Proposition 48. The emotions of over-esteem and disparagement are always bad. Proof: These emotions (see Def. of the Emotions, 21. 22) are repugnant to reason; and are therefore (4.26. 4.27.) bad. Q.E.D. Proposition 49. Over-esteem is apt to render its object proud. Proof: If we see that any one rates us too highly, for love's sake, we are apt to become elated (3.41), or to be pleasurably affected (Def. of the Emotions, 30.).
The good which we hear of ourselves we readily believe (3.25)
Therefore, for love's sake, rate ourselves too highly; in other words, we are apt to become proud. Q.E.D.
Proposition 50. Pity, in a man who lives under the guidance of reason, is in itself bad and useless. Proof: Pity (Def. of the Emotions, 18.) is a pain, and therefore (4.41) is in itself bad.
The good effect which follows, namely, our endeavour to free the object of our pity from misery, is an action which we desire to do solely at the dictation of reason (4.37).
Only at the dictation of reason are we able to perform any action, which we know for certain to be good (4.27).
Thus, in a man who lives under the guidance of reason, pity in itself is useless and bad. Q.E.D.
Note: He who rightly realizes, that all things follow from the necessity of the divine nature, and come to pass in accordance with the eternal laws and rules of nature, will not find anything worthy of hatred, derision, or contempt, nor will he bestow pity on anything, but to the utmost extent of human virtue he will endeavour to do well, as the saying is, and to rejoice.
We may add, that he, who is easily touched with compassion, and is moved by another's sorrow or tears, often does something which he afterwards regrets;
Partly because we can never be sure that an action caused by emotion is good, partly because we are easily deceived by false tears.
I am in this place expressly speaking of a man living under the guidance of reason.
He who is moved to help others neither by reason nor by compassion, is rightly styled inhuman, for (3.27) he seems unlike a man.
Proposition 51. Approval is not repugnant to reason, but can agree therewith and arise therefrom. Proof: Approval is love towards one who has done good to another (Def. of the Emotions, 19).
Therefore it may be referred to the mind, in so far as the latter is active (3.59), that is (3.3), in so far as it understands.
Therefore, it is in agreement with reason, etc. Q.E.D.
Another Proof: He, who lives under the guidance of reason, desires for others the good which he seeks for himself (4.37).
Wherefore from seeing someone doing good to his fellow his own endeavour to do good is aided; in other words, he will feel pleasure (3.11 note) accompanied by the idea of the benefactor.
Therefore he approves of him. Q.E.D.
Note: Indignation as we defined it (Def. of the Emotions, 20) is necessarily evil (4.45).
We may, however, remark that, when the sovereign power for the sake of preserving peace punishes a citizen who has injured another, it should not be said to be indignant with the criminal, for it is not incited by hatred to ruin him, it is led by a sense of duty to punish him.
Proposition 52. Self-approval may arise from reason, and that which arises from reason is the highest possible. Proof: Self-approval is pleasure arising from a man's contemplation of himself and his own power of action (Def. of the Emotions, 25).
But a man's true power of action or virtue is reason herself (3.3), as the said man clearly and distinctly contemplates her (2.40. 2.43).
Therefore self-approval arises from reason.
Again, when a man is contemplating himself, he only perceived clearly and distinctly or adequately, such things as follow from his power of action (3. Def. 2), that is (3.3), from his power of understanding; therefore in such contemplation alone does the highest possible self-approval arise. Q.E.D.
Note: Self-approval is in reality the highest object for which we can hope.
For (as we showed in IV. xxv.) no one endeavours to preserve his being for the sake of any ulterior object, and, as this approval is more and more fostered and strengthened by praise (III. liii. Coroll.), and on the contrary (III. lv. Coroll.) is more and more disturbed by blame, fame becomes the most powerful of incitements to action, and life under disgrace is almost unendurable.
Proposition 53. Humility is not a virtue, or does not arise from reason. Proof: Humility is pain arising from a man's contemplation of his own infirmities (Def. of the Emotions, 26).
But, in so far as a man knows himself by true reason, he is assumed to understand his essence, that is, his power (3.7).
Wherefore, if a man in self-contemplation perceives any infirmity in himself, it is not by virtue of his understanding himself, but (3.55.) by virtue of his power of activity being checked.
But, if we assume that a man perceives his own infirmity by virtue of understanding something stronger than himself, by the knowledge of which he determines his own power of activity, this is the same as saying that we conceive that a man understands himself distinctly (4.26), because his power of activity is aided.
Wherefore humility, or the pain which arises from a man's contemplation of his own infirmity, does not arise from the contemplation or reason, and is not a virtue but a passion. Q.E.D.
 Land reads: "Quod ipsius agendi potentia juvatur"—which I have translated above. He suggests as alternative readings to 'quod', 'quo' (= whereby) and 'quodque' (= and that).
Proposition 54. Repentance is not a virtue, or does not arise from reason; but he who repents of an action is doubly wretched or infirm. Proof: The first part of this proposition is proved like the foregoing one.
The second part is proved from the mere definition of the emotion in question (Def. of the Emotions, 27).
For the man allows himself to be overcome, first, by evil desires; secondly, by pain.
Note: As men seldom live under the guidance of reason, these two emotions, namely, Humility and Repentance, as also Hope and Fear, bring more good than harm;
Hence, as we must sin, we had better sin in that direction.
For, if all men who are a prey to emotion were all equally proud, they would shrink from nothing, and would fear nothing; how then could they be joined and linked together in bonds of union?
The crowd plays the tyrant, when it is not in fear.
Hence we need not wonder that the prophets, who consulted the good, not of a few, but of all, so strenuously commended Humility, Repentance, and Reverence.
Those who are a prey to these emotions may be led much more easily than others to live under the guidance of reason, that is, to become free and to enjoy the life of the blessed.
Proposition 55. Extreme pride or dejection indicates extreme ignorance of self. Proof: This is evident from Def. of the Emotions, 28 and 29. Proposition 56. Extreme pride or dejection indicates extreme infirmity of spirit. Proof: The first foundation of virtue is self-preservation (4.22. Coroll.) under the guidance of reason (4.24).
He, therefore, who is ignorant of himself, is ignorant of the foundation of all virtues, and consequently of all virtues.
Again, to act virtuously is merely to act under the guidance of reason (4.24.).
He who acts under the guidance of reason, must necessarily know that he so acts (2.43).
Therefore he who is in extreme ignorance of himself, and consequently of all virtues, acts least in obedience to virtue; in other words (4. Def. 8), is most infirm of spirit.
Thus extreme pride or dejection indicates extreme infirmity of spirit. Q.E.D.
Corollary: Hence it most clearly follows, that the proud and the dejected specially fall a prey to the emotions. Note: Yet dejection can be more easily corrected than pride;
For the latter being a pleasurable emotion, and the former a painful emotion, the pleasurable is stronger than the painful (4.18).
Proposition 57. The proud man delights in the company of flatterers and parasites, but hates the company of the high-minded. Proof: Pride is pleasure arising from a man's over estimation of himself (Def. of the Emotions, 28 and 6);
This estimation the proud man will endeavour to foster by all the means in his power (3.13. note);
He will therefore delight in the company of flatterers and parasites (whose character is too well known to need definition here), and will avoid the company of high-minded men, who value him according to his deserts. Q.E.D.
Note: It would be too long a task to enumerate here all the evil results of pride, inasmuch as the proud are a prey to all the emotions, though to none of them less than to love and pity.
I cannot, however, pass over in silence the fact, that a man may be called proud from his underestimation of other people; and, therefore, pride in this sense may be defined as pleasure arising from the false opinion, whereby a man may consider himself superior to his fellows.
The dejection, which is the opposite quality to this sort of pride, may be defined as pain arising from the false opinion, whereby a man may think himself inferior to his fellows.
Such being the ease, we can easily see that a proud man is necessarily envious (3.41. note), and only takes pleasure in the company, who fool his weak mind to the top of his bent, and make him insane instead of merely foolish.
Though dejection is the emotion contrary to pride, yet is the dejected man very near akin to the proud man.
For, inasmuch as his pain arises from a comparison between his own infirmity and other men's power or virtue, it will be removed, or, in other words, he will feel pleasure, if his imagination be occupied in contemplating other men's faults;
whence arises the proverb, "The unhappy are comforted by finding fellow-sufferers."
Contrariwise, he will be the more pained in proportion as he thinks himself inferior to others;
Hence none are so prone to envy as the dejected, they are specially keen in observing men's actions, with a view to fault—finding rather than correction, in order to reserve their praises for dejection, and to glory therein, though all the time with a dejected air.
These effects follow as necessarily from the said emotion, as it follows from the nature of a triangle, that the three angles are equal to two right angles.
I have already said that I call these and similar emotions bad, solely in respect to what is useful to man.
The laws of nature have regard to nature's general order, whereof man is but a part.
I mention this, in passing, lest any should think that I have wished to set forth the faults and irrational deeds of men rather than the nature and properties of things.
For, as I said in the preface to the third Part, I regard human emotions and their properties as on the same footing with other natural phenomena.
Assuredly human emotions indicate the power and ingenuity, of nature, if not of human nature, quite as fully as other things which we admire, and which we delight to contemplate.
But I pass on to note those qualities in the emotions, which bring advantage to man, or inflict injury upon him.
Proposition 58. Honour (gloria) is not repugnant to reason, but may arise therefrom. Proof: This is evident from Def. of the Emotions, 30 and also from the definition of an honourable man (4.37 note. 1). Note: Empty honour, as it is styled, is self-approval, fostered only by the good opinion of the populace.
When this good opinion ceases there ceases also the self-approval, in other words, the highest object of each man's love (4.52. note).
Consequently, he whose honour is rooted in popular approval must, day by day, anxiously strive, act, and scheme in order to retain his reputation.
For the populace is variable and inconstant, so that, if a reputation be not kept up, it quickly withers away.
Everyone wishes to catch popular applause for himself, and readily represses the fame of others.
The object of the strife being estimated as the greatest of all goods, each combatant is seized with a fierce desire to put down his rivals in every possible way, until he who at last comes out victorious is more proud of having done harm to others than of having done good to himself.
This sort of honour, then, is really empty, being nothing.
The points to note concerning shame may easily be inferred from what was said on the subject of mercy and repentance.
I will only add that shame, like compassion, though not a virtue, is yet good, in so far as it shows, that the feeler of shame is really imbued with the desire to live honourably.
In the same way as suffering is good, as showing that the injured part is not mortified.
Therefore, though a man who feels shame is sorrowful, he is yet more perfect than he, who is shameless, and has no desire to live honourably.
Such are the points which I undertook to remark upon concerning the emotions of pleasure and pain; as for the desires, they are good or bad according as they spring from good or evil emotions.
But all, in so far as they are engendered in us by emotions wherein the mind is passive, are blind (as is evident from what was said in 4.44. note), and would be useless, if men could easily, be induced to live by the guidance of reason only, as I will now briefly, show.