« ÎnapoiContinuați »
perceptio and action have an intimate correspondence. But it is not sufficient for the conduct of life, that our actions be linked together, however intimately: it is beside necessary that they proceed in a certain order; and this also is provided for by an original propensity. Thus order and connection, while they admit sufficient variety, introduce a method in the management of affairs: without them our conduct would be fluctuating and desultory; and we should be hurried from thought to thought, and from action to action, entirely at the mercy of chance
EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS.
The feelings excited by the eye and ear only, called emotions or passions--The
connection between the fine arts and emotions and passions, the design of this chapter--The principles of the fine arts open a direct avenue to the heart--A general or slight survey all that can be expected.
Of all the feelings raised in us by external objects, those only of
and the ear are honored with the name of passion or emotion: the most pleasing feelings of taste, or touch, or smell, aspire not to thar honor. From this observation appears the connection of emotions and passions with the fine arts, which, as observed in the introduction, are all calculated to give pleasure to the eye or the ear; never once descending to gratify any of the inferior senses. The design, accordingly, of this chapter, is to delineate that connection, with the view chiefly to ascertain what power the fine arts have to raise emotions and passions. To those who would excel in the fine aris, that branch of knowledge is indispensable; for without it the critic, as well as the undertaker, ignorant of any rule, has nothing left but 10 abandon himself to chance. Destitute of that branch of knowledge, in vain will either pretend to foretell what effect his work will have upon the heart.
The principles of the fine arts, appear, in this view, to open a direct avenue to the heart of man. The inquisitive mind beginning with criticism, the most agreeable of all amusements, and finding no obstruction in its progress, advances far into the sensitive part of our nature; and gains imperceptibly a thorough knowledge of the human heart, of its desires, and of every motive to action-a science, which of all that can be reached by man, is to him of the greatest importance.
Upon a subject so comprehensive, all that can be expecied in this chapier, is a general or slight survey; and to shorten that survey, I propose to handle separately some emotions more peculiarly connected with the fine arts. Even after that circunıscription, so much mat!er comt's under the present chapter, that, to avoid confusion, I find it necessary to divide it into many parts: and though the first of these is confined to such causes of emotion or passion as are the most common and the most general, yet upon examination I find this
single part so extensive, as to require a subdivision into several sec
Human nature is a complicated machine, and is unavoidably so, in order to answer its various purposes. The public indeed have been entertained with many systems of human nature that flatter the mind by their simplicity. According to some writers, man is entirely a selfish being: according to others, universal benevolence is his duty: one founds morality upon sympathy solely, and one upon utility. If any of these systems were copied from nature, the present subject might be soon discussed. But the variety of nature is not so easily reached, and for confuting such Utopian systems without the fatigue of reasoning, it appears the best method to take a survey of human nature, and to set before the eye, plainly and candidly, facts as they really exist.
CAUSES UNFOLDED OF THE EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS.
No passion or emotion exists without an antecedent cause-We love what is
agreeable, and hate what is disagreeable-Sources of emotions–External qualitics of objects—Internal qualities of objects-Actions of sensible beings; with, or without reflection—The intention of actions, not the event, to be considered -The feelings of others—Recollected ideas-Desire follows some emotions and not others—Passions always accompanied with desire; emotions, not-Passion is productive of action: we do nothing without an antecedent cause–The objects of our passions are general, and particular-Passions directed to general objects, called appetites; and those retain their name—An appetite precedes the object; a passion follows it-Actions are instinctive and deliberative Passions and actions are social, selfish, mixed, or dissocialSlight impediments increase desire; insurmountable ones overcome it-Different objects equally attainable, produce different degrees of emotion-Rational beings raise the strongest emotions; animate next; and inanimate the weakest.
These branches are so interwoven that they cannot be handled separately. It is a fact universally admitted, that no emotion or passion ever starts up in the inind without a cause.
If I love a person, it is for good qualities or good offices: if I have resentment against a man, it must be for some injury he has done me: and I cannot pity any one who is under no distress of body nor of mind.
The circumstances now mentioned, if they raise an emotion or passion, cannot be entirely indifferent; for if so, they could not make any impression. And we find upon examination, that they are not indifferent. Looking back upon the foregoing examples, the good qualities or good offices that attract my love, are antecedently agreeable: if an injury did not give uneasiness, it would not iccasion resentment against the author; nor would the passion of pity be raised by an object in distress, if that object did not give pain.
What is now said about the production of emotion or passion, resolves itself into a very simple proposition—that we love what is agreeable, and hate what is disagreeable And indeed it is evident,
that a thing must be agreeable or disagreeable, before it can be che object either of love or of hatred.
This short hint about the causes of passion and emotion, leads to a more extensive view of the subject. Such is our nature, that upon perceiving certain external objects, we are instantaneously conscious of pleasure or pain: a gently-flowing river—a smooth extended plain -a spreading oak-a towering hill, are objects of sight that raise pleasant emotions : a barren heath—a dirty marsh—a rotten carcass, raise painful emotions. Of the emotions thus produced, we inquire for no other cause than merely the presence of the object.
The things now mentioned, raise emotions by means of their properties and qualities. To the emotion raised by a large river, its size, its force, and its fluency, contributes each a share: the regularity, propriety, and convenience, of a fine building, contribute each to the emotion raised by the building.
If external properties be agreeable, we have reason to expect the same from those which are internal; and, accordingly, power, discernment, wit, mildness, sympathy, courage, benevolence, are agree able in a high degree. Upon perceiving these qualities in others, we instantaneously feel pleasant emotions, without the slightest act of reflection, or of attention to consequences.
It is almost unnecessary to add, that certain qualities opposite to the former, such as dullness, peevishness, inhumanity, cowardice, occasion, in the same manner, painful emotions.
Sensible beings affect us remarkably by their actions. Some actions raise pleasant emotions in the spectator, without the least reflection; such as graceful motion, and genteel behavior. But as intention, a capital circumstance in human actions, is not visible, it requires reflection to discover their true character. I see one delivering a purse of money to another, but I can make nothing of that action, till I learn with what intention the money is given. If it be given to discharge a debt, the action pleases me in a slight degree; if it be a grateful relurn, I feel a stronger emotion; and the pleasant emotion rises to a great height, when it is the intention of the giver to relieve a virtuous family from want. Thus actions are qualified by inten. tion: but they are not qualified by the event; for an action well intended gives pleasure, whatever the event may be. Fartber, human actions are perceived to be right or wrong; and that perception qualifies the pleasure or pain that results from them.*
* In tracing our emotions and passions to their origin, my first thought was, that qualities and actions are the primary causes of emotions; and that these emo tions are afterwards expanded upon the being to which these qualities and actions belong. But I am now convinced that this opinion is erroneous. An attribute is not, even in imagination, separable from the being to which it belongs; and, for that reason, cannot, of itself, be the cause of any emotion. We have, it is true, no knowledge of any being or substance but by means of its attributes; and therefore no being can be agreeable to us otherwise than by their means.' But still, when an emotion is raised, it is the being itself, as we apprehend the matter, that raises the emotion; and it raises it by means of one or other of its attributes. If it be urged, that we can in idea abstract a quality from the thing to which it belong3 ; it might be answered, that such abstraction may serve the purposes of reasoning, but is too faint to produce any sort of emotion.' But it is sufficient for
Emotions are raised in us, not only by the qualitis and actions of others, but also by their feelings. I cannot behold a man in distress, without partaking of his pain; nor in joy, without partaking of his plaasure.
The beings or things above described, occasion emotions in us, not only in the original survey, but also when recalled to the memory in idea. A field laid out with taste, is pleasant in the recollection, as well as when under our eye: a generous action described in words or colors, occasions a sensible emotion, as well as when we see it performed; and when we reflect upon the distress of any person, our pain is of the same kind with what we felt when eyewitnesses. In a word, an agreeable or disagreeable object recalled to the mind in idea, is the occasion of a pleasant or painful emotion, of the same kind with that produced when the object was present: the only difference is, that an idea being fainter than an original perception, the pleasure or pain produced by the former, is proportionably fainter than that produced by the latter.
Having explained the nature of an emotion, and mentioned several causes by which it is produced, we proceed to an observation of considerable importance in the science of human nature, which is, that desire follows some emotions, and not others. The emotions raised by a beautiful garden, a magnificent building, or a number of fine faces in a crowded assembly, is seldom accompanied with desire. Other emotions are accompanied with desire: emotions, for example, raised by human actions and qualities. A virtuous action raises in every spectator a pleasant emotion, which is commonly attended with desire to reward the author of the action : a vicious action, on the contrary, produces a painful emotion, attended with desire to punish the delinquent. Even things inanimate often raise emotions accompanied with desire. Witness the goods of fortune, which are objects of desire almost universally; and the desire, when immoderate, obtains the name of avarice. The pleasant emotion producer in a spectator by a capital picture in the possession of a prince, is seldom accompanied with desire; but if such a picture be exposed to sale, desire of having or possessing is the natural consequence a strong emotion.
It is a truth verified by induction, that every passion is accompanied with desire; and if an emotion be sometimes accompanied with desire, and sometimes not, it comes to be a material inquiry, in what respect a passion differs from an emotion. Is passion in its nature or feeling distinguishable from emotion? I have been apt to think that there must be such a distinction ; but, after the strictest
the present purpose to answer, that the eye never abstracts; by that organ we perceive things as they really exist, and never perceive a quality as separated from the subjeci. Hence it must be evident, that emotions are raised, not by qualities abstractly considered, but by the substance or body so and so qualified. Thus, 1 spreading oak raises a pleasant emotion, by means of its color, figure, umbrage, &c. It is not the color, strictly speaking, that produces the emotion, but the tree colored: it is not the figure abstractly considered that produces the emotion, but the tree of a certain figure. And hence, by the way, it appears, that the benuty of such an object is complex, resolvable into several beauties more simple.
[Ch.2 examination, I cannot perceive any. What is love, for example, but a pleasant emotion raised by a sight or idea of the beloved female
, joined with desire of enjoyment? In what else consists the passion of resentment, but in a painful emotion occasioned by the injury, accompanied with desire to chastise the guilty person? In general, as to passion of every kind, we find no more in its composition, than the particulars now mentioned-an emotion pleasant or painful, accompanied with desire. What then shall we say? Are passion and emotion synonymous terms? That cannot be averred; because no feeling nor agitation of the mind void of desire, is termed a passion; and we have discovered, that there are many emotions which pass-away without raising desire of any
kind. How is the difficulty to be solved? There appears to me but one solution, which I relish the more, as it renders the doctrine of the passions and emotions simple and perspicuous. The solution follows. An internal motion or agitation of the mind, when it passes away without desire, is denominated an emotion : when desire follows, the motion or agitation is denominated a passion. A fine face, for example, raises in me a pleasant feeling. If that feeling vanish without producing any effect, it is in proper language an emotion; but if the feeling, by reiterated views of the object, become sufficiently strong to occasion desire, it loses its name of emotion, and acquires that of passion. The same holds in all the other passions. The painful feeling raised in a spectator by a slight injury done to a stranger, being accompanied with no desire of revenge, is termed an emotion; but that injury raises in the stranger a stronger emotion, which being accompanied with desire of revenge, is a passion. External expressions of distress produce, in the spectator, a painful feeling, which being sometimes so slight as to pass away without any effect, is an emotion; but if the feeling be so strong as to prompt desire of affording relief, it is a passion, and is termed pity: envy is emulation in excess; if the exaltation of a competitor be barely disagreeable, the painful feeling is an emotion; if it produce desire to depress him, it is a passion.
To prevent mistakes, it must be observed, that desire here is taken in its proper sense; namely, that internal act, which, by influencing the will, makes us proceed to action. Desire in a lax sense respects also actions and events that depend not on us; as when I desire that my friend may have a son to represent him, or that my country may flourish in aris and sciences: but such internal act is more properly termed a wish than a desire.
Having distinguished passion from emotion, we proceed to consider passion more at large, with respect, especially, to its power of producing action.
We have daily and constant experience for our authority, that no man ever proceeds to action but by means of an antecedent desire or impulse. So well established is this observation, and so deeply rooted in the mind, that we can scarcely imagine a different system of action: even a child will say familiarly, what should make me do this or that, when I have no desire to do it?' Taking it then for granted, that the existence of action depends on antecedent desire, it follows, that