Superphysics Superphysics
Section 5


by David Hume Icon
8 minutes  • 1610 words

These principles are established on unquestionable experience. • I shall go over all the causes of pride and humility to determine whether these causes are to be regarded as: ◦ the qualities that operate, or ◦ the subjects, on which the qualities are placed. • I immediately find many of them to concur in producing pain and pleasure, independent of those affections I try to explain. • Our beauty, by itself and its very appearance, gives pleasure and pride. ◦ Our deformity gives us pain and humility. • A magnificent feast delights us. ◦ A sordid one displeases us. • What I discover as true in some instances, I suppose to be true in all. ◦ I take it for granted that every cause of: ▪ pride produces a separate pleasure ▪ humility produces a separate uneasiness. • I make a new probable supposition that these subjects are: ◦ parts of ourselves, or ◦ something nearly related to us. • Thus, the good and bad qualities of our actions and manners constitute virtue and vice. ◦ These determine our personal character, than which nothing operates more strongly on these passions. • In like manner, it is the beauty or deformity of our person, houses, equipage, or furniture which renders us vain or humble. ◦ When the same qualities are transferred to subjects, which bear us no relation, does not influence these affections. • The causes of pride and humility have two properties : ◦ the qualities produce a separate pain or pleasure ◦ the subjects, on which the qualities are placed, are related to self • I next examine the passions themselves to find something in them, correspondent to the properties of their causes. • First, I find that: ◦ the peculiar object of pride and humility is determined by an original and natural instinct ◦ it is absolutely impossible, from the mind’s primary constitution, that these passions should ever look beyond self. ▪ The view always rests on the self, when we are actuated by pride or humility. ▪ We can never lose sight of ourself. • I do not to give any reason for this. • Instead, I consider such a peculiar direction of the thought as an original quality. • The second quality is an original quality. ◦ This quality is the sensations or peculiar emotions which: ▪ they excite in the soul ▪ constitute their very being and essence. • Thus, pride is a pleasant sensation and humility a painful one. ◦ Upon the removal of the pleasure and pain, there is in reality no pride nor humility. • Our very feeling convinces us of this. ◦ We cannot reason about this beyond our feeling, • The two properties of pride and humility are: ◦ their object is the self ◦ their sensation is pleasant or painful. • If we compare these to the two properties of the causes, I find that this system breaks in on me with an irresistible evidence. • That cause, which excites pride or humility, is related to the object which nature has attributed to pride or humility. ◦ The sensation, which the cause separately produces, is related to the sensation of pride or humility. • Pride or humility is derived from this double relation of ideas and impressions. ◦ The one idea is easily converted into its correlative; and the one impression into the impression which resembles and corresponds to it. • How much greater facility is needed for this transition when: ◦ these movements mutually assist each other ◦ the mind receives a double impulse from the relations of its impressions and ideas? • To understand this better, we must suppose that nature has given to the human mind’s organs a certain disposition fitted to produce an emotion called pride. ◦ She has assigned an idea of the self, to pride. ◦ Pride never fails to this idea of the self. ◦ This contrivance of nature is easily conceived. • We have many instances of this. ◦ The nerves of the nose and palate are so disposed to convey peculiar sensations to the mind. ◦ The sensations of lust and hunger always produce in us the idea of those peculiar objects suitable to each appetite. ▪ These two circumstances are united in pride. • The organs are so disposed as to produce the passion. ◦ The passion then naturally produces a certain idea. • All this needs no proof. • We would never have that passion if the mind had no proper disposition for it. ◦ The passion always: ▪ turns our view to ourselves ▪ makes us think of our own qualities and circumstances. • Does nature produce the passion immediately of herself? ◦ Or does must she be assisted by the cooperation of other causes? • Her conduct is different in the different passions and sensations. ◦ The palate must be excited by an external object to produce any relish. ◦ But hunger arises internally, without the concurrence of any external object. • Pride requires the assistance of some foreign object. ◦ The organs which produce pride do not exert an original internal movement by themselves, unlike the heart and arteries. 1. Daily experience convinces us that pride requires causes to excite it. ◦ Pride languishes when unsupported by some excellency in the character, in bodily accomplishments, clothes, equipage or fortune. 2. Pride would be perpetual if it arose immediately from nature since: ◦ the object is always the same ◦ there is no disposition of body peculiar to pride, as there is to thirst and hunger. 3. Humility is in the very same situation with pride. ◦ It must be likewise perpetual or must destroy the contrary passion from, the very first moment so that none of them could ever make its appearance. • On the whole, we may rest satisfied with the conclusion that: ◦ pride must have a cause and an object ◦ the one has no influence without the other. • The difficulty is only to: ◦ discover this cause ◦ find what: ▪ gives us the first motion to pride ▪ sets those organs in action • From experience, I find a hundred different causes that produce pride. ◦ I perceive the probable causes and supposed that they all concur in two circumstances: ▪ They produce an impression of themselves, allied to the passion ▪ They are placed on a subject, allied to the object of the passion. • I consider the nature of relation and its effects on the passions and ideas. ◦ I can no longer doubt, upon these suppositions, that it is the very principle which: ▪ causes pride ▪ bestows motion on those organs • Those organs require only a first impulse or beginning to their action. • Anything that gives a pleasant sensation and is related to self excites pride. ◦ Pride is also agreeable and has the self for its object. • What I have said of pride is equally true of humility. • The sensation of humility is uneasy, as the sensation of pride is agreeable. ◦ This is why the separate sensation, arising from the causes, must be reversed while the relation to self continues the same. • Pride and humility are directly contrary in their effects and sensations. ◦ But they have the same object. ◦ We only need to change the relation of impressions, without changing the relation of ideas. • A beautiful house belonging to ourselves produces pride. ◦ The same house produces humility when it is deformed by any accident. ▪ In this case, the sensation of pleasure is transformed into pain, which is related to humility. • The double relation between the ideas and impressions: ◦ subsists in both cases ◦ produces an easy transition from one emotion to the other. • Nature has bestowed a kind of attraction on certain impressions and ideas. ◦ The appearance of one of them naturally introduces its correlative. • If these two attractions or associations of impressions and ideas concur on the same object, they mutually assist each other ◦ The transition of the affections and of the imagination is made with the greatest ease and facility. • When an idea produces an impression related to an impression connected with an idea related to the first idea, these two impressions must be inseparable. ◦ The one will not be unattended with the other in any case. • In this way, the particular causes of pride and humility are determined. ◦ The quality, which operates on the passion, separately produces an impression resembling it. ◦ The subject, to which the quality adheres, is related to self, the object of the passion. • No wonder the whole cause, consisting of a quality and of a subject, does so unavoidably give rise to the pass on. • We may compare this hypothesis to the one on the belief attending the judgments from causation. ◦ In all judgments of this kind, there is always a present impression and a related idea. • The present impression gives a vivacity to the fancy. • The relation conveys this vivacity by an easy transition to the related idea. • Without the present impression, the attention is not fixed and the spirits are not excited. ◦ Without the relation, this attention: ▪ rests on its first object ▪ has no farther consequence. • There is a great analogy between that hypothesis and our present one of an impression and idea. ◦ This analogy makes them transfuse themselves into another impression and idea through their double relation. ◦ This analogy must be allowed to be no despicable proof of both hypotheses.

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