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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[44] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE EFFECTS OF FEAR (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE EFFECTS OF FEAR (FOUR ARTICLES)

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

(1) Whether fear causes contraction?

(2) Whether it makes men suitable for counsel?

(3) Whether it makes one tremble?

(4) Whether it hinders action?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether fear causes contraction?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that fear does not cause contraction. For when
contraction takes place, the heat and vital spirits are withdrawn
inwardly. But accumulation of heat and vital spirits in the interior
parts of the body, dilates the heart unto endeavors of daring, as may be
seen in those who are angered: while the contrary happens in those who
are afraid. Therefore fear does not cause contraction.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, when, as a result of contraction, the vital spirits and
heat are accumulated in the interior parts, man cries out, as may be seen
in those who are in pain. But those who fear utter nothing: on the
contrary they lose their speech. Therefore fear does not cause
contraction.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, shame is a kind of fear, as stated above (Q[41], A[4]).
But "those who are ashamed blush," as Cicero (De Quaest. Tusc. iv, 8),
and the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 9) observe. But blushing is an
indication, not of contraction, but of the reverse. Therefore contraction
is not an effect of fear.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 23) that "fear is a
power according to {systole}," i.e. contraction.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[28], A[5]), in the passions of the
soul, the formal element is the movement of the appetitive power, while
the bodily transmutation is the material element. Both of these are
mutually proportionate; and consequently the bodily transmutation assumes
a resemblance to and the very nature of the appetitive movement. Now, as
to the appetitive movement of the soul, fear implies a certain
contraction: the reason of which is that fear arises from the imagination
of some threatening evil which is difficult to repel, as stated above
(Q[41], A[2]). But that a thing be difficult to repel is due to lack of
power, as stated above (Q[43], A[2]): and the weaker a power is, the
fewer the things to which it extends. Wherefore from the very imagination
that causes fear there ensues a certain contraction in the appetite. Thus
we observe in one who is dying that nature withdraws inwardly, on account
of the lack of power: and again we see the inhabitants of a city, when
seized with fear, leave the outskirts, and, as far as possible, make for
the inner quarters. It is in resemblance to this contraction, which
pertains to the appetite of the soul, that in fear a similar contraction
of heat and vital spirits towards the inner parts takes place in regard
to the body.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: As the Philosopher says (De Problem. xxvii, 3), although in
those who fear, the vital spirits recede from outer to the inner parts of
the body, yet the movement of vital spirits is not the same in those who
are angry and those who are afraid. For in those who are angry, by reason
of the heat and subtlety of the vital spirits, which result from the
craving for vengeance, the inward movement has an upward direction:
wherefore the vital spirits and heat concentrate around the heart: the
result being that an angry man is quick and brave in attacking. But in
those who are afraid, on account of the condensation caused by cold, the
vital spirits have a downward movement; the said cold being due to the
imagined lack of power. Consequently the heat and vital spirits abandon
the heart instead of concentrating around it: the result being that a man
who is afraid is not quick to attack, but is more inclined to run away.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: To everyone that is in pain, whether man or animal, it is
natural to use all possible means of repelling the harmful thing that
causes pain but its presence: thus we observe that animals, when in pain,
attack with their jaws or with their horns. Now the greatest help for all
purposes, in animals, is heat and vital spirits: wherefore when they are
in pain, their nature stores up the heat and vital spirits within them,
in order to make use thereof in repelling the harmful object. Hence the
Philosopher says (De Problem. xxvii, 9) when the vital spirits and heat
are concentrated together within, they require to find a vent in the
voice: for which reason those who are in pain can scarcely refrain from
crying aloud. On the other hand, in those who are afraid, the internal
heat and vital spirits move from the heart downwards, as stated above (ad
1): wherefore fear hinders speech which ensues from the emission of the
vital spirits in an upward direction through the mouth: the result being
that fear makes its subject speechless. For this reason, too, fear "makes
its subject tremble," as the Philosopher says (De Problem. xxvii, 1,6,7).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Mortal perils are contrary not only to the appetite of the
soul, but also to nature. Consequently in such like fear, there is
contraction not only in the appetite, but also in the corporeal nature:
for when an animal is moved by the imagination of death, it experiences a
contraction of heat towards the inner parts of the body, as though it
were threatened by a natural death. Hence it is that "those who are in
fear of death turn pale" (Ethic. iv, 9). But the evil that shame fears,
is contrary, not to nature, but only to the appetite of the soul.
Consequently there results a contraction in this appetite, but not in the
corporeal nature; in fact, the soul, as though contracted in itself, is
free to set the vital spirits and heat in movement, so that they spread
to the outward parts of the body: the result being that those who are ashamed blush.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether fear makes one suitable for counsel?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that fear does not make one suitable for counsel.
For the same thing cannot be conducive to counsel, and a hindrance
thereto. But fear hinders counsel: because every passion disturbs repose,
which is requisite for the good use of reason. Therefore fear does not
make a man suitable for counsel.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, counsel is an act of reason, in thinking and
deliberating about the future. But a certain fear "drives away all
thought, and dislocates the mind," as Cicero observes (De Quaest. Tusc.
iv, 8). Therefore fear does not conduce to counsel, but hinders it.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, just as we have recourse to counsel in order to avoid
evil, so do we, in order to attain good things. But whereas fear is of
evil to be avoided, so is hope of good things to be obtained. Therefore
fear is not more conducive to counsel, than hope is.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 5) that "fear makes men
of counsel."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, A man of counsel may be taken in two ways. First, from
his being willing or anxious to take counsel. And thus fear makes men of
counsel. Because, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 3), "we take
counsel on great matters, because therein we distrust ourselves." Now
things which make us afraid, are not simply evil, but have a certain
magnitude, both because they seem difficult to repel, and because they
are apprehended as near to us, as stated above (Q[42], A[2]). Wherefore
men seek for counsel especially when they are afraid.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] Body Para. 2/3

Secondly, a man of counsel means one who is apt for giving good counsel:
and in this sense, neither fear nor any passion makes men of counsel.
Because when a man is affected by a passion, things seem to him greater
or smaller than they really are: thus to a lover, what he loves seems
better; to him that fears, what he fears seems more dreadful.
Consequently owing to the want of right judgment, every passion,
considered in itself, hinders the faculty of giving good counsel.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] Body Para. 3/3

This suffices for the Reply to the First Objection.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1
Reply OBJ 2: The stronger a passion is, the greater the hindrance is it
to the man who is swayed by it. Consequently, when fear is intense, man
does indeed wish to take counsel, but his thoughts are so disturbed, that
he can find no counsel. If, however, the fear be slight, so as to make a
man wish to take counsel, without gravely disturbing the reason; it may
even make it easier for him to take good counsel, by reason of his
ensuing carefulness.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Hope also makes man a good counsellor: because, as the
Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 5), "no man takes counsel in matters he
despairs of," nor about impossible things, as he says in Ethic. iii, 3.
But fear incites to counsel more than hope does. Because hope is of good
things, as being possible of attainment; whereas fear is of evil things,
as being difficult to repel, so that fear regards the aspect of
difficulty more than hope does. And it is in matters of difficulty,
especially when we distrust ourselves, that we take counsel, as stated
above.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether fear makes one tremble?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that trembling is not an effect of fear. Because
trembling is occasioned by cold; thus we observe that a cold person
trembles. Now fear does not seem to make one cold, but rather to cause a
parching heat: a sign whereof is that those who fear are thirsty,
especially if their fear be very great, as in the case of those who are
being led to execution. Therefore fear does not cause trembling.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, faecal evacuation is occasioned by heat; hence laxative
medicines are generally warm. But these evacuations are often caused by
fear. Therefore fear apparently causes heat; and consequently does not
cause trembling.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, in fear, the heat is withdrawn from the outer to the
inner parts of the body. If, therefore, man trembles in his outward
parts, through the heat being withdrawn thus; it seems that fear should
cause this trembling in all the external members. But such is not the
case. Therefore trembling of the body is not caused by fear.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Cicero says (De Quaest. Tusc. iv, 8) that "fear is
followed by trembling, pallor and chattering of the teeth."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[1]), in fear there takes place a
certain contraction from the outward to the inner parts of the body, the
result being that the outer parts become cold; and for this reason
trembling is occasioned in these parts, being caused by a lack of power
in controlling the members: which lack of power is due to the want of
heat, which is the instrument whereby the soul moves those members, as
stated in De Anima ii, 4.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 1: When the heat withdraws from the outer to the inner parts,
the inward heat increases, especially in the inferior or nutritive parts.
Consequently the humid element being spent, thirst ensues; sometimes
indeed the result is a loosening of the bowels, and urinary or even
seminal evacuation. Or else such like evacuations are due to contraction
of the abdomen and testicles, as the Philosopher says (De Problem. xxii,
11).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 2/2

This suffices for the Reply to the Second Objection.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: In fear, heat abandons the heart, with a downward
movement: hence in those who are afraid the heart especially trembles, as
also those members which are connected with the breast where the heart
resides. Hence those who fear tremble especially in their speech, on
account of the tracheal artery being near the heart. The lower lip, too,
and the lower jaw tremble, through their connection with the heart; which
explains the chattering of the teeth. For the same reason the arms and
hands tremble. Or else because the aforesaid members are more mobile. For
which reason the knees tremble in those who are afraid, according to Is.
35:3: "Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm the trembling [Vulg.:
'weak'] knees."


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether fear hinders action?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that fear hinders action. For action is hindered
chiefly by a disturbance in the reason, which directs action. But fear
disturbs reason, as stated above (A[2]). Therefore fear hinders action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, those who fear while doing anything, are more apt to
fail: thus a man who walks on a plank placed aloft, easily falls through
fear; whereas, if he were to walk on the same plank down below, he would
not fall, through not being afraid. Therefore fear hinders action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, laziness or sloth is a kind of fear. But laziness
hinders action. Therefore fear does too.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Apostle says (Phil. 2:12): "With fear and trembling
work out your salvation": and he would not say this if fear were a
hindrance to a good work. Therefore fear does not hinder a good action.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Man's exterior actions are caused by the soul as first
mover, but by the bodily members as instruments. Now action may be
hindered both by defect of the instrument, and by defect of the principal
mover. On the part of the bodily instruments, fear, considered in itself,
is always apt to hinder exterior action, on account of the outward
members being deprived, through fear, of their heat. But on the part of
the soul, if the fear be moderate, without much disturbance of the
reason, it conduces to working well, in so far as it causes a certain
solicitude, and makes a man take counsel and work with greater attention.
If, however, fear increases so much as to disturb the reason, it hinders
action even on the part of the soul. But of such a fear the Apostle does
not speak.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

This suffices for the Reply to the First Objection.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: He that falls from a plank placed aloft, suffers a
disturbance of his imagination, through fear of the fall that is pictured
to his imagination.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[44] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Everyone in fear shuns that which he fears: and therefore,
since laziness is a fear of work itself as being toilsome, it hinders
work by withdrawing the will from it. But fear of other things conduces
to action, in so far as it inclines the will to do that whereby a man
escapes from what he fears.





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