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What good is desired, what not?       §43. Though this be that, which is called good and evil; and all
good be the proper object of Desire in general; yet all good, even
seen, and confessed to be so, does not necessarily move every
particular Man’s desire; but only that part, or so much of it, as is
consider’d, and taken to make a necessary part of his happiness. All
other good however great in reality, or appearance, excites not a
Man’s desires, who looks not on it to make a part of that happiness,
wherewith he, in his present thoughts, can satisfie himself. Happi-
ness, under this view, every one constantly pursues, and desires what
makes any part of it: Other things, acknowledged to be good, he
can look upon without desire; pass by, and be content without.
There is no Body, I think, so sensless as to deny, that there is
pleasure in Knowledge: And for the pleasures of Sense, they have
too many followers to let it be question’d whether Men are taken
with them or no. Now let one Man place his satisfaction in sensual
Pleasures, another in the delight of Knowledge: Though each of
them cannot but confess, there is great Pleasure in what the other
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pursues; yet neither of them making the other’s delight a part of his
happiness, their desires are not moved, but each is satisfied without
what the other enjoys, and so his will is not determined to the
pursuit of it. But yet as soon as the studious Man’s hunger and
thirst makes him uneasie, he whose will was never determined to any
pursuit of good chear, poinant Sauces, or delicious Wine by the
pleasant tast he has found in them, is, by the uneasiness of Hunger
and Thirst, presently determined to Eating and Drinking; though
possibly with great indifferency, what wholesome Food comes in
his way. And on the other side, the Epicure buckles to study, when
shame, or the desire to recommend himself to his Mistress, shall
make him uneasie in the want of any sort of Knowledge. Thus, how
much soever Men are in earnest, and constant in pursuit of happi-
ness; yet they may have a clear view of good, great and confessed
good, without being concern’d for it, or moved by it, if they think
they can make up their happiness without it. Though, as to pain,
that they are always concern’d for; they can feel no uneasiness
without being moved. And therefore being uneasie in the want of
whatever is judged necessary to their Happiness, as soon as any
good appears to make a part of their portion of happiness, they
begin to desire it.
Locke Hum II, 21, §43, pp. 259-260