Of Delight Considered in Itself

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Whether delight is in time?

Objection 1 It would seem that delight is in time. For "delight is a kind of movement," as the Philosopher says 1. But all movement is in time. Therefore delight is in time.

Objection 2 Further, a thing is said to last long and to be morose in respect of time. But some pleasures are called morose. Therefore pleasure is in time.

Objection 3 Further, the passions of the soul are of one same genus. But some passions of the soul are in time. Therefore delight is too.

On the contrary The Philosopher says 2 that "no one takes pleasure according to time."

I answer that A thing may be in time in two ways: first, by itself; secondly, by reason of something else, and accidentally as it were. For since time is the measure of successive things, those things are of themselves said to be in time, to which succession or something pertaining to succession is essential: such are movement, repose, speech and such like. On the other hand, those things are said to be in time, by reason of something else and not of themselves, to which succession is not essential, but which are subject to something successive. Thus the fact of being a man is not essentially something successive; since it is not a movement, but the term of a movement or change, viz. of this being begotten: yet, because human being is subject to changeable causes, in this respect, to be a man is in time. Accordingly, we must say that delight, of itself indeed, is not in time: for it regards good already gained, which is, as it were, the term of the movement. But if this good gained be subject to change, the delight therein will be in time accidentally: whereas if it be altogether unchangeable, the delight therein will not be in time, either by reason of itself or accidentally.

Reply to Objection 1 As stated in De Anima iii, 7, movement is twofold. One is "the act of something imperfect, i.e. of something existing in potentiality, as such": this movement is successive and is in time. Another movement is "the act of something perfect, i.e. of something existing in act," e.g. to understand, to feel, and to will and such like, also to have delight. This movement is not successive, nor is it of itself in time.

Reply to Objection 2 Delight is said to be long lasting or morose, according as it is accidentally in time.

Reply to Objection 3 Other passions have not for their object a good obtained, as delight has. Wherefore there is more of the movement of the imperfect in them than in delight. And consequently it belongs more to delight not to be in time.

  1. Rhet. i, 11
  2. Ethic. x, 4