we don’t even know what a body is capable of. there is all of this talk of the soul and the mind, and we still don’t know what a body can do.
[for those of you reading this on RSS, I’ve embedded a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awtiZEiiAE8&feature=player_embedded]
a series of propositions:
- the first — A body must be defined by the ensemble of relations which compose it, or, what amounts to exactly the same thing, by its power of being affected.
- the second — the simplest way in which i learn what happens to a body is through chance encounters: I walk in the street, I see Pierre who does not please me, it’s the function of the constitution of his body and his soul and the constitution of my body and my soul.
- the third — As long as you don’t know what power a body has to be affected, as long as you learn like that, in chance encounters, you will not have the wise life, you will not have wisdom.
- the fourth — There are two fundamental ideas of affection [affectus of the affectio]: sadness and joy. The idea of an effect which benefits or favors my own characteristic relation, and second, the idea of an effect which compromises or destroys my own characteristic relation
- the fifth — Since there’s no single body which is not itself made up of several, one can say that there are common things or common notions in each body.
- the sixth — When I am affected with sadness, my power of acting diminishes, which is to say that I am further separated from this power. When I am affected with joy, it increases, which is to say that I am less separated from this power.
So finally, one forms the common notion, on that point one tries to win locally, to open up this joy. It’s the labor of life. One tries to diminish the respective share of sadnesses in relation to the respective share of a joy, and one attempts the following tremendous coup: one is sufficiently assured of common notions which refer to relations of agreement between such and such body and my own, one will attempt then to apply the same method to sadness, but one cannot do it on the basis of sadness, that is to say one will attempt to form common notions by which one will arrive at a comprehension of the vital manner in which such and such body disagrees and no longer agrees. That becomes, no longer a continuous variation, that becomes a bell curve.