Saturday, June 7, 2008

Aquinas Responds: Does Passion Wound the Lover?

In reply to the objections, it is to be observed that four proximate effects may be ascribed to love: viz. melting, enjoyment, languor, and fervor. Of these the first is "melting," which is opposed to freezing. For things that are frozen, are closely bound together, so as to be hard to pierce. But it belongs to love that the appetite is fitted to receive the good which is loved, inasmuch as the object loved is in the lover, as stated above (Article 2). Consequently the freezing or hardening of the heart is a disposition incompatible with love: while melting denotes a softening of the heart, whereby the heart shows itself to be ready for the entrance of the beloved. If, then, the beloved is present and possessed, pleasure or enjoyment ensues. But if the beloved be absent, two passions arise; viz. sadness at its absence, which is denoted by "languor" (hence Cicero in De Tusc. Quaest. iii, 11 applies the term "ailment" chiefly to sadness); and an intense desire to possess the beloved, which is signified by "fervor." And these are the effects of love considered formally, according to the relation of the appetitive power to its object. But in the passion of love, other effects ensue, proportionate to the above, in respect of a change in the organ.


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