Chap. 4: The Social Passions

29 A divided sympathy renders anger and resentment so ungraceful and disagreeable.

  • so there is another set opposite to these, which a redoubled sympathy renders almost always peculiarly agreeable and becoming.
  • Generosity, humanity, kindness, compassion, mutual friendship and esteem, all the social and benevolent affections, when expressed in the countenance or behaviour, please the indifferent observer almost always.
    • The observer’s sympathy with the subject, or the person who feels those passions, exactly coincides with his concern the object, or for the person who is the target of them.
    • The observer takes in the happiness of the object and this enlivens his fellow-feeling with the feelings of the subject.
  • We always have, therefore, the strongest disposition to sympathize with the benevolent affections.
    • They appear agreeable to us in every respect.
    • 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.
  • What character is so detestable as one who takes pleasure to sow dissent among friends and turn their tender love into mortal hatred?
  • Yet wherein does the atrocity of this so much abhorred injury consist?
  • Is it in depriving them of the frivolous good offices, which, had their friendship continued, they might have expected from one another?
    • It is in:
      • depriving them of that friendship itself
      • robbing them of each other’s affections
      • disturbing the harmony of their hearts
      • putting an end to that happy commerce between them
  • That harmony and commerce are felt by the tender and the delicate, and by the rudest vulgar of mankind.
    • These are more importance to happiness than all the little services which flow from them.

30 The sentiment of love is, in itself, agreeable to its subject, or to the person who feels it.

  • It soothes and composes the breast.
    • It seems to favour the vital motions and to promote the health.
    • It is rendered still 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:
      • there is a jarring contention between family members against each other.
      • mutual jealousies burn within the members
      • the members and which are every moment 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 too tender mother, too indulgent father, and too generous and affectionate friend, might sometimes, be looked on with pity with a mixture of love.
    • However, it can never be regarded with hatred nor contempt, unless by the most brutal and worthless person.
    • 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.

Words: 716

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