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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT FS Prologue Para. 1/1 - FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PART (FS) (QQ[1]-114)
      • Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE EFFECTS OF PAIN OR SORROW (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE EFFECTS OF PAIN OR SORROW (FOUR ARTICLES)

We must now consider the effects of pain or of sorrow: under which head
there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether pain deprives one of the power to learn?

(2) Whether the effect of sorrow or pain is to burden the soul?

(3) Whether sorrow or pain weakens all activity?

(4) Whether sorrow is more harmful to the body than all the other
passions of the soul?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pain deprives one of the power to learn?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that pain does not deprive one of the power to
learn. For it is written (Is. 26:9): "When Thou shalt do Thy judgments on
the earth, the inhabitants of the world shall learn justice": and further
on (verse 16): "In the tribulation of murmuring Thy instruction was with
them." But the judgments of God and tribulation cause sorrow in men's
hearts. Therefore pain or sorrow, far from destroying, increases the
power of learning.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, it is written (Is. 28:9): "Whom shall He teach
knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand the hearing? Them that
are weaned from the milk, that are drawn away from the breasts," i.e.
from pleasures. But pain and sorrow are most destructive of pleasure;
since sorrow hinders all pleasure, as stated in Ethic. vii, 14: and
(Ecclus. 11:29) it is stated that "the affliction of an hour maketh one
forget great delights." Therefore pain, instead of taking away, increases
the faculty of learning.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, inward sorrow surpasses outward pain, as stated above
(Q[35], A[7]). But man can learn while sorrowful. Much more, therefore,
can he learn while in bodily pain.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (Soliloq. i, 12): "Although during those
days I was tormented with a violent tooth-ache, I was not able to turn
over in my mind other things than those I had already learnt; and as to
learning anything, I was quite unequal to it, because it required
undivided attention."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Since all the powers of the soul are rooted in the one
essence of the soul, it must needs happen, when the intention of the soul
is strongly drawn towards the action of one power, that it is withdrawn
from the action of another power: because the soul, being one, can only
have one intention. The result is that if one thing draws upon itself the
entire intention of the soul, or a great portion thereof, anything else
requiring considerable attention is incompatible therewith.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] Body Para. 2/2

Now it is evident that sensible pain above all draws the soul's
attention to itself; because it is natural for each thing to tend wholly
to repel whatever is contrary to it, as may be observed even in natural
things. It is likewise evident that in order to learn anything new, we
require study and effort with a strong intention, as is clearly stated in
Prov. 2:4,5: "If thou shalt seek wisdom as money, and shall dig for her
as for a treasure, then shalt thou understand learning" [Vulg: 'the fear
of the Lord']. Consequently if the pain be acute, man is prevented at the
time from learning anything: indeed it can be so acute, that, as long as
it lasts, a man is unable to give his attention even to that which he
knew already. However a difference is to be observed according to the
difference of love that a man has for learning or for considering:
because the greater his love, the more will he retain the intention of
his mind so as to prevent it from turning entirely to the pain.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Moderate sorrow, that does not cause the mind to wander,
can conduce to the acquisition of learning especially in regard to those
things by which a man hopes to be freed from sorrow. And thus, "in the
tribulation of murmuring," men are more apt to be taught by God.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Both pleasure and pain, in so far as they draw upon
themselves the soul's intention, hinder the reason from the act of
consideration, wherefore it is stated in Ethic. vii, 11 that "in the
moment of sexual pleasure, a man cannot understand anything."
Nevertheless pain attracts the soul's intention more than pleasure does:
thus we observe in natural things that the action of a natural body is
more intense in regard to its contrary; for instance, hot water is more
accessible to the action of cold, and in consequence freezes harder. If
therefore pain or sorrow be moderate, it can conduce accidentally to the
facility of learning, in so far as it takes away an excess of pleasure.
But, of itself, it is a hindrance; and if it be intense, it prevents it
altogether.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: External pain arises from hurt done to the body, so that it
involves bodily transmutation more than inward sorrow does: and yet the
latter is greater in regard to the formal element of pain, which belongs
to the soul. Consequently bodily pain is a greater hindrance to
contemplation which requires complete repose, than inward sorrow is.
Nevertheless if inward sorrow be very intense, it attracts the intention,
so that man is unable to learn anything for the first time: wherefore on
account of sorrow Gregory interrupted his commentary on Ezechiel (Hom.
xxii in Ezechiel).


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the effect of sorrow or pain is to burden the soul?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that it is not an effect of sorrow to burden the
soul. For the Apostle says (2 Cor. 7:11): "Behold this self-same thing,
that you were made sorrowful according to God, how great carefulness it
worketh in you: yea, defence, yea indignation," etc. Now carefulness and
indignation imply that the soul is uplifted, which is contrary to being
depressed. Therefore depression is not an effect of sorrow.
Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, sorrow is contrary to pleasure. But the effect of
pleasure is expansion: the opposite of which is not depression but
contraction. Therefore depression should not be reckoned as an effect of
sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, sorrow consumes those who are inflicted therewith, as
may be gathered from the words of the Apostle (2 Cor. 2:7): "Lest perhaps
such an one be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow." But that which is
depressed is not consumed; nay, it is weighed down by something heavy,
whereas that which is consumed enters within the consumer. Therefore
depression should not be reckoned an effect of sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Gregory of Nyssa [*Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xix.] and
Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 14) speak of "depressing sorrow."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, The effects of the soul's passions are sometimes named
metaphorically, from a likeness to sensible bodies: for the reason that
the movements of the animal appetite are like the inclinations of the
natural appetite. And in this way fervor is ascribed to love, expansion
to pleasure, and depression to sorrow. For a man is said to be depressed,
through being hindered in his own movement by some weight. Now it is
evident from what has been said above (Q[23], A[4]; Q[25], A[4]; Q[36],
A[1]) that sorrow is caused by a present evil: and this evil, from the
very fact that it is repugnant to the movement of the will, depresses the
soul, inasmuch as it hinders it from enjoying that which it wishes to
enjoy. And if the evil which is the cause of sorrow be not so strong as
to deprive one of the hope of avoiding it, although the soul be depressed
in so far as, for the present, it fails to grasp that which it craves
for; yet it retains the movement whereby to repulse that evil. If, on the
other hand, the strength of the evil be such as to exclude the hope of
evasion, then even the interior movement of the afflicted soul is
absolutely hindered, so that it cannot turn aside either this way or
that. Sometimes even the external movement of the body is paralyzed, so
that a man becomes completely stupefied.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: That uplifting of the soul ensues from the sorrow which is
according to God, because it brings with it the hope of the forgiveness
of sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: As far as the movement of the appetite is concerned,
contraction and depression amount to the same: because the soul, through
being depressed so as to be unable to attend freely to outward things,
withdraws to itself, closing itself up as it were.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Sorrow is said to consume man, when the force of the
afflicting evil is such as to shut out all hope of evasion: and thus also
it both depresses and consumes at the same time. For certain things,
taken metaphorically, imply one another, which taken literally, appear to
exclude one another.



Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether sorrow or pain weakens all activity?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that sorrow does not weaken all activity. Because
carefulness is caused by sorrow, as is clear from the passage of the
Apostle quoted above (A[2], OBJ[1]). But carefulness conduces to good
work: wherefore the Apostle says (2 Tim. 2:15): "Carefully study to
present thyself . . . a workman that needeth not to be ashamed."
Therefore sorrow is not a hindrance to work, but helps one to work well.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, sorrow causes desire in many cases, as stated in Ethic.
vii, 14. But desire causes intensity of action. Therefore sorrow does too.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, as some actions are proper to the joyful, so are others
proper to the sorrowful; for instance, to mourn. Now a thing is improved
by that which is suitable to it. Therefore certain actions are not
hindered but improved by reason of sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. x, 4) that "pleasure
perfects action," whereas on the other hand, "sorrow hinders it" (Ethic.
x, 5).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[3] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (A[2]), sorrow at times does not depress
or consume the soul, so as to shut out all movement, internal or
external; but certain movements are sometimes caused by sorrow itself.
Accordingly action stands in a twofold relation to sorrow. First, as
being the object of sorrow: and thus sorrow hinders any action: for we
never do that which we do with sorrow, so well as that which we do with
pleasure, or without sorrow. The reason for this is that the will is the
cause of human actions: and consequently when we do something that gives
pain, the action must of necessity be weakened in consequence. Secondly,
action stands in relation to sorrow, as to its principle and cause: and
such action must needs be improved by sorrow: thus the more one sorrows
on account of a certain thing, the more one strives to shake off sorrow,
provided there is a hope of shaking it off: otherwise no movement or
action would result from that sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[3] Body Para. 2/2

From what has been said the replies to the objections are evident.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether sorrow is more harmful to the body than the other passions of the
soul?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that sorrow is not most harmful to the body. For
sorrow has a spiritual existence in the soul. But those things which have
only a spiritual existence do not cause a transmutation in the body: as
is evident with regard to the images of colors, which images are in the
air and do not give color to bodies. Therefore sorrow is not harmful to
the body.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further if it be harmful to the body, this can only be due to its
having a bodily transmutation in conjunction with it. But bodily
transmutation takes place in all the passions of the soul, as stated
above (Q[22], AA[1],3). Therefore sorrow is not more harmful to the body
than the other passions of the soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 3) that "anger and
desire drive some to madness": which seems to be a very great harm, since
reason is the most excellent thing in man. Moreover, despair seems to be
more harmful than sorrow; for it is the cause of sorrow. Therefore sorrow
is not more harmful to the body than the other passions of the soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Prov. 17:22): "A joyful mind maketh age
flourishing: a sorrowful spirit drieth up the bones": and (Prov. 25:20):
"As a moth doth by a garment, and a worm by the wood: so the sadness of a
man consumeth the heart": and (Ecclus. 38:19): "Of sadness cometh death."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Of all the soul's passions, sorrow is most harmful to the
body. The reason of this is because sorrow is repugnant to man's life in
respect of the species of its movement, and not merely in respect of its
measure or quantity, as is the case with the other passions of the soul.
For man's life consists in a certain movement, which flows from the heart
to the other parts of the body: and this movement is befitting to human
nature according to a certain fixed measure. Consequently if this
movement goes beyond the right measure, it will be repugnant to man's
life in respect of the measure of quantity; but not in respect of its
specific character: whereas if this movement be hindered in its progress,
it will be repugnant to life in respect of its species.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

Now it must be noted that, in all the passions of the soul, the bodily
transmutation which is their material element, is in conformity with and
in proportion to the appetitive movement, which is the formal element:
just as in everything matter is proportionate to form. Consequently those
passions that imply a movement of the appetite in pursuit of something,
are not repugnant to the vital movement as regards its species, but they
may be repugnant thereto as regards its measure: such are love, joy,
desire and the like; wherefore these passions conduce to the well-being
of the body; though, if they be excessive, they may be harmful to it. On
the other hand, those passions which denote in the appetite a movement of
flight or contraction, are repugnant to the vital movement, not only as
regards its measure, but also as regards its species; wherefore they are
simply harmful: such are fear and despair, and above all sorrow which
depresses the soul by reason of a present evil, which makes a stronger
impression than future evil.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Since the soul naturally moves the body, the spiritual
movement of the soul is naturally the cause of bodily transmutation. Nor
is there any parallel with spiritual images, because they are not
naturally ordained to move such other bodies as are not naturally moved
by the soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Other passions imply a bodily transmutation which is
specifically in conformity with the vital movement: whereas sorrow
implies a transmutation that is repugnant thereto, as stated above.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[37] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: A lesser cause suffices to hinder the use of reason, than
to destroy life: since we observe that many ailments deprive one of the
use of reason, before depriving one of life. Nevertheless fear and anger
cause very great harm to the body, by reason of the sorrow which they
imply, and which arises from the absence of the thing desired. Moreover
sorrow too sometimes deprives man of the use of reason: as may be seen in
those who through sorrow become a prey to melancholy or madness.





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