Jump to content

But then I ask, if the removal of design be able entirely to remove the passion of love and hatred? Experience, I am sure, informs us of the contrary, nor is there any thing more certain, than that men often fall into a violent anger for injuries, which they themselves must own to be entirely involuntary and accidental. This emotion, indeed, cannot be of long continuance; but still is sufficient to shew, that there is a natural connexion betwixt uneasiness and anger, and that the relation of impressions will operate upon a very small relation of ideas. But when the violence of the impression is once a little abated, the defect of the relation begins to be better felt; and as the character of a person is no wise interested in such injuries as are casual and involuntary, it seldom happens that on their account, we entertain a lasting enmity.

David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, book II, part II, section III

Hume proceeds by deduction: what happens if one suppresses the intention from the cause of the passion?

As seen previously, human beings constantly attempt to rationalize their feelings (even though will falls short in controlling them), to make others feel guilty for their unfortunate passions (even accidental and involuntary ones).

The removal of the intention, removes the mortification in the one case, and vanity in the other; and must of course cause a remarkable diminution in the passions of love and hatred.

Can one blame a child for doing a wrong by ignorance, by inexperience? Once events have passed, the child will be forgiven. It is only when human beings act out of pure malice, with an actually mean intention, that hatred towards someone else could go on; otherwise, it will simply fade away.