Adam Smith's Simplified Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part 1, Section 3, Chapter 1: How Our sympathy with sorrow falls much shorter of the sorrow felt by sufferer

Chapter 1: How Our sympathy with sorrow falls much shorter of the sorrow felt by sufferer

Our Sympathy with Sorrow is Stronger than Our Sympathy with Joy because pain is a stronger sensation than pleasure

1 Our sympathy with sorrow has been more noticed than our sympathy with joy.  
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Joseph Butler
2 First, our sympathy with sorrow is more universal than our sympathy with joy.
  • Yet we often feel a very sensible concern on his account.
  • But if we do not entirely enter into and go along with another's joy, we have no regard or fellow-feeling for it.
  •   3 Besides, pain of mind or body is a more pungent sensation than pleasure.   4 Over and above all this, we often struggle to keep down our sympathy with the sorrow of others.   5 However, despite this prejudice, if there is no envy, our propensity to sympathize with joy is much stronger than our propensity to sympathize with sorrow.   6 We have some indulgence for that excessive grief which we cannot entirely go along with.   7 What can be added to the happiness of a healthy, debt-free man who has a clear conscience?   8 Little can be added to this state.   9 It is agreeable to sympathize with joy.   10 Why should we be more ashamed to weep than to laugh before others?   1.3.11. How hearty are the acclamations of the mob who never envy their superiors at a triumph?   1.3.12. But on the contrary, when we condole with our friends in their afflictions, how little do we feel compared to what they feel?  

    Magnanimity is a virtue because of the natural lack of sympathy during distress

    13 Magnanimity amidst great distress always appears so divinely graceful because of this dull sensibility to the afflictions of others.
  • There is:
  • Admiration is the feeling of complete sympathy and approbation, mixed and animated with wonder and surprise.
  •   14 Whenever we meet any examples of such heroic magnanimity in common life, we are always extremely affected.   15

    On the contrary, a man who is sunk in sorrow and dejection from his own calamity always appears mean and despicable.


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    Next: Chapter 2: Ambition and distinction of rank