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passions, such as pride, malice, envy, love, hatred, are not so exhausted; but having a long continuance, demand frequent gratification.
With respect to emotions which are quiescent, because not productive of desire, their growth and decay are easily explained: an emotion caused by an inanimate object, cannot naturally take longer time to arrive at maturity than is necessary for a leisurely survey: such emotion also must continue long stationary without any sensible decay, a second or third view of the object being nearly as agreeable as the first: this is the case of an emotion produced by a fine prospect, an impetuous river, or a towering hill; while a man remains the same, such objects ought to have the same effect upon him. Familiarity, however, hath an influ
. ence here, as it hath everywhere: frequency of view, after short intervals especially, weans the mind gradually from the object, which at last loses all relish: the noblest object in the material world, a clear and serene sky, is quite disregarded, unless perhaps after a course of bad weather. An emotion raised by human virtues, qualities, or actions, may, by reiterated views of the object, swell imperceptibly till it become so vigorous as to generate desire: in that condition it must be handled as a passion.
When nature requires a passion to be sudden, it is commonly produced in perfection; as fear, anger, wonder, and surprise. Reiterated impressions made by their cause exhaust these passions, instead of inflaming them. This will be explained in Chapter VI.
When a passion has for its foundation an original propensity peculiar to some men, it generally comes soon to maturity, as pride, envy, malice ;-the propensity, upon presenting a proper object, is immediately inflamed into a passion.
The growth of love and hatred is slow or quick, according to circumstances. Good qualities in a person raise in us a pleasant emotion; reiterated views swell it into a desire of that person's happiness: this desire,
freely indulged, works a gradual change internally and at last settles into an affection for that person, now my friend. Affection thus produced, operates like an original propensity. The habit of aversion or hatred is br on in the same manner.
Passions generally have a tendency to excess, occasioned by the following means. The mind, affected by any passion, is not in a proper state for distinct perception, nor for cool reflection: it hath always a strong bias to the object of an agreeable passion, and a bias no less strong against the object of a disagreeable passion. The object of love, for example, however indifferent to others, is to the lover's conviction a paragon; and the object of hatred, is vice itself without alloy. Hatred, as well as other passions, must run the same course. Thus, between a passion and its object there is a natural operation, resembling action and reaction in physics: a passion acting upon its object, magnifies it greatly in appearance; and this magnified object reacting upon the passion, swells and inflames it mightily.
The growth of some passions depend often on occasional circumstances: obstacles to gratification never fail to inflame a passion; and the mind distressed by obstacles becomes impatient for gratification, and consequently more desirous of it.
All impediments in fancy's course
SHAKSPEARE. So much upon the growth of passions; their continuance and decay come next under consideration. And, first, it is a general law of nature, that things sudden in their growth are equally sudden in their decay. This is commonly the case of anger. And, with respect to wonder and surprise, which also suddenly decay, another reason concurs, that their causes are of short duration : novelty soon degenerates into familiarity; and the unexpectedness of an object is soon sunk in the pleasure that the object affords. Fear, which is a passion of greater importance as tending to self-pre
servation, is often instantaneous, and yet is of equal duration with its cause; nay, it frequently subsists after the cause is removed.
In the next place, a passion founded on a peculiar propensity, subsists generally for ever; which is the case of pride, envy, and malice: objects are never wanting to inflame the propensity into a passion.
Thirdly, it may be laid down as a general law of nature, that every passion ceases upon attaining its ultimate end. To explain that law, we must distinguish between a particular and a general end. I call a particular end what may be accomplished by a single act: a general end, on the contrary, admits acts without number; because it cannot be said, that a general end is ever fully accomplished while the object of the passion subsists. Gratitude and revenge are examples of the first kind: the ends they aim at may be accom plished by a single act; and, when that act is perform ed, the passions are necessarily at an end. Love and hatred are examples of the other kind: desire of doing good, or of doing mischief to an individual, is a general end, admitting acts without number, and which is seldom accomplished.
Lastly, we are to consider the difference between an original propensity, and affection or aversion produced by custom. The former adheres too closely to the constitution ever to be eradicated; hence the passions it gives birth to continue during life with no diminution. The latter, which owe their birth and increase to time, owe their decay to the same cause: affection and aversion decay gradually as they grow; and hatred as well as love are extinguished by long absence. In short, man with respect to this life is a temporary being: he grows, becomes stationary, decays; and so must all his powers and passions.
Are emotions permanent?
What emotions are immediately perfected, and of short duration ?
What passions are exhausted by a single act?
How long does an emotion caused by an inanimate object take to arrive at maturity?
How long does it last?
Illustrate the difference between an original propensity and a passion or affection produced by custom.
Coexistent Emotions and Passions.
For a thorough knowledge of the human passions and emotions, it is not sufficient that they be examined singly and separately: as a plurality of them are sometimes felt at the same instant, the manner of their coexistence, and the effects thereby produced, ought also to be examined. This subject is extensive; and it will be difficult to trace all the laws that govern its endless variety of cases: if such an undertaking can be brought to perfection, it must be by degrees. The fol lowing hints may suffice for a first attempt.
We begin with emotions raised by different sounds, as the simplest case. Two sounds that mix, and, as it were, incorporate before they reach the ear, are saio to be concordant. That each of the two sounds, even after their union, produceth an emotion of its own
must be admitted; but these emotions, like the sounds that produce them, mix so intimately, as to be rather one complex emotion, than two emotions in conjunction. Two sounds that resuse incorporation or mixture, are said to be discordant; and when heard at the same instant, the emotions produced by them are unpleasant in conjunction, however pleasant separately.
Similar to the emotion raised by mixed sounds, is the emotion raised by an object of sight with its several qualities; as a tree with its qualities of color, figure, size, &c. The emotion it produces is one complex emotion.
In coexistent emotions produced by different objects of sight, there cannot be a concordance among them like what is perceived in some sounds.
Emotions are similar when they produce the same tone of mind,- cheerful emotions are similar, so are melancholy emotions. Dissimilar emotions are pride and humility, gaiety and gloominess.
Emotions perfectly similar, readily combine and unite, so as in a manner to become one complex emotion; witness the emotions produced by a number of flowers in a parterre, or of trees in a wood. Emotions that are opposite, or extremely dissimilar, never combine or unite; the mind cannot simultaneously take an opposite tone; it cannot at the same instant be both joyful and sad, angry and satisfied, proud and humble; dissimilar emotions may succeed each other with rapidity, but they cannot exist simultaneously.
Between these two extremes, emotions unite more or less, in proportion to the degree of their resemblance, and the degree in which their causes are connected. Thus the emotions produced by a fine landscape and the singing of birds, being similar in a considerable degree, readily unite, though their causes are little connected. And the same happens where the causes are intimately connected, though the emotions themselves have little resemblance to each other; an example of which is a mistress in distress, whose beauty