Chap. 4: The Social Passions

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

  • On the other hand, the social and benevolent passions are opposite to these.
    • They cause a redoubled sympathy which almost always render them agreeable and becoming.
  • Generosity, humanity, kindness, compassion, mutual friendship and esteem almost always please the indifferent observer.
    • 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 object’s happiness.
    • This enlivens his fellow-feeling with the subject’s feelings.
  • Therefore, we always have 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 they might have expected from one another had their friendship continued?
    • It is in:
      • 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.


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
      • 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.

Words: 698

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