Selection from –Ethics – Part II. On the Nature and Origin of the Mind (Page 3)

Spinoza's Words:(the essence of man does not exist forever)


I. The essence of man does not involve necessary existence,

III. Modes of thinking, such as love, desire, or any other of the passions, do not take place, unless there be in the same individual an idea of the thing loved, desired, &c. But the idea can exist without the presence of any other mode of thinking.


These statements taken as self-evident truths (axioms) serve as a base for much of what is to follow. Spinoza understands it as an obvious fact that the soul of a human being (if one exists) is not eternal.

Modes, in Spinoza's way of speaking, are the different ways of existing of things in the world. An idea is a mode as well as a chair. Any noun is a mode. In Axiom III he is saying that a passion of the mind must have an existing object.