Emanuel Derman (here) draws a nice similarity between how Spinoza in his ‘Ethics’ approached human emotion as Euclid approached geometry :
- Defining three Primitives and ( Pain (sorrow) , Pleasure (joy) , and Desire ) and then proceeded to
- Defining emotions in their relation to their primitives. These definitions are nicely illustrated in the diagram below.
So in this sense , we can start defining some emotions in terms of these three primitives :
- Love (Hate) : Pleasure (Pain) accompanied with the idea of external cause
- Sympathy : Pleasure (Pain) from another’s Pleasure (Pain)
- Fear (Hope) : Expectation of Pain (Pleasure) tinged with Doubt
You can also see some more definitions here : http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/spinozasemotions.html
It is valuable to have an understanding of the different emotions that affect us… This point is also stressed in the two books by Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence and The New Leaders) … Being aware of our emtions and how they influence us (self awareness), and of how to control our reactions (self control) are pillars of emotional intelligence, and are studied heavily in those two books.
Interesting and related (not directly) table :
Lövheim Cube of emotion : Some Basic Emotions and the corresponding Levels of some neurotransmitters