Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 272

unless we desire to be freed from it, nor a great
_Uneasiness_ unless the consequent Desire is great.

I might here observe, how necessary a Thing in the Order and Design of
the Universe this _Pain_ or _Uneasiness_ is, and how beautiful in its
Place! Let us but suppose it just now banish'd the World entirely, and
consider the Consequence of it: All the Animal Creation would
immediately stand stock still, exactly in the Posture they were in the
Moment Uneasiness departed; not a Limb, not a Finger would henceforth
move; we should all be reduc'd to the Condition of Statues, dull and
unactive: Here I should continue to sit motionless with the Pen in my
Hand thus------and neither leave my Seat nor write one Letter more. This
may appear odd at first View, but a little Consideration will make it
evident; for 'tis impossible to assign any other Cause for the voluntary
Motion of an Animal than its _uneasiness_ in Rest. What a different
Appearance then would the Face of Nature make, without it! How necessary
is it! And how unlikely that the Inhabitants of the World ever were, or
that the Creator ever design'd they should be, exempt from it!

I would likewise observe here, that the VIIIth Proposition in the
preceding Section, viz. _That there is neither Merit nor Demerit_, &c.
is here again demonstrated, as infallibly, tho' in another manner: For
since _Freedom from Uneasiness_ is the End of all our Actions, how is it
possible for us to do any Thing disinterested?--How can any Action be
meritorious of Praise or Dispraise, Reward or Punishment, when the
natural Principle of _Self-Love_ is the only and the irresistible Motive
to it?

III. _This_ Desire _is always fulfill'd or satisfy'd_,

In the _Design_ or _End_ of it, tho' not in the _Manner_: The first is
requisite, the latter not. To exemplify this, let us make a Supposition;
A Person is confin'd in a House which appears to be in imminent Danger
of Falling, this, as soon as perceiv'd, creates a violent _Uneasiness_,
and that instantly produces an equal strong _Desire_, the _End_ of which
is _freedom from the Uneasiness_, and the _Manner_ or Way propos'd to
gain this _End_, is _to get out of the House_. Now if he is convinc'd by
any Means, that he is mistaken, and the House is not likely to fall, he
is immediately freed from his _Uneasiness_, and the _End_ of his Desire
is attain'd as well as if it had been in the _Manner_ desir'd, viz.
_leaving the House_.

All our different Desires and Passions proceed from and

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

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