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There is not, perhaps, another instance of a building so great erected upon a foundation so slight in appearance, as the relations of objects and their arrangement. Relations make no capital figure in the mind, the bulk of them being transitory, and some extremely trivial they are, however, the links that, by uniting our perceptions into one connected chain, produce connection of action, because perception and action have an intimate correspondence. But it is not sufficient for the conduct of life, that our actions be linked together, however intimately it is besides necessary that they proceed in a certain order; and this is also provided for by an original propensity. Thus order and connection, while they admit sufficient variety, introduce a method in the management of affairs: without them our conduct would be fluctuating and desultory; and we should be hurried from thought to thought, and from action to action, entirely at the mercy of chance.
EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS.
68. Of all the feelings raised in us by external objects, those only of the eye and the ear are honored with the name of passion or emotion; the most pleasing feelings of taste, or touch, or smell, aspire not to that honor. From this observation appears the connection of emotions and passions with the fine arts, which, as observed in the introduction, are all of them calculated to give pleasure to the eye or the ear; never once condescending to gratify any of the inferior senses. The design accordingly of this chapter is to delineate that connection, with the view chiefly to ascertain what power the fine arts have to raise emotions and passions. To those who would excel in the fine arts, that branch of knowledge is indispensable; for without it the critic, as well as the undertaker, ignorant of any rule, has nothing left but to abandon himself to chance. Destitute of that branch of knowledge, in vain will either pretend to foretell what effect his work will have upon the heart.
69. Human nature is a complicated machine, and is unavoidably so in order to answer its various purposes. The public indeed have been entertained with many systems of human nature that flatter the mind by their simplicity: according to some writers, man is entirely a selfish being; according to others, universal benevolence
67. The relations among objects affect our conduct.
68. Feelings that are distinguished by the name of passions. Their connection with the fine arts.-Object of the chapter.
is his duty one founds morality upon sympathy solely, and one upon utility. If any of these systems were copied from nature, the present subject might be soon discussed. But the variety of nature is not so easily reached, and for confuting such Utopian systems without the fatigue of reasoning, it appears the best method to take a survey of human nature, and to set before the eye, plainly and candidly, facts as they really exist.
CAUSES UNFOLDED OF THE EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS.
Difference between Emotion and Passion.—Causes that are the most common and the most general.—Passion considered as productive of action.
70. Ir is a fact universally admitted, that no emotion or passion ever starts up in the mind without a cause: if I love a person, it is for good qualities or good offices: if I have resentment against a man, it must be for some injury he has done me and I cannot pity any one who is under no distress of body nor of mind.
71. The circumstances now mentioned, if they raise an emotion or passion, cannot be entirely indifferent; for if so, they could not make any impression. And we find, upon examination, that they are not indifferent: looking back upon the foregoing examples, the good qualities or good offices that attract my love, are antecedently agreeable: if an injury did not give uneasiness, it would not occa sion resentment against the author: nor would the passion of pity be raised by an object in distress, if that object did not give pain.
72. What is now said about the production of emotion or passion, resolves itself into a very simple proposition, That we love what is agreeable, and hate what is disagreeable. And indeed it is evident, that a thing must be agreeable or disagreeable, before it can be the object either of love or of hatred.
73. This short hint about the causes of passion and emotion, leads to a more extensive view of the subject. Such is our nature, that upon perceiving certain external objects, we are instantaneously
69. Theories of human nature.
70. Emotions or passions are not without cause. Examples.
71. Remarks on foregoing examples.
72. What we love-what we hate.
conscious of pleasure or pain: a gently-flowing river, a smooth extended plain, a spreading oak, a towering hill, are objects of sight that raise pleasant emotions: a barren heath, a dirty marsh, a rotten carcass, raise painful emotions. Of the emotions thus produced, we inquire for no other cause but merely the presence of the object.
74. The things now mentioned raise emotions by means of their properties and qualities: to the emotion raised by a large river, its size, its force, and its fluency, contribute each a share: the regularity, propriety, and convenience of a fine building, contribute each to the emotion raised by the building.
75. If external properties be agreeable, we have reason to expect the same from those which are internal; and, accordingly, power, discernment, wit, mildness, sympathy, courage, benevolence, are agreeable in a high degree: upon perceiving these qualities in others, we instantaneously feel pleasant emotions, without the slightest act of reflection, or of attention to consequences. It is almost unnecessary to add, that certain qualities opposite to the former, such as dullness, peevishness, inhumanity, cowardice, occasion in the same manner painful emotions.
76. Sensible beings affect us remarkably by their actions. Some actions raise pleasant emotions in the spectator, without the least reflection; such as graceful motion, and genteel behavior. But as intention, a capital circumstance in human actions, is not visible, it requires reflection to discover their true character. I see one delivering a purse of money to another, but I can make nothing of that action, till I learn with what intention the money is given: if it be given to discharge a debt, the action pleases me in a slight degree; if it be a grateful return, I feel a stronger emotion; and the pleasant emotion rises to a great height, when it is the intention of the giver to relieve a virtuous family from want. Thus actions are qualified by intention; but they are not qualified by the event; for an action well intended gives pleasure, whatever the event be. Further, human actions are perceived to be right or wrong; and that perception qualifies the pleasure or pain that results from them.
Emotions are raised in us, not only by the qualities and actions of others, but also by their feelings: I cannot behold a man in distress, without partaking of his pain; nor in joy, without partaking of his pleasure.
77. The beings or things above described occasion emotions in us, not only in the original survey, but also when recalled to the memory in idea: a field laid out with taste is pleasant in the recollection, as well as when under our eye: a generous action described
73 Emotions on perceiving certain external objects. The cause of such emotions. 74. How the external objects mentioned raise emotions.
75. Internal or mental causes of pleasant and painful emotions.
76. How we are affected by the actions of rational beings-Actions qualified by intention, not by event; distinguished as right or wrong.-Feelings of others, a cause of emotion.
in words or colors occasions a sensible emotion, as well as when we see it performed; and when we reflect upon the distress of any person, our pain is of the same kind with what we felt when eye-witnesses. In a word, an agreeable or disagreeable object recalled to the mind in idea, is the occasion of a pleasant or painful emotion, of the same kind with that produced when the object was present: the only difference is, that an idea being fainter than an original perception, the pleasure or pain produced by the former is proportionably fainter than that produced by the latter.
78. Having explained the nature of an emotion, and mentioned several causes by which it is produced, we proceed to an observation of considerable importance in the science of human nature, which is, That desire follows some emotions, and not others. The emotions raised by a beautiful garden, a magnificent building, or a number of fine faces in a crowded assembly, is seldom accompanied with desire. Other emotions are accompanied with desire; emotions, for example, raised by human actions and qualities: a virtuous action raiseth in every spectator a pleasant emotion, which is commonly attended with desire to reward the author of the action : a vicious action, on the contrary, produceth a painful emotion, attended with desire to punish the delinquent. Even things inanimate often raise emotions accompanied with desire: witness the goods of fortune, which are objects of desire almost universally and the desire, when immoderate, obtains the name of avarice. The pleasant emotion produced in a spectator by a capital picture in the possession of a prince, is seldom accompanied with desire; but if such a picture be exposed to sale, desire of having or possessing is the natural consequence of a strong emotion.
79. It is a truth verified by induction, that every passion is accompanied with desire; and if an emotion be sometimes accompanied with desire, sometimes not, it comes to be a material inquiry, in what respect a passion differs from an emotion. Is passion in its nature or feeling distinguishable from emotion? An internal motion or agitation of the mind, when it passeth away without desire, is denominated an emotion: when desire follows, the motion or agitation is denominated a passion. A fine face, for example, raiseth in me a pleasant feeling: if that feeling vanish without producing any effect, it is in proper language an emotion; but if the feeling, by reiterated views of the object, become sufficiently strong to occasion desire, it loses its names of emotion, and acquires that of passion. The same holds in all the other passions: the painful feeling raised in a spectator by a slight injury done to a stranger, being accompanied with no desire of revenge, is termed an emotion: but that injury raiseth in a stranger a stronger emotion, which, being accompanied with desire of revenge, is a passion: external ex
77. Emotions of memory. How they differ from those of original perception. 78. Some emotions accompanied with desire; others not. Examples.
pressions of distress produce in the spectator a painful feeling, which being sometimes so slight as to pass away without any effect, is an emotion; but if the feeling be so strong as to prompt desire of affording relief, it is a passion, and is termed pity: envy is emulation in excess; if the exaltation of a competitor be barely disagreeable, the painful feeling is an emotion; if it produce desire to depress him, it is a passion.
80. To prevent mistakes, it must be observed, that desire here is taken in its proper sense, namely, that internal act, which, by influ encing the will, makes us proceed to action. Desire in a lax sense respects also actions and events that depend not on us, as when I desire that my friend may have a son to represent him, or that my country may flourish in arts and sciences: but such internal act is more properly termed a wish than a desire.
81. Having distinguished passion from emotion, we proceed to consider passion more at large, with respect especially to its power of producing action.
We have daily and constant experience for our authority, that no man ever proceeds to action but by means of some antecedent desire or impulse. So well established is this observation, and so deeply rooted in the mind, that we can scarce imagine a different system of action: even a child will say familiarly, What should make me do this or that, when I have no desire to do it? Taking it then for granted, that the existence of action depends on antecedent desire, it follows that where there is no desire, there can be no action. This opens another shining distinction between emotions and passions. The former, being without desire, are in their nature quiescent: the desire included in the latter, prompts one to act in order to fulfil that desire, or, in other words, to gratify the passion.
82. The cause of a passion is sufficiently explained above: it is that being or thing, which, by raising desire, converts an emotion into a passion. When we consider a passion with respect to its power of prompting action, that same being or thing is termed its object: a fine woman, for example, raises the passion of love, which is directed to her as its object: a man, by injuring me, raises my resentment, and becomes thereby the object of my resentment. Thus the cause of a passion and its object are the same in different respects. Au emotion, on the other hand, being in its nature quiescent, and merely a passive feeling, must have a cause; but cannot be said, properly speaking, to have an object.*
[The cause of a passion is that which raises it; the object is that towards which it prompts us to act, or on which it inclines us to fix our attention. The
79. Distinction between passion and emotion.-How some emotions get the name of passions. Illustrations.
80. Definition of Desire.
81. Passion as producing action.-Another distinction between emotions and passions. 82. Whether the cause of a passion is identical with its object.-Is the same true of the cause of an emotion ?-Beattie's remarks.