Chapter VI: The Ideal.

§ 135.

The main object of this chapter has been to define roughly the class of things, among which we may expect to find either great intrinsic goods or great intrinsic evils; and particularly to point out that there is a vast variety of such things, and that the simplest of them are, with one exception, highly complex wholes, composed of parts which have little or no value in themselves. All of them involve consciousness of an object, which is itself usually highly complex, and almost all involve also an emotional attitude towards this object; but, though they thus have certain characteristics in common, the vast variety of qualities in respect of which they differ from one another are equally essential to their value: neither the generic character of all, nor the specific character of each, is either greatly good or greatly evil by itself; they owe their value or demerit, in each case, to the presence of both. My discussion falls into three main divisions, dealing respectively (1) with unmixed goods, (2) with evils, and (3) with mixed goods. (1) Unmixed goods may all be said to consist in the love of beautiful things or of good persons: but the number of different goods of this kind is as great as that of beautiful objects, and they are also differentiated from one another by the different emotions appropriate to different objects. These goods are undoubtedly good, even where the things or persons loved are imaginary; but it was urged that, where the thing or person is real and is believed to be so, these two facts together, when combined with the mere love of the qualities in question, constitute a whole which is greatly better than that mere love, having an additional value quite distinct from that which belongs to the existence of the object, where that object is a good person. Finally it was pointed out that the love of mental qualities, by themselves, does not seem to be so great a good as that of mental and material qualities together; and that, in any case, an immense number of the best things are, or include, a love of material qualities (113—123). (2) Great evils may be said to consist either (a) in the love of what is evil or ugly, or (b) in the hatred of what is good or beautiful, or (c) in the consciousness of pain. Thus the consciousness of pain, if it be a great evil, is the only exception to the rule that all great goods and great evils involve both a cognition and an emotion directed towards its object (124—128). (3) Mixed goods are those which include some element which is evil or ugly. They may be said to consist either in hatred of what is ugly or of evils of classes (a) and (b), or in compassion for pain. But where they include an evil, which actually exists, its demerit seems to be always great enough to outweigh the positive value which they possess (129—133). (§ 135 ¶ 1)

The End.