Adam Smith's Simplified Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part 1, Section 2, Chapter 4: The Social Feelings
Chapter 4: The Social Feelings
The Amiable Virtues are Social Feelings29
A divided sympathy renders anger and resentment so disagreeable.
- The social and benevolent feelings are opposite to these.
- They cause a redoubled sympathy which almost always render them agreeable.
- The indifferent observer is almost always pleased with
- Mutual friendship
- The observer's sympathy with the subject-person generating those feelings exactly coincides with his sympathy for the object-person who is receiving those feelings.
- The observer takes in the object-person's happiness which then enlivens his fellow-feeling with the subject-person's feelings.
- Therefore, we always have the strongest disposition to sympathize with the benevolent affections.
- They appear agreeable to us.
- We enter into the satisfaction both of its subject and object persons.
- As being the object of hatred gives us pain, so the consciousness of being beloved gives us satisfaction.
- To a sensible person, it is more important to happiness, than all the advantages which he can derive from it.
- A person, who takes pleasure to sow dissent among friends and turn their tender love into mortal hatred, is so detestable
- Yet where is the cause of the atrocity of such an injury?
- Is it in:
- depriving his friends of their good offices for each other, had their friendship continued?
- depriving them of that friendship itself?
- robbing them of each other's affections?
- disturbing the harmony of their hearts, and
- ending that happy commerce between them?
- That harmony and commerce are felt by:
- the tender and the delicate, and
- the rudest vulgar of mankind.
- These are more important to happiness than all the little services which flow from them.
The sentiment of love is, in itself, agreeable to its subject-person, or to the person who feels it.
- It soothes and composes the breast.
- It seems to:
- favour the vital motions and
- promote the health.
- It becomes more delightful by the consciousness of the gratitude and satisfaction which it excite in its objects, or the persons who are its targets.
- Their mutual regard renders them happy for one another.
- Sympathy, with this mutual regard, makes them agreeable to every other person.
- How pleasurable it is for us to see a loving family?
- A family which has mutual love and esteem in which:
- the parents and children are companions for one another,
- the children show respectful affection and the parents show kind indulgence,
- there is peace, cheerfulness, harmony, and contentment,
- freedom, fondness, mutual humour, and kindness show:
- no opposing interests which divides brothers and sisters
- no rivalry of favour between them.
- On the contrary, how uneasy it is to enter a house of an unloving family?
- A family in which the members:
- have a jarring contention between each other,
- have mutual jealousies, and
- are always ready to burst out through all the restraints which the presence of the company imposes.
31 Those amiable passions, even when excessive, are never regarded with aversion.
- There is something agreeable even in the weakness of friendship and humanity.
- The following might sometimes be looked on with pity with a mixture of love:
- The too tender mother
- The too indulgent father
- The too generous and affectionate friend.
- Only the most brutal and worthless person can regard it with hatred nor contempt.
- It is always regarded with concern, sympathy and kindness.
- We blame them for the extravagance of their attachment.
- There is a helplessness in the character of extreme humanity which interests our pity more than anything.
- There is nothing in itself which renders it either ungraceful or disagreeable.
- We only regret that it is unfit for the world, because:
- the world is unworthy of it
- it must expose the person who has it, as a prey to:
- the treachery and ingratitude of falsehood
- a thousand pains and uneasinesses, which he is the least deserving to feel and is least capable of supporting.
- It is quite otherwise with hatred and resentment.
- Too violent a hatred renders its subject person the object of universal dread and abhorrence.
- We think that he should be hunted out of all civil society like a wild beast.
Next: Chapter 5: The Selfish Feelings