A Treatise of Human Nature HTML version

PART II.2: Of Love And Hatred
It is altogether impossible to give any definition of the passions of love and hatred; and
that because they produce merely a simple impression, without any mixture or
composition. Twould be as unnecessary to attempt any description of them, drawn from
their nature, origin, causes and objects; and that both because these are the subjects of our
present enquiry, and because these passions of themselves are sufficiently known from
our common feeling and experience. This we have already observed concerning pride and
humility, and here repeat it concerning love and hatred; and indeed there is so great a
resemblance betwixt these two sets of passions, that we shall be obliged to begin with a
kind of abridgment of our reasonings concerning the former, in order to explain the latter.
As the immediate object of pride and humility is self or that identical person, of whose
thoughts, actions, and sensations we are intimately conscious; so the object of love and
hatred is some other person, of whose thoughts, actions, and sensations we are not
conscious. This is sufficiently evident from experience. Our love and hatred are always
directed to some sensible being external to us; and when we talk of self-love, it is not in a
proper sense, nor has the sensation it produces any thing in common with that tender
emotion which is excited by a friend or mistress. It is the same case with hatred. We may
be mortified by our own faults and follies; but never feel any anger or hatred. except from
the injuries of others.
But though the object of love and hatred be always some other person, it is plain that the
object is not, properly speaking, the cause of these passions, or alone sufficient to excite
them. For since love and hatred are directly contrary in their sensation, and have the same
object in common, if that object were also their cause, it would produce these opposite
passions in an equal degree; and as they must, from the very first moment, destroy each
other, none of them would ever be able to make its appearance. There must, therefore, be
some cause different from the object.
If we consider the causes of love and hatred, we shall find they are very much
diversifyed, and have not many things in common. The virtue, knowledge, wit, good
sense, good humour of any person, produce love and esteem; as the opposite qualities,
hatred and contempt. The same passions arise from bodily accomplishments, such as
beauty, force, swiftness, dexterity; and from their contraries; as likewise from the
external advantages and disadvantages of family, possession, cloaths, nation and climate.
There is not one of these objects, but what by its different qualities may produce love and
esteem, or hatred and contempt
From the view of these causes we may derive a new distinction betwixt the quality that
operates, and the subject on which it is placed. A prince, that is possessed of a stately
palace, commands the esteem of the people upon that account; and that first, by the
beauty of the palace, and secondly, by the relation of property, which connects it with