can assume."

Each has its own respective interpretation, but the amalgamate conclusion of those two propositions and their relevancy to prop 9 (book III), is this; Prop 7 deals with the fact that the order and connection of ideas is virtually the same as the order and order and connection of things and prop 14 is essentially the beginning of an epistemological exploration of how we get ideas in the first place, and also what ideas there are and to what point that those ideas constitute a true version of knowledge. The connection of these two propositions in book II connect to book III in the affirmation of the conatus principle, which is essentially prop 4 (book III) which states "Everything, in so far as it is in itself, endeavors to persist in its own being."

Proposition 9 in context

What does all of this mean then? Proposition 9 depends on prop 4 as the basis of examination. One thing I have to point out at this point is the Spinoza, though confusing as he is, actually makes things ridiculously simple to follow categorically. EthicsdividedSecond Division in Context

The second division (4-11) is essentially an outline of the conatus principle (that everything basically persist in itself) and elaborations a fundamental outline of three primary definitions (in the notes) that will reveal the three fundamental emotions. What follows now is an interpretation of the second division (in a nutshell); Prop 4 reveals that nothing can be obliterated unless it is done by an external cause. Prop 5 conveys that a things are mutually exclusive in themselves (no two things are the same things). Prop 6 conveys that each thing propels itself to persist through time. Prop 7 conveys that this propulsion to persist through time (conatus) is the essence of a thing. Prop 8 conveys what it means to Endeavour through time. Prop 9 outlines the definitions of will, appetite and desire. Prop 11 (part 1) conveys that if any thing increases the body's power to action, it is essentially the idea of that thing that does it. Prop 11 (part 2) conveys the three primary emotions; desire, joy, and sadness.

SummationIn response to post#11 and the power of activity

As for the power of activity issue you are having in post #11, it is a huge aspect of the conatus principle (to persist as itself through time). SPOILER ALERT!!!! (if you have note read the section and want to keep it that way) Of the three primary emotions, desire is the conatus, but specifically our desire to persist through existence. We have other desires of course, but they are more like affections or modifications of the primary modus conatus. Joy and sadness are the comparative spectrum here, where joy increases our power to persist through existence and sadness decreases it. Joy is love, Hate is sadness, etc etc etc.
 
salima
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 12:31 pm
@Wisigerno,
so once again at the bottom of things is a trinity-the positive, the negative, and the force to pit them against each other...i wonder how many mysteries can be boiled down to three basic components?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 01:23 pm
@salima,
salima;116668 wrote:
so once again at the bottom of things is a trinity-the positive, the negative, and the force to pit them against each other...i wonder how many mysteries can be boiled down to three basic components?
 
Wisigerno
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 06:35 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
@ VideCorSpoon:
Thanks for you post.
What keeps me thinking, though, is: how could hate possibly decrease our power to persist through existence, whereas love increases it?
Spinoza doesn't seem to have the common idea of hate in mind.
Freud defined hate as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness. (wikipedia)
That would totally wreck Spinoza's point (or at least his usage of the word "hate").
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 07:47 pm
@Wisigerno,
No problem at all, it's a great discussion to have!

How to approach the issue of hate and how it decreases modus conatus

On how hate could possibly decrease our power to persist through existence (and love increase it), is a very methodical and very logical (although axiomatic) inquiry as far as Spinoza is concerned. My previous post outlined the first and the second division, that of the preliminaries and the conatus and primary emotions. What you ask is addressed in the third and fourth division of Ethics III, and actually a very good segway question as well.

The emotions and their causes

Proposition 12 - 13 essentially states that the mind is something which strives to think of what can improve the body's conatus (what Spinoza refers to as the modus conatur). The mind in contrast to this (prop 13) is configured in such a way where it is not beneficial for it to think of things which decrease the body's conatus. So essentially, the mind is positively configured to think of things which increase rather than decrease its conatus. Think of it as a hard-wire for things we do to benefit us, whether it be breathing, eating, surviving, etc. If we are able to persist via these methods, it is not beneficial for us to think of ways to decrease that chance of survival, such as burning the food stores, making your bed in a bear den, or selling your F-ing only book with Ethics Book III in it for $5 (note that I will not let that go). LOL!

The scales of hate and love

How hate specifically decreases our power to persist through time is this (and this is a stripped down version because the explanation is, no lie, three-fourths of the overall book). This is where division three comes in that it explains the emotions, thoughts, and the dichotomy of all the emotions with one another. There are many types and aspects of emotions and their causes (prop 14-17). If you think of things that you are fond of or love is destroyed, you will be saddened. If what you love is safe, you will be joyous (prop 19). Thinking of what you hate being destroyed makes you happy (prop 20). Thinking of what either makes you happy or sad, you will feel the emotions connected with those feelings (prop 21). If someone hates one you love, you will hate him, and vice-versa. (prop 22). So now we understand a little more of what Spinoza wants us to conceive about emotions. Its almost like a karmic cycle if you look at it from a certain direction. But what about hate and how it decreases our conatus?

How hate decreases our conatusactive emotions of joy and desire (prop 58-59).

SummationActivity, Passivity, Feminists, and Freud

Interestingly enough, the dichotomy of activity and passivity as outlined by Spinoza have been argued as the grounds of sexism in a male dominated framework by feminists. Passivity, as argued by Betty Friedan in particular, denote that the hatred of women (by men) and the enforcement of passivity, relegate women to a lower class of human being. Its also on that note that I would take your mentioning of Freud a step forward because Freud was none too fond of the "active" sense of women, since they suffer from castrative impotency and what not (according to Freud mind you, not me). But that's an additional tidbit right there though, so disregard if you will. But assuming that what you say about Freud and that hate wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness, in the case of Spinoza, hate is under propelled and negative, and anything which does propel it is further negative and not positive. Only love and joy make for a positive substitution and Karmic replenishment for Spinoza.
 
salima
 
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 11:00 pm
@Wisigerno,
hmm...

i have to say that the responsive is necessary as much as the active, and response is in effect an action, isnt it? no need to put responsiveness and those who are responsive in a lower rank, be they men or women.

also i dont see hate as being passive-it is as active as love to me, but probably more responsive. love is an outgoing act (when it is done right) and hate seems to be an incoming fire building up an overload on the system. one tries to direct one's hate towards the hated object, person or group, but in fact it is directed within.

the actual love as an act is not what we do for others-it is an outgoing energy coming from the heart. hatred on the other hand is a malignant, inwardly directed energy.

anyway, that was what came to mind when i read the latest posts. but i am happy to learn about spinoza, he sounds pretty good to me. the unity factor is the key-when there is only one and it hates it is hating itself. destruction results. i think...
 
Wisigerno
 
Reply Tue 5 Jan, 2010 05:03 pm
@salima,
@ VideCorSpoon:
Thank you very much again.
I think I see the reasons now why Spinoza's idea of hate puzzled me so much:
First: "By pleasure therefore in the following propositions I shall signify a passive state wherein the mind passes to a greater perfection. By pain I shall signify a passive state wherein the mind passes to a lesser perfection." That's what I always had in mind, never considering the importance of prop 58-59.
Second: I always tried to imagine what hate means to me as a human being, what is feels like to be affected by hate. Thus, naturally, I had an agitating hate in mind. But is this really what hatred is all about? It always seemed to me as if Spinoza had defined hate as sadness merely due to symmetrical reasons. Yet if we examine more closely what hatred really is, we'll notice that it actually is sadness.
Well, the argument of my second reason isn't undermined yet; for now "hate" is an ambiguous term.
However, this issue is solved with prop 59 as well.
Proposition LIX states: "Among all the emotions attributable to the mind as active, there are none which cannot be referred to pleasure or desire."
I think that merely hate as sadness actually affects the mind.
The agitating hate isn't attributable to my mind as active at all.
Then, according to prop 11, "agitating hate" would be a contradictio in adjecto.
Yet, taking prop 55 into account, we know that the "agitating hate" changes itself while being looked at by the mind.
Thus, as soon as we can speak of hate, it already is sadness.

What do you think?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 02:21 pm
@Wisigerno,
I think those are a wonderful interpretations of Spinoza's propositions. The neat thing about Spinoza's propositions is that you can derive one thing from another and still keep to the original context of his writings. The propositions are a lot like laws I think. They are there and positively inscribed for us to understand, but are open to a broad and even deeper and more meaningful interpretation. Props to you and Salima.
 
 

 
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