Superphysics Superphysics
Section 11


by David Hume Icon
5 minutes  • 918 words

The love between the man and woman, most deserves our attention of all the compound passions arising from a mixture of love and hatred with other affections, because of:

  • its force and violence
  • those curious principles of philosophy behind it.

In its most natural state, this love is derived from the conjunction of three different impressions or passions:

  • the pleasing sensation arising from beauty
  • the bodily appetite for generation
  • a generous kindness or goodwill.

The origin of kindness from beauty is explained from the foregoing reasoning. ◦ The question is how the bodily appetite is excited by it.

The appetite of generation, when confined to a certain degree: ◦ is of the pleasant kind ◦ has a strong connection with all the agreeable emotions.

The following all encourage this desire:

  • Joy, mirth, vanity, and kindness
  • music, dancing, wine, and good cheer.

On the other hand, sorrow, melancholy, poverty, humility destroy it. • From this quality, it is easily conceived why it should be connected with the sense of beauty.

• But there is another principle that contributes to the same effect.
• The parallel direction of the desires is:
    ◦ a real relation
    ◦ produces a connection among them, no less than a resemblance in their sensation.

To fully comprehend the extent of this relation, we must consider that any principal desire may be attended with subordinate ones connected with it. ◦ If other subordinate desires are parallel, they are related to the principal one by that means.

Thus, hunger may often be considered as the soul’s primary inclination. ◦ The desire of approaching the meat is the secondary one. ◦ Since it is absolutely necessary to satisfy that appetite. • Therefore, if an object inclines us to approach the meat, it naturally increases our appetite. ◦ On the contrary, whatever inclines us to set our victuals at a distance: ▪ is contradictory to hunger ▪ reduces our inclination to them.

Beauty has the first effect, and deformity the second effect. ◦ This is why: ▪ beauty gives us a keener appetite for our victuals ▪ deformity is sufficient to disgust us at the most savoury dish. • All this is easily applicable to the appetite for generation.

• From these two relations (resemblance and a parallel desire), a connection arises between:
    ◦ the sense of beauty
    ◦ the bodily appetite
    ◦ benevolence
• These three become inseparable:
    ◦ It is indifferent which of them advances first.
    ◦ Since any of them is almost sure to be attended with the related affections.
• A man inflamed with lust, at least feels a momentary kindness towards its object or woman.
    ◦ At the same time, he fancies her more beautiful than ordinary.
• There are as many who begin with kindness and esteem for the person’s wit and merit, and advance from that to the other passions.
• But the most common species of love is that which:
    ◦ first arises from beauty
    ◦ afterwards diffuses itself into:
        ▪ kindness
        ▪ the bodily appetite.
• Kindness or esteem, and the appetite to generation, are too remote to unite easily together.
    ◦ Kindness is perhaps the most refined passion of the soul.
    ◦ The appetite for generation is the most gross and vulgar.
• The love of beauty:
    ◦ is placed in a just medium between them
    ◦ shares both their natures.
• From there, it is so singularly fitted to produce both.

This account of love is not peculiar to my system. ◦ But it is unavoidable on any hypothesis. • Its three affections are distinct. ◦ Each of them has its distinct object.

Therefore, they produce each other only by their relation. ◦ But the relation of passions alone is insufficient. ◦ There should also be a relation of ideas. • The beauty of one person never inspires us with love for another. ◦ This is a sensible proof of the double relation of impressions and ideas. • From this single evident instance, we may form a judgment of the rest.

• This also illustrates the origin of pride and humility, love and hatred.
• The self is the object of pride and humility.
• Some other person is the object of love and hatred.
• Yet these objects alone cannot be the causes of those passions.
    ◦ Since each of them has a relation to two contrary affections which must destroy each other at the very first moment.
• The mind has certain organs naturally fitted to produce a passion which naturally turns the view to a certain object.
    ◦ But this is insufficient to produce the passion.
    ◦ Another emotion is required to:
        ▪ set these principles in action
        ▪ bestow on them their first impulse, through a double relation of impressions and ideas.
• This situation is still more remarkable with regard to the appetite of generation.
    ◦ Sex is the object and the cause of the appetite.
• We turn our view to it when actuated by that appetite.
    ◦ Reflecting on it suffices to excite the appetite.
• But this cause loses its force by too great frequency.
    ◦ It needs to be quickened by some new impulse.
    ◦ We find that impulse to arise from the person’s beauty, that is, from a double relation of impressions and ideas.
• This double relation is necessary where an affection has a distinct cause and object.
    ◦ How much more so is it necessary when it only has a distinct object, without any determinate cause?

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