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Ethics - Benedict de Spinoza

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Benedict de Spinoza, THE ETHICS
(Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata)

Translated by R. H. M. Elwes

PART V:  Of the Power of the Understanding, or of Human Freedom



PREFACE
At length I pass to the remaining portion of my Ethics, which is concerned
with the way leading to freedom. I shall therefore treat therein of the
power of the reason, showing how far the reason can control the emotions,
and what is the nature of Mental Freedom or Blessedness; we shall then be
able to see, how much more powerful the wise man is than the ignorant.
It is no part of my design to point out the method and means whereby the
understanding may be perfected, nor to show the skill whereby the body may
be so tended, as to be capable of the due performance of its functions. The
latter question lies in the province of Medicine, the former in the province
of Logic. Here, therefore, I repeat, I shall treat only of the power of the
mind, or of reason; and I shall mainly show the extent and nature of its
dominion over the emotions, for their control and moderation. That we do
not possess absolute dominion over them, I have already shown. Yet the
Stoics have thought, that the emotions depended absolutely on our will, and
that we could absolutely govern them. But these philosophers were compelled,
by the protest of experience, not from their own principles, to confess,
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