Aquinas – sustinere et aggredi

The virtue of fortitude has two acts: sustinere et aggredi.  This means that we must suffer, undergo, endure, but also undertake and attack

The Summa Theologica
FORTITUDE (Questions [123]-124)

Ad tertium dicendum quod pax reipublicae est secundum se bona, nec redditur mala ex hoc quod aliqui male ea utuntur. Nam et multi alii sunt qui bene ea utuntur, et multo peiora mala per eam prohibentur, scilicet homicidia, sacrilegia, quam ex ea occasionentur, quae praecipue pertinent ad vitia carnis.
Reply to Objection 3: The peace of the state is good in itself, nor does it become evil because certain persons make evil use of it. For there are many others who make good use of it; and many evils prevented by it, such as murders and sacrileges, are much greater than those which are occasioned by it, and which belong chiefly to the sins of the flesh…

I answer that, As stated above (FS, Question [24], Article [2]), concerning anger and the other passions there was a difference of opinion between the Peripatetics and the Stoics. For the Stoics excluded anger and all other passions of the soul from the mind of a wise or good man: whereas the Peripatetics, of whom Aristotle was the chief, ascribed to virtuous men both anger and the other passions of the soul albeit modified by reason. And possibly they differed not in reality but in their way of speaking. For the Peripatetics, as stated above (FS, Question [24], Article [2]), gave the name of passions to all the movements of the sensitive appetite, however they may comport themselves. And since the sensitive appetite is moved by the command of reason, so that it may cooperate by rendering action more prompt, they held that virtuous persons should employ both anger and the other passions of the soul, modified according to the dictate of reason. On the other hand, the Stoics gave the name of passions to certain immoderate emotions of the sensitive appetite, wherefore they called them sicknesses or diseases, and for this reason severed them altogether from virtue.

Accordingly the brave man employs moderate anger for his action, but not immoderate anger.
Sic ergo iram moderatam assumit fortis ad suum actum, non autem iram immoderatam.

Reply to Objection 1: Anger that is moderated in accordance with reason is subject to the command of reason: so that man uses it at his will, which would not be the case were it immoderate.
Reply to Objection 2: Reason employs anger for its action, not as seeking its assistance, but because it uses the sensitive appetite as an instrument, just as it uses the members of the body. Nor is it unbecoming for the instrument to be more imperfect than the principal agent, even as the hammer is more imperfect than the smith…
Reply to Objection 3: Whereas fortitude, as stated above (Article [6]), has two acts, namely endurance and aggression, it employs anger, not for the act of endurance, because the reason by itself performs this act, but for the act of aggression, for which it employs anger rather than the other passions, since it belongs to anger to strike at the cause of sorrow, so that it directly cooperates with fortitude in attacking. On the other hand, sorrow by its very nature gives way to the thing that hurts; though accidentally it helps in aggression, either as being the cause of anger, as stated above (FS, Question [47], Article [3]), or as making a person expose himself to danger in order to escape from sorrow. In like manner desire, by its very nature, tends to a pleasurable good, to which it is directly contrary to withstand danger: yet accidentally sometimes it helps one to attack, in so far as one prefers to risk dangers rather than lack pleasure. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 5): “Of all the cases in which fortitude arises from a passion, the most natural is when a man is brave through anger, making his choice and acting for a purpose,” i.e. for a due end; “this is true fortitude.”
Et ideo philosophus dicit, in III Ethic., quod inter fortitudines quae sunt ex passione, naturalissima esse videtur quae est per iram, et accipiens electionem et cuius gratia (scilicet debitum finem), fortitudo (scilicet, fuit vera).


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