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agreeable from pleasant, disagreeable from painful; or rather these terms are deemed synonymous. This is an error not at all venial in the science of ethics; as instances can and shall be given, of painful passions that are agreeable, and of pleasant passions that are disagreeable. These terms, it is true, are used indifferently in familiar conversation, and in compositions for amusement; but greater accuracy is required from those who profess to explain the passions.
I shall endeavor to explain these terms by familiar examples. Viewing a fine garden, I perceive it to be beautiful or agreeable; and I consider the beauty or agreeableness as belonging to the object, or as one of its qualities. When I turn my attention from the garden to what passes in my mind, I am conscious of a pleasant emotion, of which the garden is the cause: the pleasure here is felt, as a quality, not of the garden, but of the emotion produced by it. I give an opposite example. A rotten carcass is disagreeable, and raises in the spectator a painful emotion: the disagreeableness is a quality of the object; the pain is a quality of the emotion produced by it. In a word, agreeable and disagreeable are qualities of the objects we perceive ; pleasant and painful are qualities of the emotions we feel : the former qualities are perceived as adhering to objects; the latter are felt as existing within us. 126. But à passion or emotion, besides being felt
, is frequently made an object of thought or reflection: we examine it; we inquire into its nature, its cause, and its effects. In that view, like other objects, it is either agreeable or disagreeable. Hence clearly appear the different significations of the terms under consideration, as applied to passion; when a passion is termed pleasant or painful, we refer to the actual feeling; when termed agreeable or disagreeable, we refer to it as an object of thought or reflection ; a passion is pleasant or painful to the person in whom it exists; it is agreeable or disagreeable to the person who makes it a subject of contemplation.
In the description of emotions and passions, these terms do not always coincide : to make which evident, we must endeavor to ascertain, first, what passions and emotions are pleasant, what painful; and next, what are agreeable, what disagreeable. With respect to both, there are general rules, which, if I can trust to induction, admit not a single exception. The nature of an notion or passion; as pleasant or painful, depends entirely on its cause : the emotion produced by an agreeable object is invariably pleasant; and the emotion produced by a disagreeable object is invariably painful. (See Part vii. of this chapter.) Thus a lofty oak, a generous action, a valuable discovery in art or science, are agreeable objects that invariably produce pleasant einotions. A stinking puddle, a
125 What distinction writers have failed to make.--The meaning of agreeable and disAgreeable, pleasant and painful, illustratuld by the instance of a fine garden aud of a rullen
A social pas.
treacherous action, an irregular, ill-contrived edifice, being disagreeable objects, produce painful emotions. Selfish passions are pleasant, for they arise from self, an agreeable object or cause. sion directed upon an agreeable object is always pleasant; directed upon an object in distress, it is painful. (See Part vii. of this chapter.). Lastly, all dissocial passions, such as envy, resentment, malice, being caused by disagreeable objects, cannot fail to be painful.
127. Å general rule for the agreeableness or disagreeableness of emotions and passions is a more difficult enterprise : it must be attempted, however. We have a sense of a common nature in every species of animals, particularly in our own; and we have a conviction that this common nature is right, or perfect, and that individuals ought to be made conformable to it. To. every faculty, to every passion, and to every bodily member, is assigned a proper office and a due proportion: if one limb be longer than the other, or be disproportioned to the whole, it is wrong and disagreeable: if a passion deviate from the common nature, by being too strong or too weak, it is also wrong and disagreeable: but as far as comformable to common nature, every emotion and every passion is perceived by us to be right, and as it ought to be; and upon that account it must appear agreeable. That this holds true in pleasant emotions and passions, will readily be admitted: but the painful are no less natural than the other; and therefore ought not to be an exception. Thus the painful emotion raised by a monstrous birth or brutal action, is no less agreeable upon reflection, than the pleasant emotion raised by a flowing river or a lofty dome; and the painful passions of grief and pity are agreeable, and applauded by all the world.
128. Another rule more simple and direct for ascertaining the agreeableness or disagreeableness of a passion as opposed to an emotion, is derived from the desire that accompanies it. If the desire be to perform a right action in order to produce a good effect, the passion is agreeable : if the desire be to do a wrong action in order to produce an ill effect, the passion is disagreeable. Thus, passions as well as actions are governed by the moral sense. These rules by the wisdom of Providence coincide : a passion that is conformable to our common nature must tend to good; and a passion that deviates from our common nature must tend to ill.
This deduction may be carried a great way farther; but to avoid intricacy and obscurity, I make but one other step. A passion which, as aforesaid, becomes an object of thought to a spectator, may have the effect to produce a passion or emotion in him; for it is natural that a social being should be affected with the passions
126. Passions and emotions as objects of thought or reflection. When a passion is termed pleasant or painful, and when agreeable or disagreeable.--On what the nature of an emotion as pleasant or painful depends. Illustrations.-Selfish passions. --Social pas. sions. -Dissocial passions.
127. Rule for determining the agreeableness or disagreeableness of emotions and pussionk-Based on the seuse of a common nature which we deein perfoct or right
of others. Passions or emotions thus generated, submit, in common with others, to the general law above mentioned, namely, that an agreeable object produces a pleasant emotion, and a disagreeable object a painful emotion. Thus the passion of gratitude, being to a spectator an agreeable object, produceth in him the pleasant passion of love to the grateful person ; and malice being to a spectator a disagreeable object, produceth in him the painful passion of hatred to the malicious person.
129. We are now prepared for examples of pleasant passions that are disagreeable, and of painful passions that are agreeable. Self-love, as long as confined within just bounds, is a passion both pleasant and agreeable: in excess it is disagreeable, though it continues to be still pleasant. Our appetites are precisely in the same condition. Resentment, on the other hand, is, in every stage of the passion, painful; but it is not disagreeable unless in excess. Pity is always painful, yet always agreeable. Vanity, on the contrary, is always pleasant, yet always disagreeable. But however distinct these qualities are, they coincide, I acknowledge, in one class of passions: all vicious passions tending to the hurt of others, are equally painful and disagreeable.
The foregoing qualities of pleasant and painful, may be sufficient for ordinary subjects; but with respect to the science of criticism, it is necessary that we also be made acquainted with the several modifications of these qualities, with the modifications at least that make the greatest figure. Even at first view one is sensible, that the pleasure or pain of one passion differs from that of another: how distant the pleasure of revenge gratified from that of love !-50 distant, as that we cannot without reluctance admit them to be any way related. That the same quality of pleasure should be so differently modified in different passions, will not be surprising, when we reflect on the boundless variety of agreeable sounds, tastes, and Šmells daily perceived. Our discernment reaches differences still more minute, in objects even of the same sense : we have no difficulty to distinguish different sweets, different sours, and different bitters : honey is sweet, so is sugar, and yet the one never is mistaken for the other; our sense of smelling is sufficiently acute, to listinguish varieties in sweet-smelling flowers without end. With respect to passions and emotions, their differences as to pleasant and painful have no limits; though we want acuteness of feeling for the more delicate modifications. There is here an analogy between our internal and external senses: the latter are sufficiently acute for all the useful purposes of life, and so are the former. Some persons indeed, Nature's favorites, have a wonderful acuteness of sense, which to them unfolds many a delightful scene totally hid from vulgar
Another rule for ascertaining the agreeableness or disagreeableness of a pas. slon.-Rule for passions or emotions, generated by thinking of tho passions or emotions in others.-- Instances of gratitude and malice.
eyes. But if such refined pleasure be confined to a small number, it is however wisely ordered that others are not sensible of the defect; nor detracts it from their happiness that others secretly are more happy. With relation to the fine arts only, that qualification seems essential; and there it is termed delicacy of taste.
Should an author of such a taste attempt to describe all those varieties in pleasant and painful emotions which he himself feels, he would soon ineet an invincible obstacle in the poverty of language : a people must be thoroughly refined, before they invent words for expressing the more delicate feelings; and for that reason, no known tongue hitherto has reached that perfection. We must therefore rest satisfied with an explanation of the more obvious modifications.
130. In forming a comparison between pleasant passions of different kinds, we conceive some of them to be gross, some refined. Those pleasures of external sense that are felt as at the organ of sense, are conceived to be corporeal or gross (see the Introduction): the pleasures of the eye and the ear are felt to be internal, and for that reason are conceived to be more pure and refined.
The social affections are conceived by all to be more refined than the selfish. Sympathy and humanity are universally esteemed the finest temper of mind; and for that reason, the prevalence of the social affections in the progress of society is held to be a refinement in our nature. A savage knows little of social affection, and therefore is not qualified to compare selfish and social pleasure; but a man, after acquiring a high relish for the latter, loses not thereby a taste for the former : he is qualified to judge, and he will give preference to social pleasures as more sweet and refined. In fact they maintain that character, not only in the direct feeling, but also when we make them the subject of reflection : the social passions are far more agreeable than the selfish, and rise much higher in our esteem.
131. There are differences not less remarkable among the painful passions. Some are voluntary, some involuntary: the pain of the gout is an example of the latter; grief of the former, which in some cases is so voluntary as to reject all consolation. One pain softens the temper; pity is an instance : one tends to render us savage and cruel, which is the case of revenge. I value myself upon sympathy: I hate and despise myself for envy.
Social affections have an advantage over the selfish, not only with respect to pleasure, as above explained, but also with respect to pain. The pain of an affront, the pain of want, the pain of disappointment, and a thousand other selfish pains, are cruciating and tormenting,
129. Examples of pleasant passions that are disagreeable, and of painful passions that are agrecable.--Self-love; appetites; resentinent; pity; vanity ;-all vicious passions. — Modifications of the qualities already considered. Why should the quality of pleasure be so differently modified in different passions ?-Minute differences in objects even of the same sense.' Analogy here between our external and internal senses.- What is meant by delicacy of taste?
180. Pleasant passions, as gross or regned-Pleasures of externa sonso.--The social Alestion
and tend to a habit of peevishness and discontent. Social pains have a very different tendency: the pain of sympathy, for example, is not only voluntary, but softens my temper, and raises me in my own esteem.
Refined manners and polite behavior must not be deemed altogether artificial: men who, inured to the sweets of society, cultivate humanity, find an elegant pleasure in preferring others, and making them happy, of which the proud, the selfish, scarce Have a conception.
Ridicule, which chiefly arises from pride, a selfish passion, is at best but a gross pleasure : a people, it is true, must have emerged out of barbarity before they can have a taste for ridicule ; but it is too rough an entertainment for the polished and refined. Cicero discovers in Plautus a happy talent for ridicule, and a peculiar delicacy of wit; but Horace, who made a figure in the court of Augustus, where taste was considerably purified, declares against the lowness and roughness of that author's raillery. Ridicule is banished France, and is losing ground in England.
Other modifications of pleasant passions will be occasionally mentioned hereafter. Particularly the modifications of high and low are to be handled in the chapter of grandeur and sublimity; and the modifications of dignified and mean, in the chapter of dignitv and grace.
INTERRUPTED EXISTENCE OF EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS. THEIR
GROWTH AND DECAY.
132. Were it the nature of an emotion to continue, like color and figure, in its present state till varied by some operating cause, the condition of man would be deplorable : it is ordered wisely, that. emotions should more resemble another attribute of matter, namely, motion, which requires the constant exertion of an operating cause, and ceases when the cause is withdrawn. An emotion may subsist while its cause is present; and when its cause is removed, may subsist by means of an idea, though in a fainter manner; but the moment another thought breaks in and engrosses the mind, the emotion is gone, and is no longer felt: if it return with its cause, or an idea of its cause, it again vanisheth with them when other
181. Painful passions, as voluntary or involuntary.-Advantage of social affections over to selfish.--Rooned manners.-Ridicule.