Superphysics Superphysics
Section 9


by David Hume Icon
4 minutes  • 680 words

The direct and indirect passions are founded on pain and pleasure.

  • Good or evil only needs to be presented to produce any kind of affection.

Upon the removal of pain and pleasure, the following are immediately removed:

  • love and hatred
  • pride and humility
  • desire and aversion
  • most of our reflective or secondary impressions.

The following direct passions arise naturally from good and evil with the least preparation:

  • desire and aversion
  • grief and joy
  • hope and fear, along with volition.

By an original instinct, the mind tends to unite itself with the good and to avoid the evil, though they are: ◦ conceived merely in idea ◦ considered to exist in any future period of time.

If pride or humility and love or hatred were excited by objects through dormant principles of the human mind, the propensity which unites or separates us from the object would still operate, but in conjunction with the indirect passions arising from a double relation of impressions and ideas.

These indirect passions are always agreeable or uneasy. • They: ◦ give additional force to the direct passions ◦ increase our desire and aversion to the object. • Thus, a suit of fine clothes produces pleasure from their beauty. ◦ This pleasure produces the direct passions of volition and desire. • When these clothes are considered as belonging to our self, the double relation conveys us pride, an indirect passion. ◦ The pleasure from pride: ▪ returns to the direct affections ▪ gives new force to our desire or volition, joy or hope.

• When good is certain or probable, it produces joy.
• When evil is in the same situation, there arises grief or sorrow.

• When good or evil is uncertain, it gives rise to fear or hope, according to the degrees of uncertainty.

• Desire arises from good considered simply.
• Aversion is derived from evil.
• The will exerts itself when the good or the absence of the evil may be attained by any action.

Beside good and evil, or pain and pleasure, the direct passions frequently arise from a natural impulse or instinct which is unaccountable.

Of this kind are: ▪ the desire of punishment to our enemies ▪ happiness to our friends ▪ hunger, lust, and a few other bodily appetites. • These passions: ◦ produce good and evil ◦ do not proceed from them, like the other affections.

• Only the direct affections of hope and fear seem to merit our attention.
    ◦ The very same event which by its certainty would produce grief or joy, gives always rise to fear or hope, when only probable and uncertain.
• We must reflect on the nature of probability to understand why this circumstance makes such a considerable difference.

• Probability arises from an opposition of contrary chances or causes.
    ◦ This opposition:
        ▪ prevents the mind from fixing on either side.
        ▪ tosses the mind from one side to another
        ▪ makes the mind determined to consider an object as:
            • existent at one moment
            • non-existent at another moment.
• The imagination or understanding fluctuates between the opposite views.
    ◦ It may be more often turned to the one side than the other.
    ◦ But it is impossible for it to rest on either by reason of the opposition of causes or chances.
• The pro and con of the question alternately prevail.
    ◦ The mind surveys the object in its opposite principles.
    ◦ It finds such a contrariety that destroys all certainty and established opinion.

• Suppose, an object of doubtful existence is an object of desire or aversion, the mind must feel a momentary joy or sorrow as the mind turns itself to one side or the other.
    ◦ An object whose existence we desire
    ◦ gives satisfaction, when we reflect on those causes, which produce it; and for the same reason excites grief or uneasiness from the opposite consideration:
• The understanding in all probable questions is divided between the contrary points of view.
    ◦ The affections must be divided between opposite emotions in the same way.

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