Selection from – Ethics – Part V. On the Power of the Intellect; or of Human Freedom (Page 6)

Spinoza's Words: (of the mind's power over the emotions)

It must be observed, that spiritual unhealthiness and misfortunes can generally be traced to excessive love for something which is subject to many variations, and which we can never become masters of. For no one is solicitous or anxious about anything, unless he loves it.

We may readily conceive the power which clear and distinct knowledge, and especially that third kind of knowledge possesses over the emotions: if it does not absolutely destroy them... At any rate, it causes them to occupy a very small part of the mind. Further, its begets a love towards a thing immutable and eternal, whereof we may really enter into possession; neither can it be defiled with those faults which are inherent in ordinary love; but it may grow from strength to strength, and may engross the greater part of the mind, and deeply penetrate it.

And now I have finished with all that concerns this present life: for, as I said, I have briefly described all the remedies against the emotions... It is now, therefore, time to pass on to those matters, which appertain to the duration of the mind, without relation to the body.


This selection contains several ideas.

1. Excessive love toward objects that are forever changing makes managing the emotions very difficult.

2. People only care about things they love.

3. The third kind of knowedge [that which is founded on deep knowledge of (Deus sive Natura)] can destroy or minimize emotions and help fix the concept of (Deus sive Natura) in the mind.