Spinoza Reviews American Sniper


The joy which arises from our imagining that a thing we hate is destroyed, or affected with some other evil, does not occur without some sadness of mind.

For insofar as we imagine a thing like us to be affected with sadness, we are saddened.

For as often as we recollect a thing–even though it does not actually exist–we still regard it as present, and the body is affected in the same way as if it were present. So insofar as the memory of the thing is strong, the man is determined to regard it with sadness. While the image of the thing still remains, this determination is, indeed, restrained by the memory of those things that exclude its existence; but it is not taken away. And so the man rejoices only insofar as this determination is restrained.

So it happens that this joy, which arises from the misfortune occurring to the thing we hate, is repeated as often as we recollect the thing. For as we have said, when the image of this thing is aroused, because it involves the existence of the thing, it determines the man to regard the thing with the same sadness as he used to before, when it existed. But because he has joined to the image of this thing other images which exclude its existence, this determination to sadness is immediately restrained, and the man rejoices anew. This happens as often as the repetition occurs.

This is also the cause of men’s rejoicing when they recall some evil now past, and why the enjoy telling of dangers from which they have been freed. For when they imagine a danger, they regard it as future, and are determined to fear it. This determination is restrained anew by the idea of freedom, which they have joined to the idea of the danger, when they have been freed from it. This renders them safe again, and so they rejoice again.


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