Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION IV.: OF THINGS REQUISITE FOR HAPPINESS. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION IV.: OF THINGS REQUISITE FOR HAPPINESS. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF THINGS REQUISITE FOR HAPPINESS.
Article I.—Is delight requisite for happiness?
R. In four ways one thing is requisite for another. In one way as a preamble or preparation for it, as instruction is for knowledge. In another way as perfecting the thing, as the soul is requisite for the life of the body. In a third way as cooperating from without, as friends are requisite for carrying out an enterprise. In a fourth way as a concomitant, as if we were to say that heat is requisite for fire. And in this last way delight is requisite for happiness. For delight is caused by the fact of desire resting in attained good. Hence since happiness is nothing else than the attainment of the Sovereign Good, there cannot be happiness without concomitant delight.
§ 1. To Augustine’s words, that “vision is the whole reward of faith,” it is to be said that by the very fact of reward rendered, the will of him who earns it is at rest, which is to have delight.
§ 2. He who sees God cannot want for delight.
§ 3. The delight that accompanies the activity of the understanding, does not impede, but rather strengthens that activity: for acts done with delight are done with more attention and perseverance. But an extraneous delight would impede activity by distracting the attention.
Article II.—Is vision rather than delight the main element in happiness?1
R. It must needs be that vision, the activity of the understanding, is better than delight. For delight consists in a certain repose of the will: but the fact of the will’s reposing in anything is only for the goodness of that wherein it reposes. If therefore the will reposes in any activity, it is from the goodness of the activity that the repose of the will proceeds. Nor does the will seek good for the sake of repose; for at that rate the end of the will would be its own act, which is against former conclusions.2 But the reason why the will seeks to repose in an activity, is because such an activity is the will’s own proper good. Hence it is manifest that the activity itself in which the will reposes, is more of a principal good than the repose which the will finds therein.
§ 1. As the Philosopher says, “Delight perfects activity as beauty does youth,” which beauty is consequent upon youth. Hence delight is a perfection concomitant upon vision, not a perfection that makes vision to be perfect in its kind.
§ 2. The apprehension of sense does not attain to the general notion of good, but to some particular good which affords delight. And therefore according to the procedure of the sensitive appetite, which is in animals, activities are sought for the sake of delight. But the intellect grasps the universal idea of good, upon the attainment of which there follows delight: hence the intellect intends good pre-eminently above delight. Hence also it is that the Divine Intellect, which has the ordering of nature, has appended delights to activities for the sake of the activity. Our estimates of things must not be made simply by the ruling of the sensitive appetite, but rather by the ruling of the intellectual appetite.
Article IV.—Is rectitude of will requisite for happiness?
R. Rectitude of will is requisite for happiness both antecedently and concomitantly. Antecedently, because rectitude of will is an attitude of due regard to the last end. As matter cannot take its form unless it be duly disposed unto the same, so nothing gains its end unless it be in due regard to it. And therefore none can arrive at happiness unless he have rectitude of will. Again concomitantly, because happiness ultimately consists in the vision of the Divine Essence, which is the very essence of goodness; and thus whatever the will of him who sees the Essence of God loves, it necessarily loves it in subordination to God, as whatever the will of him who does not see the Essence of God loves, it loves it necessarily under the common idea of good which it knows; and this subordination it is that keeps the will right. Hence it is manifest that happiness cannot be without a right will.
Article VI.—Is any perfection of the body requisite for happiness?
R. If we speak of human happiness such as can be had in this life, it is manifest that a good habit of body is requisite thereto of necessity; and that by ill-health of body man may be impeded in every virtuous activity. But speaking of perfect happiness, some have laid it down that no disposition of body is requisite for happiness: nay, that it is requisite thereto for the soul to be altogether separated from the body. Augustine quotes some words of Porphyry to this effect: “That the soul may be happy, everything corporeal must be avoided.” But this is unreasonable: for as it is natural to the soul to be united to a body, it cannot be that the perfection of the soul excludes this its natural perfection. And therefore we must say that for happiness in every way perfect there is requisite a perfect disposition of body, as well antecedently as consequently. Antecedently, because as Augustine says, “If the body be such that the conduct of it becomes a difficult and burdensome task, as in the case of the flesh that is corrupted and weighs down the spirit, the mind is turned away from the vision of the highest heaven;” hence he concludes that “when this body shall be no longer animal but spiritual, then man shall be equal to the angels, and what was his load shall be his glory.” Consequently, because from the happiness of the soul there shall be an overflow on to the body, that the body too may attain its proper perfection. Hence Augustine says: “God has made the soul of so potent a nature, that out of its full and abounding happiness there overflows upon the lower nature the freshness of incorruption.”
§ 1. Bodily good, though not the object of happiness, may yet be some ornament or complement of happiness.
§ 3. For the perfect activity of the understanding there is requisite indeed a withdrawal from this corruptible body, which weighs down the soul, but not from the spiritual body, which will be wholly subject to the spirit.
Article VII.—Are any exterior goods requisite for happiness?
R. For imperfect happiness, such as can be had in this life, exterior goods are requisite, not as being of the essence of happiness, but as instrumental to happiness: for man needs in this life the necessaries of the body for the exercise as well of contemplative as of active virtue. But for perfect happiness, which consists in the vision of God, such goods are nowise requisite. The reason is this, that whereas all such exterior goods are either requisite for the support of the animal body, or requisite for certain activities which we exercise through the animal body, perfect happiness in the vision of God will either be in the soul without the body, or will be in a soul united to a body no longer animal but spiritual; and therefore in no way are exterior goods requisite for that happiness, bearing as they do upon animal life.
§ 2. Exterior goods, subservient as they are to animal life, are not proper to the spiritual life in which the happiness of man consists. And yet there shall be in that happiness an assemblage of all things good; because whatever good is found in those exterior things will be all possessed in the supreme source and fountain of goodness.
Article VIII.—Is the company of friends requisite for happiness?
R. If we speak of the happiness of the present life, to be happy, man needs friends, both in the active and in the contemplative life. But if we speak of the perfect happiness that will be in our heavenly country, the company of friends is not a necessary requisite of happiness: because man has all the fulness of his perfection in God. But the company of friends makes for the well-being of happiness. Hence Augustine says: “The only aid to happiness in spiritual creatures is intrinsic from the eternity, truth, and charity of the Creator: but if they are to be said to receive any extrinsic aid at all, perhaps it is in this alone, that they see one another and enjoy one another’s company.”
§ 3. The perfection of charity is essential to happiness as regards the love of God, not as regards the love of our neighbour. Hence, if there were only one soul enjoying God, it would be happy, without having any neighbour to love.1 But supposing the existence of a neighbour, the love of that neighbour follows from the perfect love of God. Hence friendship is a sort of concomitant of perfect happiness.
[1 ]This article is really a continuation of art. 4 of the previous question. (Trl.)
[2 ]Q. 3. art. 4.
[1 ]“Only one soul.” Such hypotheses are often met with. We may be cognisant one day, we may hazard a conjecture now, of an intrinsic absurdity, visible to the mind of Him who said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. ii. 18), rendering it impossible for creatures to be called into existence otherwise than in species and hierarchies. Many arrangements intrinsically impossible may be conceivable to us solely on account of the imperfection of our ideas, as the squaring of the circle is conceivable to the unmathematical mind. See Dr. Mivart, On Truth, pp. 468, 469. The actual state of the blessed is one of social happiness in “the holy city Jerusalem” (Apoc. xxi. 10), as the way leading to it is life in the society of the Church on earth. The blessed in Heaven and the faithful upon earth are essentially a body, consisting of Christ the Head with His members. Hence we should hesitate to pronounce the “communion of saints” a mere accidental element in happiness. Cf. Aristotle, Ethics, IX. ix. 10. (Trl.)