A Table of the Springs of Action

Jeremy Bentham

Observations on the Table

§ 3. Appellatives Eulogistic, Dyslogistic, and Neutral---Cause of their comparative penury and abundance, as applied to Springs of Action.

Of the declared opinions of such of the several members of the community, by whom respectively, in relation to the subject in question, an opinion or judgment of approbation or disapprobation is expressed, is that quantity of the force of public opinion, otherwise termed the force of the popular or moral sanction, which is thus brought to bear upon that subject, composed and constituted. In and by any act, by which intimation is given of such his judgment, in quality of member of the tribunal, by which that judgment is considered as pronounced, a man may be considered as delivering his vote. On the present occasion, the subject-matter of this judgment will be seen to be the several springs of action, by which, on the several occasions in question, human conduct---human action---is liable to be influenced and determined: these several springs of action, considered as being in operation, and as giving birth to whatsoever acts, or modes of conduct, may respectively be the result.

On and by the delivery of this vote, in so far as it is with himself that it originates, he makes as it were a motion, which, by the concurrence of as many as join with him in the sentiment so expressed, is formed into a judgment; a judgment, pronounced by that portion, be it what it may, of the tribunal of public opinion, which the persons so concurring compose.

I. In this, as in every other instance, in which any thing is either done or said, whatsoever is done or said is the result of interest: of interest in this or that one of its shapes, as above explained---(benevolence---sympathy not excluded)---operating upon him by whom it is done or said, in the character of a motive. In this interest will be seen the cause of the several diversities above spoken of, and which will now be in a more particular manner brought to view.

I. Case 1. Eulogistic appellatives, none:---for the numbers, see the Table.

Instances. (No. 1.) Desire of food and drink. (No. 2.) Sexual desire. (No. 3.) Physical desires in general. (No. 5.) Desire of power. (No. 6.) Curiosity. (No. 12.) Love of ease. (No. 13.) Desire of self-preservation. (No. 14.) Personal interest in general.

Cause or Reason of this deficiency.---Men in general do not derive any advantage, one man from what is done by another, for the satisfaction of those several desires.

Objection, in the case of No. 2. In this case, it is on what is done by some other person for the gratification of this desire, that, on the part of each person, the correspondent gratification depends.---Answer. True; but. on the occasion of those more or less elaborated discourses, of which language, as it stands expressed in and by means of its permanent signs, is composed, it does not answer a man's purpose, to bring it to view in any state, other than that in which, being, as above mentioned, combined with other desires, it enters into the composition of that complex desire, which admits of the neutral, or rather eulogistic appellative---love.

II. Case 2. Eulogistic abundant.---Instances. (No. 4.) Love of the matter of wealth:---(No 8.) Regard for reputation:---(No. 9.) Fear of God:---(No. 10.) Good-will towards men. Cause or Reason. Of all these several desires, there is not one which it is not common for one man to behold an advantage to himself, in the creating and increasing, in the breasts of other men. But, as to Love of the matter of wealth, see below, Case 7.

III. Case 3. Dyslogistic wanting.---Instances, none.---Cause or Reason. There exists not any species of desire such, that by the pursuit of it, i. e. of the object of it, it does not frequently happen, that one man's interest is opposed, and his desires frustrated, by the interests and corresponding desires and pursuits of other men.

IV. Case 4. Dyslogistic abundant.---Instances: generally speaking, all fourteen, with little distinction worth noticing. Cause or Reason, the same as just mentioned.

For sexual desire, when taken by itself, dyslogistic appellatives may be observed to be in a more particular degree abundant. Cause or Reason. This may be seen in---1. The intensity of the desire;---2. Its aptitude to enter into combination with others, as above;---3. The importance of the consequences, with which the gratification of it is liable to be attended;---4. The variety of ways, in which the interests of different persons are liable to be put in opposition to each other, by the force of it. 1. Of two rivals, each is thus, by the interest correspondent to this desire, prompted to vent his antipathy against his opponent, by whatsoever names of reproach he can find applicable. 2. Husbands find themselves annoyed by it in the persons of Gallants: and so, in a corresponding manner, Wives. 3. Parents and other Guardians, in the persons of their Wards. 4. Legislators, Moralists, and Divines, finding it operating, to so great an extent, and with so efficient a force, in opposition to their views and endeavours, make unceasing war upon it. The corresponding compound or mixed desire (love), being protected by its necessity to the preservation of the species, and thence by public opinion, the form of invective is by this means directed exclusively against the simple desire; which however is not only the basis, but the indispensably necessary basis, of the whole compound.

V. Case 5. Neutral abundant.---Instances, none.---Cause or Reason. Seldom, comparatively speaking, has a man occasion to speak of a motive as operating, or of a desire, &c. as having place, in any human breast---whether his own or any other---without feeling an interest in presenting it either to the approbation or to the disapprobation of those for whose ear or eye his discourse is intended.

VI. Case 6. Neutral wanting.---Instances, many: understand single-worded appellatives, which are the only ones here in question: viz. (No. 2.) Sexual desire:---(No. 3.) Physical desire in general:---(No. 4.) Love of money, or rather of the matter of wealth:---(No. 5.) Love of power;---unless Ambition, as well as Aspiringness, be regarded as purely neutral:---(No. 6.) Desire of Amity:---(No. 7.) Regard for reputation:---(No. 12.) Love of Ease:---(No. 14.) The desire corresponding to Personal interest at large.

VII. Case 7. Eulogistic and Dyslogistic, both abundant.---Instance. (No. 4.) Love of the matter of wealth.---Cause or Reason. Under the two respective heads, indication has, in some measure, been already given of it. What remains to be given is---an indication of the different circumstances in which judgments thus opposite, the judgment having moreover in each case emotion for its not unfrequent accompaniment,---take their rise.

1. As to disbursement and non-disbursement, in so far as acquisition has already taken place. Some persons there will commonly be, connected with the person in question, by this or that circumstance, the effect of which has been to render it their interest, that in this or that particular way, on this or that particular occasion, he should disburse: in speaking of disbursement, by these it is that appellatives of the eulogistic cast will naturally have been employed:---so, on the other hand, in speaking of non-disbursement, appellatives of the dyslogistic cast. Others there will have been, by whose connection with that same person it will have been rendered their interest, that, in the way in question, or the occasion in question, he should not disburse: in speaking of non-disbursement, by these it is that appellatives of the eulogistic cast will naturally have been employed: in speaking of disbursement, appellatives of the dyslogistic cast.

2. As to acquisition and non-acquisition. Rivality and competition of interests apart, generally speaking, of those who, by any tie, whether of self-regarding interest or sympathy, are more or less intimately connected, or disposed to be connected, with the party in question, it is the interest, that the quantity of the matter of wealth possessed by him---(of wealth, of which an inseparable accompaniment is power)---and thence that the quantity of it acquired by him should at all times be as great as possible. But, so far as concerns acquisition, finding that operation, necessary as it is to human existence, loaded notwithstanding, to wit, by the influence of the above-mentioned causes, with the sort of reproach involved in the import of the several articles, in the long list of dyslogistic appellatives exhibited in the Table,---and at the same time not provided with eulogistic, nor so much as with neutral appellatives,---thence, in their endeavours to obtain for it the approbation of their hearers or readers,---and for that purpose to elude the force of the dyslogistic appellatives, which in a manner lie in wait for it, unable to find for the desire in question any appellative, which, by its eulogistic quality, would be rendered applicable to their purpose,---men put aside that species of desire, and look out for some other, which, being furnished with eulogistic appellatives, shall, at the same time, be nearly enough resembling to it, or connected with it, to be made to pass instead of it. Under these circumstances, labour being necessary to the acquisition of wealth, and at the same time equally necessary to the preservation of existence, thus it is that, disguised under the name of desire of labour, the desire of wealth has been, in some measure, preserved from the reproach which, with so much profusion, has been wont to be cast upon it, when viewed in a direct point of view, and under its own name.

Meantime, as to labour, although the desire of it---of labour simply---desire of labour for the sake of labour,---of labour considered in the character of an end, without any view to any thing else, is a sort of desire that seems scarcely to have place in the human breast; yet, if considered in the character of a means, scarce a desire can be found, to the gratification of which labour, and therein the desire of labour, is not continually rendered subservient: hence again it is, that, when abstraction is made of the consideration of the end, there scarcely exists a desire, the name of which has been so apt to be employed for eulogistic purposes, and thence to contract an eulogistic signification, as the appellative that has been employed in bringing to view this desire of labour. Industry is this appellative: and thus it is, that, under another name, the desire of wealth has been furnished with a sort of letter of recommendation, which, under its own name, could not have been given to it.

Aversion---not desire---is the emotion---the only emotion---which labour, taken by itself, is qualified to produce; of any such emotion as love or desire, ease, which is the negative or absence of labour---ease, not labour---is the object. In so far as labour is taken in its proper sense, love of labour is a contradiction in terms.

Frugality, economy,---these, it is true, are eulogistic terms; but by these, preservation of the quantity of wealth acquired,---preservation only, not acquisition,---is the thing indicated. Add to the above the terms thrift and thriftiness: for if, in the import of these two latter terms, acquisition be in any way included, it is only in a confined way, and, as in the before-mentioned cases, as it were by stealth. Insinuated it is; declared it can scarce be said to be. To thrive is the property---the physical property---of a plant or an inferior species of animal. Applied to a human being---employed in a psychological sense---it is indicative of prosperity in general---of happiness in general;---and not in the shape of any particular pleasure, reaped in and from the gratification of the correspondent particular desire.

VIII. Case 8. Eulogistic appellatives how supplied.---In some instances, in default of a single-worded one, many-worded appellatives of the eulogistic cast may be formed, by adding, to a neutral, or but faintly dyslogistic appellative, an eulogistic adjunct.---Examples:

1. (No. 3.) Dyslogistic appellative, sensuality: eulogistic adjunct, refined. 2. Neutral, though but faintly dyslogistic appellative, luxury: eulogistic adjunct, elegant: and note in this view the phrase luxury of beneficence, 3. (No. 5.) Neutral, or but faintly dyslogistic appellative, ambition: eulogistic adjunct, honest, generous, noble, laudable, virtuous, &c. 4. (No. 7.) Dyslogistic appellative, pride: eulogistic adjunct, honest, generous, &c. as above.

N. B. Some instances there are, in which the quantity of odium heaped upon the desire by this or that dyslogistic appellative, is so great, as not to be overbalanced or so much as counterbalanced by any eulogistic adjunct that can be set in the scale against it. By any such additament, the expression would be made to wear the appearance of a self-contradictory one.---Examples: (No. 1.) Dyslogistic appellatives, gluttony, drunkenness. (No. 2.) Dyslogistic appellatives, lewdness, &c. (No. 7.) Dyslogistic appellative, servility (No. 11.) Neutral appellative, antipathy: dyslogistic appellative, malignity, In company with none of these would any such epithets as honest, generous, noble, virtuous, laudable, &c. be found endurable.

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