Link to Spinoza's Ethics



Translation © George MacDonald Ross, 1999

1. Monads, which I am going to talk about here, are nothing other than simple substances which make up compounds. By ‘simple’ I mean ‘without parts’.

2. There must be simple substances, since there are compounds; and compounds are nothing other than heaps or aggregates of simples.

3. Extension, shape, and divisibility are possible only where there are parts. So these monads are the genuine atoms of Nature, and (in a word) the elements of things.

4. Furthermore, there is no question of their being broken up, and there is no conceivable way in which a simple substance could naturally cease to exist.

5. For the same reason, there is no conceivable way in which any simple substance could naturally come into being, since it could not be put together out of parts.

6. So you can say that monads can only come in or out of being all at once. In other words, they can come into being only by creation, and go out of being only by annihilation. By contrast, compounds come in our out of being through their parts.

7. In addition, there is no way of explaining how a monad could be internally altered or changed by some other created being. The reason is that there is nothing which can be moved from one position to another, and it is impossible to conceive of any internal motion, which could be set up, redirected, increased, or diminished inside it. By contrast, this is possible in compounds, since they have parts which can change position. Monads have no windows to let anything in or out by. Accidents cannot detach themselves from substances, or travel around independently of them, as the ‘sensible species’ of the scholastics used to do. Consequently, neither substances nor accidents can get into a monad from outside.

8. On the other hand, monads must have some qualities, otherwise they wouldn’t be beings at all. And if simple substances didn’t have different qualities, there would be no way in which we could become conscious of any change in things. This is because whatever there is in compounds can only come from their simple ingredients. But if monads were without qualities, it would be impossible to distinguish one from another, since they are not quantitatively different either. Given that there is no empty space, this has the consequence that, whenever there was any motion, it would always be the case that each part of space only received a motion which was equivalent to the motion it had before. So it follows that the one state of things would be indiscernible from the other.

9. It is even necessary for every monad to be different from every other monad. For in Nature there are never two beings which are perfectly similar to each other, and where it is impossible to find any internal difference — that is, a difference grounded in an intrinsic denomination.

10. I also take it as agreed that every created being is subject to change. Consequently, this is also true of every created monad, and even that this change is continuous in each of them.

11. It follows from what I have just said, that the natural changes to which monads are subject come from an internal principle, since no external cause could influence the inside of a monad.

12. But in addition to the principle of change, there must also be a precise specification of that which changes; and this precise specification, so to speak, individualises simple substances, and makes them different from each other.

13. This precise specification must include a multiplicity within a unity (or something simple). For since every natural change happens gradually, something changes and something remains. Consequently, a simple substance must contain a multiplicity of affections and relations, even though it does not contain any parts.

14. The transitory state which includes and represents a multiplicity within a unity (or simple substance) is nothing other than what is called perception. However, this must be clearly distinguished from apperception or consciousness, as will appear later. The Cartesians went seriously wrong here, since they did not recognise the existence of unconscious perceptions. It is also what led them to believe that only rational beings were monads, and that there were no animal souls or other entelechies. Again, it made them confuse a long state of unconsciousness with death in the strict sense (like ordinary folk); which also led them into the scholastic prejudice of souls entirely separate from bodies, and even reinforced the opinion of some people with twisted minds that souls are mortal.

15. The action of the internal principle which brings about change (i.e. the transition from one perception to another) can be called appetition. It is true that appetite cannot always completely attain the whole perception it is aiming for, but it always obtains something of it, and arrives at new perceptions.

16. We ourselves experience a multiplicity in a simple substance, when we find that the least thought of which we are conscious includes a variegation within its object. So anyone who accepts that the soul is a simple substance must accept this multiplicity within the monad. Bayle should not find any difficulty over this, as he does in his Dictionary, in the article on Rorarius.

17. Besides, it must be admitted that perception, and anything that depends on it, cannot be explained in terms of mechanistic causation — that is, in terms of shapes and motions. Let us pretend that there was a machine, which was constructed in such a way as to give rise to thinking, sensing, and having perceptions. You could imagine it expanded in size (while retaining the same proportions), so that you could go inside it, like going into a mill. On this assumption, your tour inside it would show you the working parts pushing each other, but never anything which would explain a perception. So perception is to be sought, not in compounds (or machines), but in simple substances. Furthermore, there is nothing to be found in simple substances, apart from perceptions and their changes. Again, all the internal actions of simple substances can consist in nothing other than perceptions and their changes.

18. You could call all simple substances, or created monads, entelechies, since they have within themselves a certain perfection (echousi to enteles [in Greek]). There is a certain self-sufficiency (autarkeia), which makes them the source of their internal actions, and (so to speak) incorporeal automata.

19. If we are willing to give the name ‘soul’ to everything which has perceptions and appetites (in the general sense I have just explained), then all created simple substances (monads) could be called ‘souls’. But since sensation is something more than simple perception, I am prepared to accept that the general name ‘monad’ or ‘entelechy’ is sufficient for simple substances which only have simple perceptions, and that we should reserve the name ‘soul’ for those which have more distinct perceptions accompanied by memory.

20. We experience within ourselves a state in which we remember nothing, and have no distinct perceptions — for example, when we fall into a faint, or are overcome by a deep sleep without any dreams. In this state, the soul is not discernibly different from a simple monad. But the soul is something more than a simple substance, since this state does not persist, and the soul can emerge from it.

21. It certainly does not follow that simple substances are without any perceptions. This is not even possible, for the reasons I have already given. Simple substances cannot cease to exist; but it is also the case that they cannot continue to exist without some affections, which are nothing other than their perceptions. However, when there is a large number of little perceptions, with nothing distinguished from anything else, we are in a state of unconsciousness. For example, if we keep on spinning round in the same direction many times without stopping, we suffer from a dizziness which can make us faint, and prevent us from distinguishing anything. Death can temporarily put animals into this state.

22. In the natural course of events, every present state of a simple substance is the consequence of its preceding state; and similarly its present state is pregnant with the future.

23. When you wake out of a period of unconsciousness, you become conscious of your perceptions. Consequently, you must have been perceiving before (even though you were not conscious of the fact), since, in the natural course of events, a perception can only arise from a previous perception — just as, in the natural course of events, a motion can only arise from a previous motion.

24. From this, you can see that we would be in a perpetual state of unconsciousness, if our perceptions contained nothing distinct, or (so to speak) highlighted, or spicier. And this is the state which completely bare monads are in.

25. We also see that Nature has given heightened perceptions to animals, through the care it has taken to supply them with sense organs, which bring together many rays of light or waves in the air, to make them more effective by being united. There is something similar in the senses of smell, taste, and touch, and perhaps also many other senses which are unknown to us. I shall shortly explain how what happens in the soul represents what occurs in the sense organs.

26. Memory supplies souls with a sort of following of one thing from another, which imitates reasoning, but which must be distinguished from it. It is like this. We see that, if animals have had a previous perception of something which struck them forcibly, when they later have a similar perception, the representation of it in their memory leads them to expect whatever was associated with it in the earlier perception, and to have feelings similar to the ones they had before. For example, when you show dogs the stick, they remember the pain it has caused them, and they bark or run away.

27. Imagery powerful enough to strike them forcibly and rouse them to activity, is the result either of the strength or of the number of the preceding perceptions. Often a single powerful impression has the same effect immediately, as the effect of a long habituation, that is, the repetition of many weaker perceptions.

28. People behave in the same way as animals in so far as the following of one perception from another occurs only in accordance with the principle of memory. They are like the doctors of the empirical school of medicine, who rely on practical experience alone, without any theorising. Three-quarters of the time, our behaviour is purely like that of the empiricists. For example, when we expect the sun to rise tomorrow, we are behaving as empiricists, since that is what has always happened up till now. It is only astronomers who come to this judgment on the basis of reasoning.

29. But it is knowledge of necessary and eternal truths which distinguishes us from mere animals, and which gives us reason and the sciences, by elevating us to knowledge of ourselves and of God. This is what in us is called the ‘rational soul’, or spirit.

30. It is also through the knowledge of necessary truths and what can be abstracted from them that we are raised to acts of reflection, which make us think of what is called the self, and to consider that this or that is in us. It is thus that, in thinking of ourselves, we think of being, of substance, of the simple and the compound, of the immaterial, and even of God, by forming a conception of what is limited within us, and without limits in him. These acts of reflection provide us with the primary objects of our reasonings.

31. Our reasonings are grounded on two great principles. One is the principle of contradiction, by virtue of which we judge false anything which involves a contradiction, and true anything which is the opposite or contradictory of the false.

32. The other is the principle of sufficient reason, by virtue of which we consider that no fact could be found to be genuine or existent, and no assertion true, without there being a sufficient reason why it is thus and not otherwise — even though we usually cannot know what these reasons are.

33. There are also two sorts of truths: those of reasoning and those of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary, and their opposite is impossible; and those of fact are contingent, and their opposite is possible. When a truth is necessary, you can find the reason by analysis, breaking it down into simpler ideas and truths, until you reach primary ones.

34. This is how mathematicians use analysis to reduce theorems about what is true, and rules for constructions, to definitions, axioms, and postulates.

35. Finally, there are simple ideas which cannot be defined; and there are also axioms and postulates — in a word, primary principles — which cannot be proved, and also do not need to be proved, since they are assertions of identity, of which the opposite contains an explicit contradiction.

36. But the sufficient reason must also be found in contingent truths, or truths of fact — that is to say, in the series of the things spread over the created universe. Here, because of the immense variety of things in Nature, and because of the infinite division of body, the analysis into particular reasons could get more and more detailed without limit. An infinity of shapes and motions, present and past, come into the efficient cause of my present writing, and an infinity of tiny inclinations and dispositions of my soul, present and past, come into its final cause.

37. And since all this detail only includes other contingent things (whether previous or even more detailed), and since each of these still needs a similar analysis to find the reason for it, no progress has been made. So the sufficient or ultimate reason must lie outside the sequence or series of these more and more detailed contingent things, however infinite it could be.

38. This is why the ultimate reason for things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the detail of changes exists only eminently, as in their source — and this is what we call ‘God’.

39. Now since this substance is a sufficient reason for all this detail, which is also completely interconnected, there is only one God, and this God is sufficient.

40. It can also be concluded that, since this Supreme Substance (which is unique, universal, and necessary) has nothing outside itself which could be independent of it, and since it is the simple consequence of possible being, then it must be incapable of having any limits, and must contain absolutely as much reality as is possible

41. From which it follows that God is absolutely perfect, since perfection is nothing other than magnitude of positive reality, taken in the precise sense of setting aside the limits or restrictions of things which are limited. And where there are no limits (i.e. in God), perfection is absolutely infinite.

42. It also follows that created things have their perfections infused into them by God, but that they owe their imperfections to their own nature, which is incapable of being unlimited. For this is what makes them distinct from God. This original imperfection of created things is evidenced by the natural inertia of bodies.

43. It is also true that God is not only the source of existences, but also of essences in so far as they are real — that is, he is the source of what reality there is in possibility. This is because God’s understanding is where eternal truths are located, or where the ideas on which they depend are. Without him, there would be no reality in possibilities, and not only would nothing exist, but nothing would even be possible.

44. For if there is any reality in essences or possibilities, or even in eternal truths, this reality must be grounded in something existent and actual, and consequently in the existence of the necessary being, in which essence includes existence, or which is such that its being possible is sufficient for its being actual.

45. Thus only God (or the necessary being) has this privilege, that he must exist if he is possible. And since nothing can prevent the possibility of that which includes no limits, no negation, and hence no contradiction, this alone is enough for us to know apriori that God exists. We have also proved his existence from the reality of eternal truths. But we have also just proved it aposteriori, since contingent beings exist, and they could only have their ultimate or sufficient reason in the necessary being, who has the reason for their existence in himself.

46. Meanwhile, one must not imagine (as some have) that, since eternal truths depend on God, they are arbitrary, and depend on his will. This is how Descartes seems to have taken it, and subsequently Mr Poiret. It is only true of contingent truths, which depend on the principle of harmony, or the choice of the best; whereas necessary truths depend solely on his understanding, of which they are the internal object.

47. This God alone is the primary unity, or the original simple substance, which produces all created or derivative monads. To speak figuratively, they are born from one moment to the next by continual flashes of lightening from the divinity; and they are limited by the receptivity of that which is created, which is essentially bounded.

48. In God there is power, which is the source of everything; then there is knowledge, which contains the detailed system of ideas; and finally will, which changes or produces things in accordance with the principle of the best. These correspond to what there is in created monads: the subject or basis, the faculty of perception, and the faculty of appetition. But in God these attributes are absolutely infinite, or perfect; whereas in created monads or entelechies (or ‘perfection-havers’, as Ermolao Barbaro translated this word) they are only imitations, which are closer the more perfection they have.

49. Created beings are said to act externally in so far as they have perfection, and to be acted upon by another in so far as they are imperfect. Thus activity is attributed to monads in so far as their perceptions are distinct, and passivity in so far as their perceptions are confused.

50. One created being is more perfect than another in that it contains what is used to explain apriori what happens in the other; and this is why it is said to act on the other.

51. But among simple substances there is only an ideal influence of one monad on another. It can have its effect only by the intervention of God. What happens is that, right from the beginning of things, among God’s ideas, one monad has reason to demand that he pays attention to it when organising the others. For since one created monad could not have any physical influence on the interior of another, this is the only means by which the one can have any dependence on the other.

52. This is how activity and passivity is mutual between created beings. For when God compares two simple substances, he finds reasons in each of them which oblige him to accommodate the one to the other. Consequently, what is active in certain respects is passive from a different point of view. A created being is active in so far as what is known distinctly in it provides the reason for what happens in another created substance; and it is passive in so far as the reason for what happens in it is found in what is known distinctly in another.

53. Now, since there is an infinity of possible universes among God’s ideas, and only one of them can exist, there must be a sufficient reason for God’s choice, which determines him to the one rather than to the other.

54. This reason can be found only in harmony, or the degrees of perfection which these worlds contain, since each possible world has the right to claim existence in proportion to the perfection it includes. Thus nothing is entirely arbitrary.

55. This is the cause of the existence of the best, which his wisdom makes him know, which is goodness makes him choose, and which his power makes him produce.

56. Now this interconnectedness, or this accommodation of all created things to each, and of each to all the rest, means that each simple substance has relations to all the others, which it expresses. Consequently, it is a permanent living mirror of the universe.

57. The same town looked at from different angles appears completely different, and is, as it were, multiplied perspectively. In the same way, it emerges that, because of the infinite number of simple substances, there seem to be as many different universes as there are substances. However, these are only different perspectives on a single universe, according to the different points of view of each monad.

58. This is the means for obtaining as much variety as possible, but with the greatest order as possible. In other words, it is the means for obtaining as much perfection as possible.

59. This is the only hypothesis (although I think I have demonstrated its truth) which gives proper recognition to the greatness of God. Mr Bayle recognises the fact when he criticises it in the article on Rorarius in his Dictionary. He even says he is tempted to believe that I attribute too much to God, and more than is possible. But he cannot cite any reason for the impossibility of this universal harmony, which brings it about that every substance precisely expresses all other substances through the relations it has to them.

60. Besides, what I have just said provides the apriori reasons why things could not happen in any other way. In organising the whole, God paid attention to each part, and in particular to each monad. Since the nature of monads is to represent things, nothing could restrict them to representing only a selection from things. It is true that this representation is merely a confused representation as far as the details of the universe as a whole is concerned, and that it can be distinct only over a very limited range of things. In other words, monads have distinct representations only of the things which are closest to them, or relatively large. If this were not the case, each monad would be a divinity. Monads are not limited with respect to the objects of their knowledge, but with respect to the modes of their knowledge of their objects. All of them penetrate to infinity, or to the whole — but confusedly. What makes them finite, and distinguishes one from another, is the variation in their distinct perceptions.

61. In this respect, compounds are analogous to simples. The fact that there is no vacuum means that the whole of matter is interconnected. Each body is affected by its neighbours, and in one way or another it registers everything which happens to them. But in a plenum, every motion has some effect on distant bodies in proportion to its distance. So each body also registers what happens to its neighbours’ neighbours, through their mediation. It follows that this communication extends to any distance whatever. Consequently, all bodies register everything which happens in the universe — so much so, that someone who could see everything could read off from any individual what is happening everywhere, and even what happened in the past, and what will happen in the future. What is distant in time and place is observable in the here and now. As Hippocrates said, ‘Everything breathes together.’ But a soul can read in itself only what is represented there distinctly. It cannot suddenly unfold all that is folded within it, since it extends to infinity.

62. So although each created monad represents the whole universe, it represents more distinctly the body which is especially involved with it, and of which it constitutes the entelechy. And just as this body expresses the whole universe by virtue of the interconnectedness of all matter in the plenum, the soul also represents the whole universe, by virtue of representing this body which belongs to it in a special way.

63. The monad to which a body belongs is either an entelechy or a soul. If it belongs to an entelechy, the combination can be called a living being; and if it belongs to a soul, the combination can be called an animal. Now this body of a living being or of an animal is always organic. The reason is that, since each monad is a mirror of the universe in its own unique way, and since the universe is arranged with a perfect orderliness, there must be the same orderliness in that which represents it — in other words, in the perceptions of the soul, and consequently in the body, since the representation of the universe in the soul follows that which is in the body.

64. Thus the organic body of each living being is a sort of divine machine, or a natural automaton, which is infinitely superior to any manufactured automaton. This is because a machine made by human technology is not a machine in each of its parts. For example, the tooth of a brass cog wheel has parts or smaller bits; but as far as we are concerned, these are no longer something manufactured, and no longer have any anything which characterises them as a machine in relation to the intended function of the wheel. But machines of nature, that is to say living bodies, are still machines in their smallest parts right down to infinity. This is what makes the difference between nature and technology — that is to say, between divine and human technology.

65. The Author of Nature was able to apply this divine and infinitely wonderful technology because each portion of matter is not only divisible to infinity (as the ancients recognised) but also actually sub-divided without end — each part divided into parts, of which each has some motion of its own. If this were not so, it would be impossible for each portion of matter to express the whole universe.

66. From this you can see that there is a world of created things — living beings, animals, entelechies, souls — in the smallest part of matter.

67. Each portion of matter can be conceived as like a garden full of plants, or like a pond full of fish. But each branch of a plant, each organ of an animal, each drop of its bodily fluids is also a similar garden or a similar pond.

68. And although the earth and the air separating the plants in the garden, or the water separating the fish in the pond, are neither plant nor fish, yet they still contain them — though they are usually far too small for us to be able to perceive them.

69. Thus there is nothing uncultivated, sterile, or dead in the universe. If anywhere seems empty or confused, this is mere appearance. It is rather like how a pond might appear from a distance: you see a confused motion, and, so to speak, a threshing around of fish in the pond, without being able to make out the fish themselves.

70. You can see from this that each living body has a dominant entelechy, which is the soul in the case of an animal. But the parts of this living body are full of other living beings, plants, animals, of which each in its turn has its own dominant entelechy or soul.

71. But you mustn’t suppose (along with some who have misunderstood my thoughts) that each soul has a hunk or portion of matter, which is peculiar to it and assigned to it for ever, and consequently that it possesses other, inferior living beings which are permanently devoted to its service. All bodies are perpetually changing, like rivers; and particles join and leave them all the time.

72. Thus the soul changes its body only gradually and by degrees, so that it is never deprived of all its organs at one go. Animals often undergo metamorphosis, but never metempsychosis; nor is there any transmigration of souls. No more are there any completely separate souls, or superhuman beings without bodies. Only God is entirely detached from body.

73. This is also why there is never any generation from absolutely nothing, or complete death, taken in the strict sense of separation of the soul from the body. What we call ‘generation’ is unfolding and growth; just as what we call ‘death’ is infolding and shrinkage.

74. Scientists have had great difficulties over the origin of forms, entelechies or souls. But now that meticulous research has been carried out on plants, insects, and animals, it has been recognised that naturally organic bodies are never the product of gas or rotting, but always of seeds, which undoubtedly contain some sort of preformation. The conclusion has been drawn that, not only does the organic body already exist before conception, but also a soul in this body — in a word, the animal itself. The only function of conception is to precipitate a major transformation, so that the animal becomes an animal of a different species. Even outside the process of generation, something similar is observed when maggots become flies, or caterpillars become butterflies.

75. We can give the name ‘seminal animals’ to the animals of which some are elevated to the status of macroscopic animals by means of conception. Nevertheless, the majority of them remain within their species, and are born, reproduce, and die, just like macroscopic animals. It is only the chosen few who pass through to a larger theatre.

76. But this is only half the truth. My conclusion is that, if the laws of nature mean that animals can never come into being out of nothing, they can no more return to nothing. Not only is there no coming into being, but there is no complete going out of being, or death in the strict sense. These aposteriori arguments drawn from observations are in perfect agreement with the principles I deduced a priori, above.

77. So it can be said that, not only is the soul indestructible, as the mirror of an indestructible universe, but even the animal itself — although its machine often partially dies, and loses or acquires organic coverings.

78. These principles have given me a way of providing a natural explanation of the union (or rather the mutual correspondence) of the soul and the organic body. The soul and the body each follow their own laws, and they coincide by virtue of the pre-established harmony between all substances, since they are all representations of one and the same universe.

79. Souls act in accordance with the laws of final causes, through appetitions, ends, and means. Bodies act in accordance with the laws of efficient causes, or motions. And the two realms — that of efficient causes, and that of final causes — are in harmony with each other.

80. Descartes recognised that souls could not transfer any energy to bodies, since there is always the same quantity of energy in matter. Nevertheless, he believed that the soul could change the direction of motion of bodies. But this is only because, in his day, no-one had yet discovered the law of nature, according to which, not only the total quantity of motion in matter is constant, but also the total quantity in a given direction. If he had noticed this, he would have stumbled upon my system of pre-established harmony.

81. This system means that bodies act as if there were no souls (even though this impossible); and that souls act as if there were no bodies; and that the two act as if there were an influence of the one upon the other.

82. As for spirits or rational souls, I find that, fundamentally, the same is true of all living beings and animals. As I have just said, the animal and the soul come into being at the beginning of the world, and no more go out of being than the world itself. Nevertheless, rational souls do have a special status. As long as their tiny seminal animals continue in their lower status, they have merely ordinary or sensitive souls. But as soon as those which are (so to speak) chosen attain human nature through an act of conception, their sensitive souls are elevated to the rank of reason, and to the privileges of spirits.

83. Among the other differences which there are between ordinary souls and spirits (of which I have already given a partial account), there is also this difference, that souls in general are living mirrors or images of the universe of created things, but that spirits are also images of the divinity itself, or of the Author of Nature himself. They are capable of knowing the system of the universe, and can imitate it to a certain extent through their own small-scale constructions, since each spirit is like a minor deity in its own sphere of authority.

84. This is what makes spirits capable of entering into a kind of social relationship with God. God’s relation to spirits is not merely that of an engineer to his machine (as is God’s relation to other created beings), but also that of a king to his subjects, and even that of a father to his children.

85. From this it is easy to conclude that the congregation of all spirits must constitute the City of God — that is to say, the most perfect state possible under the most perfect of monarchs.

86. This City of God, this truly universal monarchy, is a moral world within the natural world. It is the most sublime and divine of God’s creations, and it is what God’s glory truly consists in, since there would be no glory if his greatness and his goodness were not known and admired by spirits. Furthermore, it is only in relation to this divine city that God has any goodness, strictly speaking, whereas his wisdom and his power are manifest everywhere.

87. I have already established that there is a perfect harmony between two natural realms: the realm of efficient causes, and the realm of final causes. Here I must note yet another harmony between the physical realm of nature, and the moral realm of grace — that is to say, between God considered as the designer of the machine of the universe, and God considered as the monarch of the divine city of spirits.

88. This harmony means that things lead to grace by means of nature itself. For example, the Earth must be destroyed and restored by natural means, as and when it is required by the government of spirits, in order to punish some, and reward others.

89. It can also be said that God as creator includes God as legislator in every respect. Consequently, sins must carry their punishment with them in accordance with the order of nature, and even by virtue of the mechanical structure of things. Similarly, good actions will attract their rewards mechanistically and in the bodily realm, even though this cannot, and does not always have to happen immediately.

90. Finally, under this perfect government there will be no good deed without its reward, and no evil one without its punishment. Everything must come out right for those who are good — that is to say, for those who are not rebels against this great state; who trust in providence after doing their duty; and who love and imitate the Author of all good as they ought to. This means deriving pleasure from contemplating his perfections, in accordance with the nature of genuine pure love, which derives pleasure from the happiness of the loved one. It is this which makes wise and virtuous people work at everything which seems to conform to the presumptive or antecedent divine will, and yet to be content with what God actually makes happen by his secret will, which is consequent and decisive. We recognise that, if we could understand the order of the universe well enough, we would find that it surpasses all the wishes of the wisest people, and that it is impossible to make it better than it is — not merely in respect of the whole in general, but also in respect of ourselves in particular. However this is so only if we have a proper relationship to the Author of everything — not merely as the engineer and efficient cause of our being, but also as our master, and the final cause which must constitute the whole aim of our will, and which alone can constitute our happiness.

Link to Spinoza's Ethics