Selection from – On the Improvement of the Understanding (Page 2)

Spinoza's Words: (about riches, fame and sensual pleasure)

I could see the benefits which are
acquired through fame and riches, and that I should be obliged to
abandon the quest of such objects, if I seriously devoted myself
to the search for something different and new...
I therefore debated whether it would not be possible to
arrive at the new principle without changing the conduct and usual
plan of my life; with this end in view I made many efforts in vain.

For the ordinary surroundings of life which are
esteemed by men to be the highest good, may be classed under three heads -
Riches, Fame, and the Pleasures of Sense: with these three the mind is so absorbed
that it has little power to reflect on any different good


Wealth, celebrity and sensual delights, what else could a person ask for? Health perhaps, to enjoy those transitory "goods." The possessor of them would seem to be on the path to happiness but with very little time for anything else. Spinoza implies that there is a "different good."