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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[38] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE REMEDIES OF SORROW OR PAIN (FIVE ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE REMEDIES OF SORROW OR PAIN (FIVE ARTICLES)

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

(1) Whether pain or sorrow is assuaged by every pleasure?

(2) Whether it is assuaged by weeping?

(3) Whether it is assuaged by the sympathy of friends?

(4) Whether it is assuaged by contemplating the truth?

(5) Whether it is assuaged by sleep and baths?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pain or sorrow is assuaged by every pleasure?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that not every pleasure assuages every pain or
sorrow. For pleasure does not assuage sorrow, save in so far as it is
contrary to it: for "remedies work by contraries" (Ethic. ii, 3). But not
every pleasure is contrary to every sorrow; as stated above (Q[35], A[4]
). Therefore not every pleasure assuages every sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, that which causes sorrow does not assuage it. But some
pleasures cause sorrow; since, as stated in Ethic. ix, 4, "the wicked man
feels pain at having been pleased." Therefore not every pleasure assuages
sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, Augustine says (Confess. iv, 7) that he fled from his
country, where he had been wont to associate with his friend, now dead:
"for so should his eyes look for him less, where they were not wont to
see him." Hence we may gather that those things which united us to our
dead or absent friends, become burdensome to us when we mourn their death
or absence. But nothing united us more than the pleasures we enjoyed in
common. Therefore these very pleasures become burdensome to us when we
mourn. Therefore not every pleasure assuages every sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 14) that "sorrow is
driven forth by pleasure, both by a contrary pleasure and by any other,
provided it be intense."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As is evident from what has been said above (Q[23], A[4]
), pleasure is a kind of repose of the appetite in a suitable good; while
sorrow arises from something unsuited to the appetite. Consequently in
movements of the appetite pleasure is to sorrow, what, in bodies, repose
is to weariness, which is due to a non-natural transmutation; for sorrow
itself implies a certain weariness or ailing of the appetitive faculty.
Therefore just as all repose of the body brings relief to any kind of
weariness, ensuing from any non-natural cause; so every pleasure brings
relief by assuaging any kind of sorrow, due to any cause whatever.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Although not every pleasure is specifically contrary to
every sorrow, yet it is generically, as stated above (Q[35], A[4]). And
consequently, on the part of the disposition of the subject, any sorrow can be assuaged by any pleasure.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The pleasures of wicked men are not a cause of sorrow while
they are enjoyed, but afterwards: that is to say, in so far as wicked men
repent of those things in which they took pleasure. This sorrow is healed
by contrary pleasures.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: When there are two causes inclining to contrary movements,
each hinders the other; yet the one which is stronger and more
persistent, prevails in the end. Now when a man is made sorrowful by
those things in which he took pleasure in common with a deceased or
absent friend, there are two causes producing contrary movements. For the
thought of the friend's death or absence, inclines him to sorrow: whereas
the present good inclines him to pleasure. Consequently each is modified
by the other. And yet, since the perception of the present moves more
strongly than the memory of the past, and since love of self is more
persistent than love of another; hence it is that, in the end, the
pleasure drives out the sorrow. Wherefore a little further on (Confess.
iv, 8) Augustine says that his "sorrow gave way to his former pleasures."


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pain or sorrow is assuaged by tears?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that tears do not assuage sorrow. Because no effect
diminishes its cause. But tears or groans are an effect of sorrow.
Therefore they do not diminish sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, just as tears or groans are an effect of sorrow, so
laughter is an effect of joy. But laughter does not lessen joy. Therefore
tears do not lessen sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, when we weep, the evil that saddens us is present to the
imagination. But the image of that which saddens us increases sorrow,
just as the image of a pleasant thing adds to joy. Therefore it seems
that tears do not assuage sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (Confess. iv, 7) that when he mourned
the death of his friend, "in groans and in tears alone did he find some
little refreshment."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Tears and groans naturally assuage sorrow: and this for
two reasons. First, because a hurtful thing hurts yet more if we keep it
shut up, because the soul is more intent on it: whereas if it be allowed
to escape, the soul's intention is dispersed as it were on outward
things, so that the inward sorrow is lessened. This is why men, burdened
with sorrow, make outward show of their sorrow, by tears or groans or
even by words, their sorrow is assuaged. Secondly, because an action,
that befits a man according to his actual disposition, is always pleasant
to him. Now tears and groans are actions befitting a man who is in sorrow
or pain; and consequently they become pleasant to him. Since then, as
stated above (A[1]), every pleasure assuages sorrow or pain somewhat, it
follows that sorrow is assuaged by weeping and groans.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This relation of the cause to effect is opposed to the
relation existing between the cause of sorrow and the sorrowing man. For
every effect is suited to its cause, and consequently is pleasant to it;
but the cause of sorrow is disagreeable to him that sorrows. Hence the
effect of sorrow is not related to him that sorrows in the same way as
the cause of sorrow is. For this reason sorrow is assuaged by its effect,
on account of the aforesaid contrariety.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The relation of effect to cause is like the relation of the
object of pleasure to him that takes pleasure in it: because in each case
the one agrees with the other. Now every like thing increases its like.
Therefore joy is increased by laughter and the other effects of joy:
except they be excessive, in which case, accidentally, they lessen it.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The image of that which saddens us, considered in itself,
has a natural tendency to increase sorrow: yet from the very fact that a
man imagines himself to be doing that which is fitting according to his
actual state, he feels a certain amount of pleasure. For the same reason
if laughter escapes a man when he is so disposed that he thinks he ought
to weep, he is sorry for it, as having done something unbecoming to him,
as Cicero says (De Tusc. Quaest. iii, 27).


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pain or sorrow are assuaged by the sympathy of friends?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the sorrow of sympathizing friends does not
assuage our own sorrow. For contraries have contrary effects. Now as
Augustine says (Confess. viii, 4), "when many rejoice together, each one
has more exuberant joy, for they are kindled and inflamed one by the
other." Therefore, in like manner, when many are sorrowful, it seems that
their sorrow is greater.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, friendship demands mutual love, as Augustine declares
(Confess. iv, 9). But a sympathizing friend is pained at the sorrow of
his friend with whom he sympathizes. Consequently the pain of a
sympathizing friend becomes, to the friend in sorrow, a further cause of
sorrow: so that, his pain being doubled his sorrow seems to increase.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, sorrow arises from every evil affecting a friend, as
though it affected oneself: since "a friend is one's other self" (Ethic.
ix, 4,9). But sorrow is an evil. Therefore the sorrow of the sympathizing
friend increases the sorrow of the friend with whom he sympathizes.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 11) that those who are
in pain are consoled when their friends sympathize with them.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, When one is in pain, it is natural that the sympathy of a
friend should afford consolation: whereof the Philosopher indicates a
twofold reason (Ethic. ix, 11). The first is because, since sorrow has a
depressing effect, it is like a weight whereof we strive to unburden
ourselves: so that when a man sees others saddened by his own sorrow, it
seems as though others were bearing the burden with him, striving, as it
were, to lessen its weight; wherefore the load of sorrow becomes lighter
for him: something like what occurs in the carrying of bodily burdens.
The second and better reason is because when a man's friends condole with
him, he sees that he is loved by them, and this affords him pleasure, as
stated above (Q[32], A[5]). Consequently, since every pleasure assuages
sorrow, as stated above (A[1]), it follows that sorrow is mitigated by a
sympathizing friend.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: In either case there is a proof of friendship, viz. when a
man rejoices with the joyful, and when he sorrows with the sorrowful.
Consequently each becomes an object of pleasure by reason of its cause.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 2: The friend's sorrow itself would be a cause of sorrow: but
consideration of its cause, viz. his love, gives rise rather to pleasure.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 2/2

And this suffices for the reply to the Third Objection.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pain and sorrow are assuaged by the contemplation of truth?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the contemplation of truth does not assuage
sorrow. For it is written (Eccles. 1:18): "He that addeth knowledge
addeth also sorrow" [Vulg.: 'labor']. But knowledge pertains to the
contemplation of truth. Therefore the contemplation of truth does not assuage sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the contemplation of truth belongs to the speculative
intellect. But "the speculative intellect is not a principle of
movement"; as stated in De Anima iii, 11. Therefore, since joy and sorrow
are movements of the soul, it seems that the contemplation of truth does
not help to assuage sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the remedy for an ailment should be applied to the part
which ails. But contemplation of truth is in the intellect. Therefore it
does not assuage bodily pain, which is in the senses.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (Soliloq. i, 12): "It seemed to me that
if the light of that truth were to dawn on our minds, either I should not
feel that pain, or at least that pain would seem nothing to me."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[3], A[5]), the greatest of all
pleasures consists in the contemplation of truth. Now every pleasure
assuages pain as stated above (A[1]): hence the contemplation of truth
assuages pain or sorrow, and the more so, the more perfectly one is a
lover of wisdom. And therefore in the midst of tribulations men rejoice
in the contemplation of Divine things and of future Happiness, according
to James 1:2: "My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into
divers temptations": and, what is more, even in the midst of bodily
tortures this joy is found; as the "martyr Tiburtius, when he was walking
barefoot on the burning coals, said: Methinks, I walk on roses, in the
name of Jesus Christ." [*Cf. Dominican Breviary, August 11th,
commemoration of St. Tiburtius.]

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: "He that addeth knowledge, addeth sorrow," either on
account of the difficulty and disappointment in the search for truth; or
because knowledge makes man acquainted with many things that are contrary
to his will. Accordingly, on the part of the things known, knowledge
causes sorrow: but on the part of the contemplation of truth, it causes
pleasure.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The speculative intellect does not move the mind on the
part of the thing contemplated: but on the part of contemplation itself,
which is man's good and naturally pleasant to him.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: In the powers of the soul there is an overflow from the higher to the lower powers: and accordingly, the pleasure of
contemplation, which is in the higher part, overflows so as to mitigate
even that pain which is in the senses.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pain and sorrow are assuaged by sleep and baths?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that sleep and baths do not assuage sorrow. For
sorrow is in the soul: whereas sleep and baths regard the body. Therefore
they do not conduce to the assuaging of sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the same effect does not seem to ensue from contrary
causes. But these, being bodily things, are incompatible with the
contemplation of truth which is a cause of the assuaging of sorrow, as
stated above (A[4]). Therefore sorrow is not mitigated by the like.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, sorrow and pain, in so far as they affect the body,
denote a certain transmutation of the heart. But such remedies as these
seem to pertain to the outward senses and limbs, rather than to the
interior disposition of the heart. Therefore they do not assuage sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (Confess. ix, 12): "I had heard that the
bath had its name [*Balneum, from the Greek {balaneion}] . . . from the
fact of its driving sadness from the mind." And further on, he says: "I
slept, and woke up again, and found my grief not a little assuaged": and
quotes the words from the hymn of Ambrose [*Cf. Sarum Breviary: First
Sunday after the octave of the Epiphany, Hymn for first Vespers], in
which it is said that "Sleep restores the tired limbs to labor, refreshes
the weary mind, and banishes sorrow."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[5] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[37], A[4]), sorrow, by reason of its
specific nature, is repugnant to the vital movement of the body; and
consequently whatever restores the bodily nature to its due state of
vital movement, is opposed to sorrow and assuages it. Moreover such
remedies, from the very fact that they bring nature back to its normal
state, are causes of pleasure; for this is precisely in what pleasure
consists, as stated above (Q[31], A[1]). Therefore, since every pleasure
assuages sorrow, sorrow is assuaged by such like bodily remedies.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The normal disposition of the body, so far as it is felt,
is itself a cause of pleasure, and consequently assuages sorrow.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: As stated above (Q[31], A[8]), one pleasure hinders
another; and yet every pleasure assuages sorrow. Consequently it is not
unreasonable that sorrow should be assuaged by causes which hinder one
another.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[38] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Every good disposition of the body reacts somewhat on the
heart, which is the beginning and end of bodily movements, as stated in
De Causa Mot. Animal. xi.





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