Adam Smith's Simplified Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part 1, Section 1, Chapter 2: The Pleasure of Mutual Sympathy

Chapter 2: The Pleasure of Mutual Sympathy

The Pleasure from Mutual Sympathy is not based on Self-Love, but from the similarity of the resonance of feelings

14Regardless of the cause of sympathy, we are most pleased when other people have a fellow-feeling with our own emotions.

  • Pain and pleasure are always felt instantly.
  • A man is mortified when, after trying to make his friends laugh, he sees that his jests are laughed at only by himself.
  • 15 His pleasure does not seem to all arise from the added vivacity received by his amusement from a sympathy with their amusement. 16We are more anxious to communicate to our friends our disagreeable passions than our agreeable ones.17The unfortunate are relieved when they find someone they can communicate the cause of their sorrow to. 18 Love is an agreeable passion. 19 People are pleased with our sympathy and hurt by lack of it.
  • On the other hand, we disapprove of someone being too happy or too much elevated with any little piece of good fortune.

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    Next: Chapter 3: How we judge the feelings of others