the means to perseverance

4p45s: “It is the part of a wise man to refresh and restore himself, in moderation, with good food and drink, with perfumes, with the beauty of lush plants, with decoration, with music, with sports, with the theater, and with other things of this kind, which one can enjoy without harm to another.”

If one seeks to persevere, drink and food are part of the means to that end. So, if one interacts with them in the right way, they will bring laetitia and will do so in a way that does not harm other prospects for it. For a person overwhelmed by alcoholism or gluttony, however, drink and food, as a means to different ends in different circumstances, may also do harm (3p56s, II/185 21-28):

“Among these species of affects, which (3p56) must be very numerous, gluttony, drunkenness, lust, greed, and ambition are prominent, all of which are nothing other than notions of love or desire that explain the nature of the affect through the object to which it relates. For by gluttony, drunkenness, lust, greed and ambition we understand nothing other than an immoderate desire for or love of eating, drinking, sex, wealth, or glory.”

LeBuffe, Michael. From Bondage to Freedom: Spinoza on Human Excellence. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. 184. Print.


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