Selection from – Ethics – Part III. On the Nature and Origin of the Emotions (Page 6)

Spinoza's Words: (when the body dies so does the mind)

Note: The present existence of the mind and its power of imagining are removed, as soon as the mind ceases to affirm the present existence of the body.

Proposition. XII. The mind, as far as it can, endeavours to conceive those things, which increase or help the power of activity in the body.

Corollary.—Hence it follows that the mind shrinks from conceiving those things, which diminish or constrain the power of itself and of the body.

Note.—From what has been said we may clearly understand the nature of Love and Hate. Love is nothing else but pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause: Hate is nothing else but pain accompanied by the idea of an external cause. We further see, that he who loves necessarily endeavours to have, and to keep present to him, the object of his love; while he who hates endeavours to remove and destroy the object of his hatred. But I will treat of these matters at more length hereafter.


Spinoza depicts the intimate entaglement of mind and body. From the note - when the body no longer exists the mind ceases to function. Consciousness cannot exist without a mind, a mind cannot exist without a body. The implication is that there is no afterlife.

Spinoza often uses the phrase "power of ---" meaning the ability to act in the world. It is another way of expressing that basic desire – to continue to exist.

Desire, pleasure, pain – these three are the basic emotions. Pleasure is not to be misunderstood as something sensual, rather it is that which we want to move towards; something that will increase our power of acting in the world. Pain is the reverse; to be avoided because it diminishes our power of acting.