THE PASSIONS OF THE SOUL

THE FIRST PART

OF PASSIONS IN GENERAL:

and occasionally of the universal nature of man.


The First Article

That what is passion in regard of the subject, is always action in some other respect.


There is nothing more clearly evinces the learning which we receive from the Ancients to be defective, than what they have written concerning the passions. For although it be a matter the understanding whereof has even been hunted after; and that it seems to be none of the hardest, because every one feeling them in himself, need not borrow foreign observations to discover their nature. Yet what the Ancients have taught concerning them, is so little, and for the most part so little credible that I cannot hope to draw nigh truth, but by keeping aloof off from those roads which they followed. Wherefore I shall here be forced to write in such a sort, as if I treated of a matter never before handled. And first of all I consider that all which is done, or happens anew, is by the philosophers called generally a passion in relation to the subject on whom it befalls, and an action in respect of that which causes it. So that although the agent and patient be things often differing, action and passion are one and the same thing, which has two several names, because of the two several subjects whereunto they may relate.