Consternation and exams, learning and disdain

Spinoza writes:

..if it (sic: wonder) is aroused in an object we fear, it is called consternation, because wonder at an evil keeps a man suspended in considering it that he cannot think of other things by which he could avoid that evil. (p. 97)

I envision that a teacher will want to provide students with opportunities to gain adequate ideas about the affect of consternation. I have encountered many students are affected by it; they have expressed consternation about exams, which, for many of them, are “singular” things which they fear and can’t but think of strategies for avoiding that “exam consternation”, and this blinds them towards learning what they need to learn. Instead their consternation can cause them to learn the content they believe they need to know for the exam “by rote”, rather than internalising it and “genuinely” learning it. Or it can mean that they reject any opportunity to learn it in any form at all because their consternation means that they don’t want to think about it at all.

Learning and Disdain

The teacher needs to avoid presenting students with objects of learning which invite “disdain”; this is when the learner’s mind is “touched so little that the things presence moves the mind to imagining more to imagining more what is not in it than what is” (pp. 105, Def. V). In other words, the content of the object of learning provokes thoughts about other things, allowing the mind to drift.

This said, a teacher needs to be aware that when his/her students may be feeling “disdain”, and consider the reasons why it may be happening.

Journey into Joy

When have you had the “imagination” of “disdain”? Why did you have this imagination? What do you think of Spinoza’s definition of it, i.e. do you think he’s right in saying it’s not really a “feeling” but an “inadequate idea”?

Advertisements

Desires chart

I had toyed with the idea of labelling what is now “Desire 1” Positive Desires, “Desire 2” Neutral Desires, and “Desire 3” Negative Desires, but drew back because

Desire 1 Desire 2 Desire 3
Longing is a desire, or appetite, to possess something which is encouraged by the memory of that thing, and at the same time restrained by the memory of other things which exclude the existence of the thing wanted…Longing is really a sadness which is opposed to that joy which arises from the absence of a thing we hate (P47S) (pp. 110, D XXXII) Anger is a desire by which we are spurred, from hate, to do evil to one we hate. (See P39) (pp. 111, D XXXVI)
Emulation is a desire for a thing which is generated in us because we imagine that others have the same desire. (pp. 110, D XXXIII) Vengeance is a desire, by which, from reciprocal hate, we are roused to do evil to one who, from a like affect, has injured us. (See P40C and P40CS.) (pp. 111, D XXXVII)
Thankfulness, or gratitude, is a desire, or eagerness of love by which we strive to benefit one who has benefited us from a like affect of love (P39 and P41S) (pp. 110, D XXXIV) Cruelty, or severity, is a desire by which someone is roused to do evil to one whom we love or pity. (pp. 111, D XXXVIII)
Benevolence is a desire to benefit one whom we pity (SeeP27S). (pp. 110, D XXXV) Timidity is a desire to avoid a greater evil, which we fear, by a lesser one. (pp. 111, D XXXIX)
Daring is a desire by which someone is spurred to do something dangerous which his equals fear to take on themselves. (pp. 111, D XL) Consternation is attributed to one whose desire to avoid an evil is restrained by wonder at the evil he fears…is a species of cowardice. But because consternation arises from a double timidity, it can be more conveniently defined as a fear which keeps a man senseless or vacillating so that he cannot avert evil. (pp. 111, D XLII). Cowardice is ascribed to one whose desire is restrained by timidity regarding a danger which his equals dare to take on themselves. (pp. 111, D XLI)
Human kindness, or courtesy, is a desire to do what pleases men and not do what displeases them. (pp. 111, D XLIII)   Ambition is an excessive desire for esteem. Exp: Ambition is a desire by which all the affects are encouraged and strengthened (by P27 and P31)…For as long as a man is bound by any desire, he must at the same time by bound by this one. (pp. 111, D XIV)
No opposite to Gluttony in Spinoza’s view.   Gluttony is an immoderate desire for and love of eating. (pp. 111, D XLV)
No opposite to Drunkeness in Spinoza’s view.   Drunkenness is an immoderate desire for and love of drinking. (pp. 111, D XLVI)

 

FG: Drunkenness decreases your power while giving you the idea that you’ve increased it.

No opposite to Greed in Spinoza’s view.   Greed is an immoderate desire for and love of wealth. (pp. 111, D XLVII)
No opposite to Lust in Spinoza’s view.   Lust is also a desire for and love joining one body to another. (pp. 112, D XLVIII)

Defining the affects: Spinoza’s aphorisms

LEARNING AND EMULATION
Emulation is a desire for a thing which is generated in us because we imagine that others have the same desire. (pp. 110, D XXXIII)

LEARNING, DESIRE AND LONGING
Longing is really a sadness which is opposed to that joy which arises from the absence of a thing we hate (P47S) (pp. 110, D XXXII)
Longing is a desire, or appetite, to possess something which is encouraged by the memory of that thing, and at the same time restrained by the memory of other things which exclude the existence of the thing wanted…

LEARNING, DESIRE AND THANKFULNESS
Thankfulness, or gratitude, is a desire, or eagerness of love by which we strive to benefit one who has benefited us from a like affect of love (P39 and P41S) (pp. 110, D XXXIV)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND BENEVOLENCE
Benevolence is a desire to benefit one whom we pity (SeeP27S). (pp. 110, D XXXV)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND DARING
Daring is a desire by which someone is spurred to do something dangerous which his equals fear to take on themselves. (pp. 111, D XL)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND HUMAN KINDNESS
Human kindness, or courtesy, is a desire to do what pleases men and not do what displeases them. (pp. 111, D XLIII)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND CONSTERNATION
Consternation is attributed to one whose desire to avoid an evil is restrained by wonder at the evil he fears…is a species of cowardice. But because consternation arises from a double timidity, it can be more conveniently defined as a fear which keeps a man senseless or vacillating so that he cannot avert evil. (pp. 111, D XLII).
LEARNING, DESIRE AND ANGER
Anger is a desire by which we are spurred, from hate, to do evil to one we hate. (See P39) (pp. 111, D XXXVI)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND VENGEANCE
Vengeance is a desire, by which, from reciprocal hate, we are roused to do evil to one who, from a like affect, has injured us. (See P40C and P40CS.) (pp. 111, D XXXVII)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND CRUELTY
Cruelty, or severity, is a desire by which someone is roused to do evil to one whom we love or pity. (pp. 111, D XXXVIII)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND TIMIDITY
Timidity is a desire to avoid a greater evil, which we fear, by a lesser one. (pp. 111, D XXXIX)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND COWARDICE
Cowardice is ascribed to one whose desire is restrained by timidity regarding a danger which his equals dare to take on themselves. (pp. 111, D XLI)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND AMBITION
Ambition is an excessive desire for esteem. Exp: Ambition is a desire by which all the affects are encouraged and strengthened (by P27 and P31)…For as long as a man is bound by any desire, he must at the same time by bound by this one. (pp. 111, D XIV)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND GLUTTONY
Gluttony is an immoderate desire for and love of eating. (pp. 111, D XLV)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND DRUNKENNESS
Drunkenness is an immoderate desire for and love of drinking. (pp. 111, D XLVI)

LEARNING, DESIRE AND GREED
Greed is an immoderate desire for and love of wealth. (pp. 111, D XLVII)
LEARNING, DESIRE AND LOVE
Lust is also a desire for and love joining one body to another. (pp. 112, D XLVIII)