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Amihud Gilead

Human Affects as Properties of Cognitions
in Spinoza▓s Philosophical Psychotherapy

Desire and Affect: Spinoza as Psychologist (ed. by Y. Yovel).
New York: Little Room Press, 1999

What is the precise connection between cognitions and affects, through which Spinozistic psychotherapy (or the emendatio and salus of human soul) may be effective? It seems that since Spinoza leaves it quite obscure and even at a rough, tacit stage, this connection should be analyzed most carefully and meticulously. Some interpreters seem to misconceive it entirely. 1

One of the most fruitful distinctions in Spinoza▓s philosophy, I believe, is that between the essence (or essential properties) of a particular thing and its properties. 2 I shall employ this distinction in order to explicate the relationship between cognitions and emotions according to Spinoza.

As early as the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, Spinoza warns the reader that:

To be called perfect, a definition will have to explain the inmost essence of the thing, and to take care not to use certain propria in its place... [T]he properties of things are not understood so long as their essences are not known. If we neglect them, we shall necessarily overturn the connection of the intellect, which ought to reproduce the connection of Nature, and we shall completely miss our goal. (TIE 95)

The order in which essence precedes properties is the order of both nature (the coherent system of reality) and the adequate knowledge of it (the entire true system of knowledge). This order should not be missed. Moreover, Spinoza demands that, as a requirement for the definition of ⌠an uncreated thing■ (i.e., an infinite being), its properties should be inferred from its definition (TIE 97). And later, in the Ethics, Spinoza states that ⌠the intellect infers from the given definition of any thing a number of properties that really do follow necessarily from it (i.e., from the very essence of the thing)■ (EIp16d). One should not misunderstand Spinoza on this point: properties are not modes and God does not pertain to the essence of particular things (EIIp10cs). God▓s propria are his properties and not his modes. As one should judge from EIp16d and Spinoza▓s answers in Letters 60 and 83 to [169] Tschirnhaus▓ questions in Letters 59 and 82, Spinoza argues that all of God▓s properties may be deduced from his definition. Nevertheless, he explicitly does not say, in contrast with what Tschirnhaus practically demands him to do, that God▓s finite modes might be a priori deduced from this definition alone. The relation between an attribute and its modes is not one of essence and its properties, just as the attributes are not the substance▓s properties or qualities, but rather its essence as it is conceived by an intellect, whether finite or infinite. 3 At this point, it is quite important to emphasize that the infinite causal chain, i.e., the attribute, consists of modes that are essences, Spinoza suggests this by explaining that ⌠God is absolutely and really the cause of everything that has essence■ (Letter 23). 4 On the other hand, it is rather disconcerting to discover that from time to time Spinoza employs effectus and proprietas interchangeably (e.g., at EIIIdef.aff.22exp; TIP, GIV 60:8‑9).

Considering all these points, as regards the junction between the essence‑properties relationship and causality, a distinction should be made between causality proper (⌠causality of the first order■) and secondary, metaphorical causality (⌠causality of the second order■). Causality proper refers to essences of particular things, to the extent that these essences are links in the immanent causal chain (i.e., finite modes of some attribute). Secondary causality refers to the ⌠causality■ between an essence and its properties, or between the latter and those of another essence. Secondary causality is impossible without the causality of essences, causality of the first order; the former is performed by the indispensable mediation of the latter. Only causality of the first order is a principle of individuation,  5 whereas causality of the second order is a matter of ⌠determining, ■ ⌠conditioning, ■ ⌠ensuing, ■ ⌠preceding, ■ etc. Be that as it may, properties follow from an essence and the essence conditions, precedes, and determines the property.

A particular thing▓s essence is a concrete individual. In contrast to Aristotle, Spinoza assumes that this essence is not a general, universal concept common to all particular things of the same genus or species. Unlike the Aristotelian eidos, the Spinozistic essence is the factor of individuation of a particular thing, whereas properties, being general or universal, are common to many particular things. Hence Spinoza demands that ⌠[w]hat is common to all things : and is equally in the part and in the whole, does not constitute the essence of any singular thing■ (EIIp37). As one should judge from the second part of the TIE, EIIp40s2, and EVp36cs, one can know particular things only by becoming acquainted with their essences. Moreover, as long as a particular thing exists, its essence is not changed, since such a change would [170] entail the destruction of this particular thing (EIVpref). Properties, on the other hand, are mutable and their mutability does not entail the destruction of the particular thing whose properties they are. Its essence in itself is not changed and any change in it is in the decrease or increase of its power of acting or ⌠perfection■ (Ibid.). The change under discussion is modal or quantitative rather than essential or qualitative.

Affects or emotions are properties of some essence. Spinoza▓s definition of essence is the following:

I say that to the essence of any thing belongs that which, being given, the thing is necessarily posited and which, being taken away, the thing is necessarily taken away; or that without which the thing can neither be nor be conceived, and which can neither be nor be conceived without the thing. (EIIdef2)

This definition sheds an interesting light on the following axiom concerning affects:

There are no modes of thinking, such as love, desire, or whatever is designated by the word affects of the mind, unless there is in the same Individual the idea of the thing loved, desired, etc. But there can be an idea, even though there is no other mode of thinking. (EIIax3)

Now, explicitly relying on this axiom and implicitly on the above definition, Spinoza makes clear that:

The essence of man ... is constituted by certain modes of God▓s attributes, viz. ... by modes of thinking, of all of which (by ax3) the idea is prior in nature, and when it is given, the other modes (to which the idea is prior in nature) must be in the same individual (by ax3). (EIIp11d)

What is the human essence as it is considered in the attribute of thought? Spinoza has a dear answer to this question: ⌠the Mind▓s essence, i.e., power (by EIIIp7), consists only in thought (by EIIp11)■ (EVp9d); or, more clearly, ⌠the essence of the Mind consists in knowledge (by EIIp11)■ (EIVp37d; see also EVp38d). And EIIp11 reads: ⌠The first thing that constitutes the actual being of a human Mind is nothing but the idea of a singular thing which actually exists, ■ that is, ⌠the Body, or a certain mode of Extension which actually exists■ (EIIp13). Speaking precisely, affects are not distinct, individual modes. In the attribute of thought such modes are strictly ideas (cognitions) of particular things, namely bodies. An idea is the essence, as considered (⌠expressed, ■ ⌠explained, ■ or ⌠comprehended■) in this attribute, of some particular mind, the essence without which this mind would not have existed. Any .affects concerning this mind are just properties of an idea, i.e., an essence or a thinking mode in the strict sense. These affects have [171] some causes, on the understanding of which they depend (TP 1:4; see also EIIIpref). All affects follow from three basic, primary affects: desire, joy, and sadness (EIIIp11s). These are the basic mutations of the human mind, through which it undergoes changes from greater ⌠perfection■ to lesser and vice versa. All affects are nothing but modifications, states or changes, of some ▒perfection▓, i.e., of some essence (⌠we understand by perfection the very essence of the thing■ [EIIIgen.def.aff., GII 204:20]).

The particular thing, whose essence is expressed or considered as an idea in the attribute of thought, is the body under the attribute of extension. The mind▓s essence is the individuating factor that differentiates human beings, and because of this difference their affects differ (according to EIIIp57d, s). And the mind▓s essence, which is nothing but the idea of the body, necessarily reflects this singular body. By means of my cognition of my body, I know all nature, one of the parts or modes of which is my body. Each of nature▓s modes reflects nature as a whole, is affected by it and affects it, and this mutual influence makes our cognition possible, on each of its levels. This is a crucial aspect of Spinoza▓s cognitivism. I use the word ▒cognitivism▓ rather than ▒rationalism▓ because the cognition of my body may be inadequate, i.e., through imaginatio, or adequate and rational, i.e., through ratio or scientia intuitiva. Again, it is the cognitive essence that is the individuating factor of our mind: ⌠[I]n God there is necessarily an idea that expresses the essence of this or that human Body, under a species of eternity■ (EVp22). Only in the highest grade of human cognition, i.e., scientia intuitiva, is this essence adequately conceived and known. Only at this stage is the uniqueness of each of our bodies adequately perceived. It must be emphasized that the Spinozistic essence is not an unqualified substratum whose qualities are its properties, but rather a cognitive activeness, and that the Spinozistic idea is an activeness (EIIdef3, exp; EIIp43s) involving a concrete, particular thing.

It is clear that the basic affects, and consequently all the affects depend on and follow from cognition:

Joy and Sadness √ and consequently the affects composed of them or derived from them √ are passions. ... But we are necessarily acted on ... insofar as we have inadequate ideas, and only insofar as we have them ... are we acted on, i.e., ... necessarily we are acted on only insofar as we imagine, or ... insofar as we are affected with an affect that involves both the nature of our Body and the nature of an external body. (EIIIp56d)

At this point Spinoza▓s cognitivism, as far as his theory of emotion is concerned, is well characterized. It is only because we have some inadequate ideas, which are on the lowest level of cognition, [173] i.e., imaginatio (⌠insofar as we imagine■), that we are affected by passions, passive affects. Desire, joy, and sadness indicate changes and states of the power of our understanding (or the degree of our passiveness, whether it is increased or diminished) (EIIIp58, d; EIIIp59, d). All our active affects follow, derive or arise from adequate ideas, whereas all our passive ones follow or derive from inadequate, false ideas (EVp4s). 6 Correcting, emending, and rendering our cognition adequate consequently necessarily changes our affects too and renders them active. It seems that simply by means of a cognitive switch we may change our emotional state as well. But this requires a special explanation, particularly due to Spinoza▓s view, as I will explain further.

Bearing in mind the problem of akratic action and the relative impotence of rational knowledge alone in moderating the affects and overcoming the passions, 7 Spinoza overtly states that ⌠[a]n affect cannot be restrained or taken away except by an affect opposite to, and stronger than, the affect to be restrained■ (EIVp7), and that ⌠[n]o affect can be restrained by the true knowledge of good and evil insofar as it is true, but only insofar as it is considered as an affect■ (EIVp14; the demonstration adds: ⌠insofar as it is an affect... it can restrain the affect, if it is stronger than it [by p7].■). An affect is a perception (or awareness) reflecting a modification in the body, a perception that may be restrained or canceled. Cognition in itself cannot do so, unless it is specific enough (which is not the case with ratio) 8 and bears a stronger emotional charge. It is this general idea upon which Spinoza▓s view of political power and the effectiveness of the positive laws is based. 9 Considering the end of EIVp17s and the titles of Ethics IV (⌠On Human Bondage, or the Powers of the Affects■) and Ethics V (⌠On the Power of the Intellect, or on Human Freedom■), one may judge that generally universal knowledge of the second kind (ratio) is not sufficient to overcome the passions, i.e., the affects of the first kind of knowledge, imaginatio. Only concretely universal knowledge, i.e., scientia intuitiva, 10 by means of its affective charge (emotional property), that is, the intellectual love of God, can turn the passions into active emotions, and, consequently, can save or liberate the individual human soul from suffering, emotional disturbance or vacillation, and bondage. The power of the mind is nothing but thinking and producing adequate ideas; and this is what the power of the mind over the affects is all about (EVp20s). This power consists in relating the affects to things we understand and their common properties conceived by our ratio, ordering and connecting them to one another. The cornerstone of all these is that ⌠the power of the Mind is defined by knowledge alone, whereas lack of power, or passion, is judged solely by the privation of knowledge, i.e., by that through which ideas are called [173] inadequate■ (EVp20s, GII 293:25‑7). Nevertheless, Spinoza does not relinquish his assumption that only a stronger affect can restrain or cancel another affect (EIVp7,d; EIVp14d). It is rather through the emotive charge, the property of scientia intuitiva through the intellectual love of God, that we turn our passive affects √ passions √ into active emotions and into this love above all. Our cognitive activity at its highest produces the most vivid and strongest emotion, which is the summit of our vital individuality, and which may be able to render our affects active and set us free from our bondage. And since any emotional situation is conditioned by cognitive activeness that is amendable and can be rendered clear and distinct, i.e., adequate, 11 it is possible for us to correct our emotional ⌠pathology■ as follows:

[W]e understand clearly and distinctly whatever follows from an idea which is adequate in us ... hence, each of us has √ in part, at least, if not absolutely √ the power to understand himself and his affects, and consequently, the power to bring it about that he is less acted on by them. We must, therefore, take special care to know each affect clearly and distinctly (as far as this is possible), so that in this way the Mind may be determined from an affect to thinking those things which it perceives clearly and distinctly, and with which it is fully satisfied, and so that the affect itself may be separated from the thought of an external cause and joined to true thoughts.

[A]ll the appetites, or Desires, are passions only insofar as they arise from inadequate ideas, and are counted as virtues when they are aroused or generated by adequate ideas. For all the Desires by which we are determined to do something can arise as much from adequate ideas as from inadequate ones (by IVp59). And ... we can devise no other remedy for the affects which depends on our power and is more excellent than this, which consists in a true knowledge of them. For the Mind has no other power than that of thinking and forming adequate ideas. (EVp4s, GII 283:6‑284:3)

Spinoza thinks that at the bottom of any affect there is an ▒ideological▓ root that can be formed and corrected by cognitive means. There is nothing good or bad in things as they are in themselves. Nothing is wrong with our passions except the suffering they cause us. Since everything that happens to us is necessary and occurs according to the eternal laws of nature, we can understand these laws and understand the origin, causes, and reasons of our affects in their widest context, i.e., nature as a systematic, coherent whole, that is, in God. Consequently, we can understand our affects and derive or infer them from adequate, i.e., clear and distinct, ideas. By achieving this, we are active and accept our emotions, motives, and actions. Such a transformation is the result of [174] Spinoza▓s philosophical psychotherapy. Understanding or ▒correcting▓ our emotions is the most personal aspect of our mental activity. By understanding them we become the masters of our emotions and can use them as materials, data, and motives for expressing our unique personality or power, which has an indispensable place in the infinite causal chain of nature as a whole. Our understanding is the outcome of integrating our affects in the widest context of all ideas under the order of the intellect. In this context all ideas are adequate and true. ⌠All ideas, insofar as they are related to God, are true■ (EIIp32). And the order of the intellect is an outcome of correcting the false order, ⌠the common order of nature,■ because of which the mind ⌠is determined externally, from fortuitous encounters with things■ (EIIp29cs). Under the order of the intellect, on the other hand, our mind ⌠is determined internally■ and ⌠regards a number of things at once, to understand their agreements, differences, and oppositions,■ and being ⌠disposed internally ... it regards things clearly and distinctly■ (EIIp29cs). In this manner we become free and we ▒spontaneously▓ and adequately express our most personal mental activeness, which is integrated into the coherent whole of nature. Integrating or joining (iungere) all our ideas seems to cause us the greatest consolation and redemption. This integration entails that we understand our emotions as properties of our adequate ideas, which are finite modes of all nature. Hence we infer all other adequate ideas from our former adequate ideas and conceive all nature from our own intellectual point of view, which we accept completely and willingly and with utmost satisfaction. No conflict (or animi fluctuatio [vacillation of the mind]) among our emotions, or between them and our intellect and will, is possible any longer and none of our actions may still be considered akratic. From now on we are entitled to stand behind our personal integrity and the entire integration of nature. On this supreme level of our mental life we own our power entirely and fully and become free masters, fully ⌠responsible■ for our actions.

But something much more than this is hidden in EVp20s:

[S]ickness of the mind and misfortunes take their origin especially from too much Love toward a thing which is liable to many variations and which we can never fully possess. For no one is disturbed or anxious concerning anything unless he loves it, nor do wrongs, suspicions, and enmities arise except from Love for a thing which no one can really fully possess.

From what we have said, we easily conceive what clear and distinct knowledge √ and especially that third kind of knowledge .. . whose foundation is the knowledge of God itself √ can accomplish against the affects. Insofar as the affects are [175] passions, if clear and distinct knowledge does not absolutely remove them ... at least it brings about that they constitute the smallest part of the Mind... And then it begets a Love toward a thing immutable and eternal ... which we really fully possess ... and which therefore cannot be tainted by any of the vices which are in ordinary Love, but can always be greater and greater ... and occupy the greatest part of the Mind ... and affect it extensively. (GII 294:1‑16)

All that, together with our former quotations and arguments, requires more explication. In this paper I must rather dogmatically suggest that the relationship between the supreme level of knowledge, i.e., scientia intuitiva, and the other levels is that between essence and properties. In other words, scientia intuitiva is the essence whose properties or parts are ratio and imaginatio. Ratio is the adequate, general feature of that essence, expressing its common properties; whereas imaginatio is the mutilated, fragmented false, and inadequate expression of this general aspect. The complete correction (emendatio) of our inadequate knowledge is, therefore, converting imaginatio into scientia intuitiva by means of the correcting rules of our ratio. 12 The same holds, respectively, for the relationship between the intellectual love of God and our active emotions, on the one hand, and our passions, on the other. 13 In other words, relying on EVp20s as quoted above, our passions such as hatred, anxiety, suspicion, etc., are just mutilations of our intellectual love of God. Being distorted, they inadequately reflect something quite different. It is this love, which does not find its adequate expression, that is transformed into these tormenting passions. Now, scientia intuitiva instructs us how to see and conceive ourselves as eternal, necessary, and real, although finite, modes of God. The intellectual love of God concerns not only God as a whole, but also, and particularly, his finite modes concretely and most adequately conceived {which is not the case in ▒ordinary love▓). Since intellect and will are one and the same (according to EIIp49c), 14 our supreme level of knowledge reflects also our will, desire, and acceptance.

What does this mean? It means that we conceive our adequate, indispensable place in nature as a systematic, coherent whole, i.e., in God (in other words, it is adequate knowledge of how exactly and concretely our mind depends on God for both its essence and its existence [EVp36s]). It is concrete knowledge concerning the uniqueness and indispensability of each of us in nature as a whole, and this knowledge actually concerns the eternity, necessity, and reality of our existence conceived under a species of eternity (following EVp29s, p37d,s). Our essence, namely our real, eternal, and immutable individuality, is concerned with this cognitive level. This is a kind of knowledge that bears a very special emotional charge for us. Gaining acquaintance with our [176] uniqueness and fully accepting (or affirming) it means for us personally that if we have chosen our place in nature as a whole or if we have chosen our particular personality, we would not have exchanged it for anything in the whole of nature. We would not have exchanged our body for any other body in all of nature, since ⌠the first and principal [tendency] of the striving of our Mind ... is to affirm the existence of our Body■ (EIIIp10d). It is our supreme happiness in being what we actually are, and such acceptance is the outcome of our intellectual achievement in understanding our unique, indispensable place in nature as a whole. This understanding, at the level of scientia intuitiva, accompanied by acceptance, joy, and love, causes an entire revolution in our emotional state: from passive, enslaved persons we become actively free masters who happily accept our fortune and liberty. We will accept whatever may happen to us as desirable and use it as a means of expressing our unique personality. Our lives become creative and most vivid. The closing ⌠Yes■ of Joyce▓s Ulysses is a literary instance of such acceptance and joy.

Love, intellectual love, is the appropriate name for our supreme intellectual and emotional stage. Just as the narrator▓s grandmother in Remembrance of Things Past knows with certainty that simply because of her indubitable love for her grandson she can never mistake his knock on the wall for someone else▓s, so does a Spinozist similarly know beyond any doubt that the ability to adequately and completely recognize the uniqueness of some person requires intellectual love of God for this particular person. It is only by love, which is based on real knowledge and awareness, that we become acquainted with the indispensable personal individuality of someone. This intellectual love entails acceptance and contentment, which is the supreme satisfaction of our soul.

Spinoza▓s philosophical psychotherapy draws its effective ability from this satisfaction. As he himself insists (EVpref), his view is not Stoic. Even the wise person, being finite, suffers, although to a minimal extent, from passions, fears death, and is subject to many emotional obstacles. Yet, she is not enslaved by all these. She is free, and all these passions occupy only a minimal part of her soul without dictating her attitudes and actions. She is well aware of her passions and masters them by means of her intellectual love of God, which is the strongest emotion, since ⌠[t]here is nothing in nature which is contrary to this intellectual Love, or which can take it away■ (EVp37). It ⌠must engage the Mind most■ (EVIp16), since it ⌠is joined to all the affections of the Body ... which all encourage it■ (EVIp16d). This love, as the property of scientia intuitiva, affects our passions directly. Consequently, scientia intuitiva directly and causally affects our inadequate ideas, and indirectly this consequence leads to great emotional changes. The emotional [177] charge of our cognition is changed whenever our cognition itself is changed. Spinoza▓s philosophical psychotherapy √ his theory of the salvation (salus, which also means well‑being and health) of the soul √ is cognitivistic. Nevertheless, it does not ignore, but rather emphasizes, the emotional charge of our cognitions. Moreover, in contrast with the Stoic view, it does not expel the human emotional side, 15 but rather converts it from passiveness to activeness. The supreme joy in being what we really and necessarily are is the final aim of Spinoza▓s philosophical psychotherapy. [178]


1 First and foremost David Bidney, The Psychology and Ethics of Spinoza: A Study in the History and Logic of Ideas (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1940). Joachim too seems not to clarify it sufficiently. See H.H. Joachim, A Study of the Ethics of Spinoza (New York: Russell and Russell, 1964), pp. 236‑7. More recently, Bennett, although mentioning the important function of cognition and belief in Spinoza▓s theory of emotions, does not clarify the most important points in it and seems to miss them. See Jonathan Bennett, A Study of Spinoza▓s Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), pp. 269‑76, 278, 286‑7, 333‑4, 337, 343‑7; hereafter this work will be cited as B followed by page numbers. More adequate views, I believe, are those of Stuart Hampshire and Jerome Neu. See S. Hampshire, Spinoza (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967), pp. 121‑44; ⌠Spinoza▓s Theory of Human Freedom,■ The Monist 55 (1971), pp. 554‑66; Two Theories of Morality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), pp. 55‑95; Jerome Neu, Emotion, Thought and Therapy: A Study of Hume and Spinoza and the Relationship of Philosophical Theories of the Emotions to Psychological Theories of Therapy (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977), pp. 1‑3, 71‑103, 146‑52. Nevertheless, none of these interpretations explains sufficiently and precisely the relationship between cognition and emotion in Spinoza▓s philosophy as it really stands.
2 In spite of Quine▓s and others▓ negative attitude to and criticism of this distinction, it may be useful in some philosophical contexts. I feel more sympathy for Kripke▓s view on this matter. See Saul A. Kripke, Naming and Necessity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972). See also P. Teller, ⌠Essential Properties: Some Problems and Conjectures,■ The Journal of Philosophy 72 (1975), pp. 223‑48.
3 See also KVI 7:6: ⌠We do not see that they give us here any Attribute through which it is known what the thing (God) is, but only Propria, which indeed belong to a thing, but never explain what it is ... through those propria we can know neither what the being to which these propria belong is, nor what attributes it has.■ Consequently, I do not accept Bennett▓s view, according to which finite modes are attribute▓s properties (B 92‑5). Curley seems to be correct on this point. See Edwin Curley, Spinoza▓s Metaphysics: An Essay in Interpretation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969), pp. 18, 37.
4 See also, GIV 147:22‑25.
5 See my ⌠Spinoza▓s Principium Individuationis and Personal Identity,■ International Studies in Philosophy 15 (1983), pp. 42‑57.
6 See also, EIVp16d, EIVp51, EIVp52d, EIVp53,d, EIVp57s, EIVp58, EVp28, EVp32c; KVII 2:4;3; 4:9; 16:2; 19:18; 26:2.
7 ⌠[T]he man who is subject to affects is under the control, not of him self, but of fortune, in whose power he so greatly is that often, though he sees the better for himself, he is still forced to follow the [179] worse■ (EVpref, GII 205:9‑12); ⌠[W]e do many things we afterwards repent, and that often we see the better and follow the worse (viz., when we are torn by contrary affects)■ (EIIIp2s, GII 143:21‑3); ⌠I have shown the cause why men are moved more by opinion than by true reason, and why the true knowledge of good and evil arouses disturbances of the mind, and often yields to lust of every kind. Hence that verse of the Poet: ▒video meliora, proboque, deteriora sequor▓ [Ovid, Metamorphoses VII, 20‑1], I do not say these things in order to infer that it is better to be ignorant than to know, or that there is no difference between the fool and the man who understands when it comes to moderating the affects. My reason, rather, is that it is necessary to come to know both our nature▓s power and its lack of power, so that we can determine what reason can do in moderating the affects, and what it cannot do. I said that in this Part I would treat only of man▓s lack of power. For I have decided to treat Reason▓s power over the affects separately■ (EIVp17s).
8 No doubt, the active emotions, which are general and common, i.e., the affects of ratio, are indispensable for the existence of a stable society, as Ethics IV clearly suggests. Nevertheless, this kind of affect, being general, is not sufficient for entirely overcoming the passions of a particular person, especially to the extent that personal happiness or well‑being is concerned.
9 See EIVp37s2. ⌠How it can happen that men who are necessarily subject to affects (by p4c), inconstant and changeable (by p33) should be able to make one another confident and have trust in one another, is clear from p7 and IIIp39. No affect can be restrained except by an affect stronger than and contrary to the affect to be restrained, and everyone refrains from doing harm out of timidity regarding a greater harm. ... In this way Society has the power to prescribe a common rule of life, to make laws, and to maintain them √ not by reason, which cannot restrain the affects (by p17s), but by threats. This Society, maintained by laws and the power it has of preserving itself, is called a State, and those who are defended by its law, Citizens■ (GII 238:2‑17).
10 ⌠[T]he knowledge of singular things I have called intuitive, or knowledge of the third kind (see IIp40s2)... [is] much more powerful... than the universal knowledge I have called knowledge of the second kind... [The generally universal] demonstration, though legitimate and put beyond all chance of doubt, still does not affect our Mind as much as when this is inferred from the very essence of any singular thing which we say depends on God■ (EVp36cs, GII 303:17‑25).
11 Spinoza argues that ⌠[a]n affect which is a passion ceases to be a passion as soon as we form a clear and distinct idea of it■ (EVp3) and, furthermore, that ⌠[t]here is no affection of the Body of which we cannot form a clear and distinct concept■ (EVp4, see also d,s). [180]
12 See my ⌠The Indispensability of the First Kind of Knowledge,■ in Spinoza on Knowledge and the Human Mind, ed. Y. Yovel (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), pp. 209‑21.
13 See Section 7.3 in my The Way of Spinoza▓s Philosophy toward a Philosophical System (in Hebrew) (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1986), pp. 368‑79.
14 The Scholium of which, not by accident, states that ⌠[t]his doctrine... in addition to giving us complete peace of mind, also teaches us wherein our greatest happiness, or blessedness, consists: viz. in the knowledge of God alone, by which we are led to do only those things which love and morality advise■ (GII 135:37‑136:2).
15 For the contrary view see H.H. Joachim, A Study of the Ethics of Spinoza (New York: Russell and Russell, 1964), p. 305. Joachim assumes quite wrongly that ⌠[i]n the realization of ourselves as intelligences, our emotional nature has been absorbed. So far as we ▒understand▓, we are real, we are no longer in transition, and there fore no longer emotional beings■ (Ibid.). Rather, the contrary: so far as we adequately and concretely understand, we enjoy the most intensive, vivid, and active emotion, i.e., the intellectual love of God.
    Spinoza clearly states that some affects are active and those cannot be considered passions (according to EIIIp58 and 59, EVp4s). Yet Jonathan Bennett seems to ignore this (B 257‑8, 327, and 329). He does not interpret Spinoza▓s psychotherapy appropriately and misses the crucial points in it (see, e.g., B 332‑3, and his criticism of Hampshire, B 347‑52). He also misinterprets the relationship between emotion and thought in it (e.g., B 343). [181]