Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

partaking of his pain; nor in joy, without partaking of his pleasure.

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 in words or colours, 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.

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,

(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 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.

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? I have been apt to think that there must be such a distinction; but, after the strictest examination, I cannot perceive any á what is love, for example, but a pleasant emotion raised by a sight or idea of the beloved female, joined with the desire of enjoyment? in what else consists the passion of re. sentment, but in a painful emotion occasioned by the injury, accompanied with desire to chastise the guilty person? In general, as to passion of

every kind, we find no more in its composition, but the particulars now mentioned, an emotion pleasant or painful, accompanied with desire. What then shall we say? Are passion and emotion synonymous terms? That cannot be averred; because no feeling nor agitation of the mind void of desire, is termed a passion; and we have discovered, that there are many emotions which pass away without raising desire of any kind.) How is the difficulty to be solved? There appears to me but one solution, which I relish the more, as it renders the doctrine of the passions and emotions simple and perspi. cuous. The solution follows. (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 denominat. ed 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, hy reiterated views of the object, become sufficiently strong to occasion desire, it loses its name 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 acconpanied with no desire of revenge, is termed an emotion ; but that injury raiseth in the stranger a stronger emotion, which being accompanied with desire of revenge, is a passion : external expressions 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 com. petitor be barely disagreeable, the painful feeling is an emotion; if it produce desire to depress him, it is a passion.

To prevent mistakes, it must be observed, that desire here is taken in its proper sense, namely, that internal act, whicb, by influencing 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. Having distinguished passion from emotion, we VOL. ).

G

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 an 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.

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 term. ed 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 resent- . ment. Thus the cause of a passion, and its object, are the same in different respects. An 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 objects of our passions may be distinguished into two kinds, general and particular. A man, a house, a garden, is a particular object: fame, esteem, opulence, honour, are general objects, be

1

cause each of them comprehends many particulars. The passions directed to general objects are commonly termed appetites, in contradistinction to pas. sions directed to particular objects, which retain their proper name : thus we say an appetite for fame, for glory, for conquest, for riches; but we say the passion of friendship, of love, of gratitude, of envy, of resentment.

of resentment. And there is a material difference between appetites and passions, which makes it proper to distinguish them by different names : the latter have no existence till a proper ob- . jected be presented; whereas the former exist first, and then are directed to an object: a passion comes after its object;)an appetite goes before it, which is obvious in the appetites of hunger, thirst, and animal love, and is the same in the other appetites above mentioned.

By an object so powerful as to make a deep impression, the mind is inflamed, and hurried to action with a strong impulse. Where the object is less powerful, so as not to inflame the mind, nothing is felt but desire without any sensible perturbation. The principle of duty affords one instance : the de. sire generated by an object of duty, being commonly moderate, moves us to act calmly, without any violent impulse; but if the mind happen to be inflamed with the importance of the object, in that case desire of doing our duty becomes a' warm pas. sion.

The actions of brute creatores are generally directed by instinct, meaning blind impulse or desire, without any view to consequences. Man is framed to be governed by reason :)he commonly acts with deliberation, in order to bring about some desirable end; and in that case his actions are means employed to bring about the end desired : thus I give charity in order to relieve a person from want: I

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »