Selection from – Ethics – Part V. On the Power of the Intellect; or of Human Freedom (Page 13)

Spinoza's Words: (of blessedness)

Proposition XLII. Blessedness is not the reward of virtue, but virtue itself; neither do we rejoice therein, because we control our lusts, but, contrariwise, because we rejoice therein, we are able to control our lusts.

Blessedness consists in love towards (Deus sive Natura), which love springs from the third kind of knowledge; therefore this love must be referred to the mind, in so far as the latter is active; therefore it is virtue itself. This was our first point.

Again, in proportion as the mind rejoices more in this divine love or blessedness, so does it the more understand [and have] much more power over the emotions, and so much the less is it subject to those emotions which are evil. And, since human power in controlling the emotions consists solely in the understanding, it follows that no one rejoices in blessedness, because he has controlled his lusts, but, contrariwise, his power of controlling his lusts arises from this blessedness itself.


Remember that virture is, for Spinoza, identical with the power of acting in the world and blessedness is is the satisfaction the mind gets from an adequate knowledge of (Deus sive Natura), therefore there is a feeling of happiness in the knowledge that one has the ability, or one has increased the abiity, to extend our self-existence. Knowing more about the world and one's self is blessedness itself.

The way to freedom is through controlling human emotions. Mankind is in bondage to the emotions. They breed mental anxiety. They make us strive for wants yet yearn for freedom from the bonage they bring. Reason can free us.

Perfecting the intellect is nothing but understanding (Deus sive Natura) or the universe in which we live.
Pleasure, Spinoza says, consists in the transition to a greater perfection, increasing knowledge is increasing perfection surely this is blessedness and a release from mental anxiety and freedom