Spinoza's Simplified Ethics Part 5, Propositions 21-39: Eternity
Proposition 21. The mind can only imagine anything, or remember what is past, while the body endures.mind does not:
does not express the actual existence of its body
does not imagine the modifications of the body as actual, except while the body endures (2.8. Coroll.)
consequently (2.26.) does not imagine any body as actually existing, except while its own body endures.
Thus, the mind cannot imagine anything (for definition of Imagination, see 2.17. note), or remember things past, except while the body endures (see definition of Memory, 2.18. note). Q.E.D.
Proposition 22. Nevertheless in God there is necessarily an idea, which expresses the essence of this or that human body under the form of eternity.is the cause of the existence of this or that human body and also of its essence (1.25.).
Therefore, this essence must necessarily:
be conceived through the very essence of God (1. Ax. 4), and
be thus conceived by a certain eternal necessity (1. 16.).
This conception must necessarily exist in God (2.3.). Q.E.D.
Proposition 23: The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but there remains of it something which is eternal.is necessarily in God a concept or idea, which expresses the essence of the human body (last Prop.), which, therefore, is necessarily something appertaining to the essence of the human mind (2.13.).
But we have not assigned to the human mind any duration, definable by time, except in so far as it expresses the actual existence of the body, which is explained through duration, and may be defined by time—that is (2.8. Coroll.), we do not assign to it duration, except while the body endures.
Yet, as there is something, notwithstanding, which is conceived by a certain eternal necessity through the very essence of God (last Prop.);
This something, which appertains to the essence of the mind, will necessarily be eternal. Q.E.D.
idea, which expresses the essence of the body under the form of eternity, is, as we have said, a certain mode of thinking, which belongs to the essence of the mind, and is necessarily eternal.
Yet it is not possible that we should remember that we existed before our body, for our body can bear no trace of such existence, neither can eternity be defined in terms of time, or have any relation to time.
But, notwithstanding, we feel and know that we are eternal.
For the mind feels those things that it conceives by understanding, no less than those things that it remembers.
For the eyes of the mind, whereby it sees and observes things, are none other than proofs.
Thus, although we do not remember that we existed before the body, yet we feel that our mind, in so far as it involves the essence of the body, under the form of eternity, is eternal, and that thus its existence cannot be defined in terms of time, or explained through duration.
Thus our mind can only be said to endure, and its existence can only be defined by a fixed time, in so far as it involves the actual existence of the body.
Thus far only has it the power of determining the existence of things by time, and conceiving them under the category of duration.
Proposition 24: The more we understand particular things, the more do we understand God.is evident from 1.25. Coroll.Proposition 25. The highest endeavour of the mind, and the highest virtue is to understand things by the third kind of knowledge.third kind of knowledge proceeds from an adequate idea of certain attributes of God to an adequate knowledge of the essence of things (see its definition 2.40. note. 2).
and, in proportion as we understand things more in this way, we better understand God (by the last Prop.).
Therefore (4.28.) the highest virtue of the mind, that is (4. Def. 8.) the power, or nature, or (3.7.) highest endeavour of the mind, is to understand things by the third kind of knowledge. Q.E.D.
Proposition 26: In proportion as the mind is more capable of understanding things by the third kind of knowledge, it desires more to understand things by that kind.is evident.
For, in so far as we conceive the mind to be capable of conceiving things by this kind of knowledge, we, to that extent, conceive it as determined thus to conceive things; and consequently (Def. of the Emotions, 1), the mind desires so to do, in proportion as it is more capable thereof. Q.E.D.
Proposition 27. From this third kind of knowledge arises the highest possible mental acquiescence.highest virtue of the mind is to know God (4.28.), or to understand things by the third kind of knowledge (5.25.), and this virtue is greater in proportion as the mind knows things more by the said kind of knowledge (5.24.):
Consequently, he who knows things by this kind of knowledge passes to the summit of human perfection, and is therefore (Def. of the Emotions, 2.) affected by the highest pleasure, such pleasure being accompanied by the idea of himself and his own virtue.
Thus (Def. of the Emotions, 25), from this kind of knowledge arises the highest possible acquiescence. Q.E.D.
Proposition 28: The desire to know things by intuition cannot arise from the imagination, but from reason.proposition is self-evident.
Whatsoever we understand clearly and distinctly, we understand:
through itself, or
through that which is conceived through itself.
Ideas which are clear and distinct in us, or which are referred to intuition (2.40. note. 2.) cannot follow from ideas that are fragmentary and confused, and are referred to imagination, but must follow from adequate ideas, or ideas of reason and intuition.
Therefore (Def. of the Emotions, 1), the desire of knowing things by intuition cannot arise from the imagination, but from reason. Q.E.D.
Proposition 33: God's intellectual love, arising from intuition, is eternal.is eternal (5.31. 1. Ax. 3).
Therefore (by the same Axiom) the love which arises from intuition is also necessarily eternal. Q.E.D.
love towards God has (by the foregoing Prop.) no beginning.
But it possesses all the perfections of love, just as though it had arisen as we feigned in the Coroll. of the last Proposition.
There is no difference here, except that the mind has, as eternal, those same perfections which we feigned to accrue to it.
They are accompanied by the idea of God as eternal cause.
If pleasure consists in the transition to a greater perfection, then blessedness must consist in the mind being endowed with perfection itself.
Proposition 34: The mind is subject to those emotions which are attributable to passions, only while the body endures.is the idea wherewith the mind contemplates a thing as present (2.17 note).
Yet this idea indicates rather the present disposition of the human body than the nature of the external thing (2.16. Coroll. 2).
Therefore, emotion (see general Def. of Emotions) is imagination, as it indicates the present disposition of the body.
Therefore (5.21.) the mind is subject to emotions which are attributable to passions, only while the body endures. Q.E.D.
it follows that no love save intellectual love is eternal.we look to men's general opinion, we shall see that they are indeed conscious of the eternity of their mind, but that they confuse eternity with duration, and ascribe it to the imagination or the memory which they believe to remain after death.Proposition 35: God loves himself with an infinite intellectual love.is absolutely infinite (1. Def. 6), that is (2. Def. 6), the nature of God rejoices in infinite perfection.
Such rejoicing is (2.3.) accompanied by the idea of himself, that is (1.11. and Def. 1), the idea of his own cause.
This is what we have (in 5.32. Coroll.) described as intellectual love.
Proposition 36. The intellectual love of the mind towards God is that very love of God whereby God loves himself, not as he is infinite, but as he can be explained through the human mind's essence regarded under the form of eternity.
In other words, the intellectual love of the mind towards God is part of the infinite love wherewith God loves himself.
love of the mind must be referred to the activities of the mind (5.32. Coroll. and 3.3.).
It is itself an activity whereby the mind regards itself accompanied by the idea of God as cause (5.32 and Coroll.).
That is (1.25 Coroll. and 2.11. Coroll.), an activity whereby God, in so far as he can be explained through the human mind, regards himself accompanied by the idea of himself.
Therefore (by the last Prop.), this love of the mind is part of the infinite love wherewith God loves himself. Q.E.D.
follows that God, as he loves himself, loves man.
Consequently, the love of God towards men, and the intellectual love of the mind towards God are identical.
salvation, blessedness, or freedom consists in the constant and eternal love towards God, or in God's love towards men.
This love or blessedness is, in the Bible, called Glory, and not undeservedly.
For whether this love be referred to God or to the mind, it may rightly be called acquiescence of spirit, which (Def. of the Emotions, 25. 30.) is not really distinguished from glory.
As referred to God, it is (5. 35.) pleasure, if we may still use that term, accompanied by the idea of itself, and, as is referred to the mind, it is the same (5.27.).
The essence of our mind consists solely in knowledge, whereof the beginning and foundation is God (1.15., and 2.47. note).
It becomes clear to us how our mind, as to its essence and existence, follows from the divine nature, and constantly depends on God.
I call attention to this, to show how intuition (2.40. note. 2), is potent and more powerful than the universal knowledge or the second kind of knowledge.
In Part 1, I showed in general terms, that all things (consequently, also the human mind) depend as to their essence and existence on God.
Yet that demonstration, though legitimate and placed beyond the chances of doubt, does not affect our mind so much, as when the same conclusion is derived from the actual essence of some particular thing, which we say depends on God.
Proposition 37. There is nothing in nature, which is contrary to this intellectual love, or which can take it away.intellectual love follows necessarily from the nature of the mind, in so far as the latter is regarded through the nature of God as an eternal truth (5.33 and 5.39).
If there should be anything which would be contrary to this love, that thing would be contrary to that which is true.
Consequently, that, which should be able to take away this love, would cause that which is true to be false; an obvious absurdity.
Therefore, there is nothing in nature which, etc. Q.E.D.
Axiom of Part 4 has reference to particular things, as they are regarded in relation to a given time and place.
No one can doubt this.
Proposition 38. In proportion as the mind understands more things by the second and third kind of knowledge, it is less subject to those emotions which are evil, and stands in less fear of death.mind's essence consists in knowledge (2.11.).
Therefore, in proportion as the mind understands more things by the second and third kinds of knowledge, the greater will be the part of it that endures (5.29. and 5.23.).
Consequently (by the last Prop.), the greater will be the part that is not touched by the emotions, which are contrary to our nature, or in other words, evil (4.30.).
Thus, in proportion as the mind understands more things by the second and third kinds of knowledge, the greater will be the part of it, that remains unimpaired, and, consequently, less subject to emotions, etc. Q.E.D.
we understand that point which I touched on in 4.39. note, and which I promised to explain in this Part.
Namely, that death becomes less hurtful, in proportion as the mind's clear and distinct knowledge is greater, and, consequently, in proportion as the mind loves God more.
Again, since from the third kind of knowledge arises the highest possible acquiescence (5.27.).
It follows that the human mind can attain to being of such a nature, that the part thereof which we have shown to perish with the body (5.21.) should be of little importance when compared with the part which endures.
But I will soon treat of the subject at greater length.
Proposition 39. He, who possesses a body capable of the greatest number of activities, possesses a mind whereof the greatest part is eternal., who possesses a body capable of the greatest number of activities, is least agitated by those evil emotions (4.38.) or (4.30.) those emotions which are contrary to our nature.
Therefore (5.10.), he has:
the power of arranging and associating the body's modifications according to the intellectual order.
consequently, the power of bringing it about, that all the body's modifications should be referred to the idea of God.
Whence it will come to pass that (5.15.) he will be affected with love towards God, which (5.16.) must occupy or constitute the chief part of the mind.
Therefore (5.33.), such a man will possess a mind whereof the chief part is eternal. Q.E.D.
human bodies are capable of the most activities, they may be of such a nature, that they may be referred to minds possessing a great knowledge of themselves and of God.
and whereof the greatest or chief part is eternal, and, therefore, that they should scarcely fear death.
But to understand this more clearly, we must remember that:
we live in a state of perpetual variation.
we are 'happy' or 'unhappy' as we are changed for the better or the worse.
For he, who, from being an infant or a child, becomes a corpse, is called unhappy.
Whereas it is set down to happiness, if we have been able to live through the whole period of life with a sound mind in a sound body.
And, in reality, he, who, as in the case of an infant or a child, has a body capable of very few activities, and depending, for the most part, on external causes, has a mind which, considered in itself alone, is scarcely conscious of itself, or of God, or of things.
Whereas, he, who has a body capable of very many activities, has a mind which, considered in itself alone, is highly conscious of itself, of God, and of things.
Therefore in this life, we primarily endeavour to bring it about, that the body of a child, in so far as its nature allows and conduces thereto, may be changed into something else capable of very many activities, and referable to a mind which is highly conscious of itself, of God, and of things.
We desire so to change it, that what is referred to its imagination and memory may become insignificant, in comparison with its intellect, as I have already said in the note to the last Proposition.