Proud men are most shock’d with contempt, tho’ they do not most readily assent to it; but ’tis because of the opposition betwixt the passion, which is natural to them, and that receiv’d by sympathy. A violent lover in like manner is very much displeas’d when you blame and condemn his love; tho’ tis evident your opposition can have no influence, but by the hold it takes of himself, and by his sympathy with you. If he despises you, or perceives you are in jest, whatever you say has no effect upon him.
Here, Hume discuses despise, a particular manifestation of hatred.
The transition from love to hatred occurs easily, naturally in Hume’s system: the (pleasant) passion of love suddenly transforms itself into the (unpleasant) passion of humility, since the object of the amorous passion (the other) no longer relates to the self. Since the cause of such harmful feeling is another person (the loved one is refusing their love), the feeling of humility slips towards hatred (the angry need someone to blame).
However, the opinion of a despised person (or even someone laughing at us) will be of no importance to the annoyed lover. To talk with the annoyed lover, one must:
- talk to them seriously;
- be nice to them.
Otherwise, the person affected by the passion will not be receptive.