Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q179

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Q178 Q180



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IIª-IIae q. 179 pr. Consequenter considerandum est de vita activa et contemplativa. Ubi quadruplex consideratio occurrit, quarum prima est de divisione vitae per activam et contemplativam; secunda, de vita contemplativa; tertia, de vita activa; quarta, de comparatione vitae activae ad contemplativam. Circa primum quaeruntur duo. Primo, utrum vita convenienter dividatur per activam et contemplativam. Secundo, utrum divisio sit sufficiens. Question 179. The division of life into active and contemplative 1. Is life fittingly divided into active and contemplative? 2. Is this an adequate division?
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod vita non convenienter dividatur per activam et contemplativam. Anima enim est principium vitae per suam essentiam, dicit enim philosophus, in II de anima, quod vivere viventibus est esse. Actionis autem et contemplationis principium est anima per suas potentias. Ergo videtur quod vita non convenienter dividatur per activam et contemplativam. Objection 1. It would seem that life is not fittingly divided into active and contemplative. For the soul is the principle of life by its essence: since the Philosopher says (De Anima ii, 4) that "in living things to live is to be." Now the soul is the principle of action and contemplation by its powers. Therefore it would seem that life is not fittingly divided into active and contemplative.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, inconvenienter dividitur prius per differentias posterioris. Activum autem et contemplativum, sive speculativum et practicum, sunt differentiae intellectus, ut patet in III de anima. Vivere autem est prius quam intelligere, nam vivere inest viventibus primo secundum animam vegetabilem, ut patet per philosophum, in II de anima. Ergo inconvenienter dividitur vita per activam et contemplativam. Objection 2. Further, the division of that which comes afterwards is unfittingly applied to that which comes first. Now active and contemplative, or "speculative" and "practical," are differences of the intellect (De Anima iii, 10); while "to live" comes before "to understand," since "to live" comes first to living things through the vegetative soul, as the Philosopher states (De Anima ii, 4). Therefore life is unfittingly divided into active and contemplative.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, nomen vitae importat motum, ut patet per Dionysium, VI cap. de Div. Nom. Sed contemplatio consistit magis in quiete, secundum illud Sap. VIII, intrans in domum meam, conquiescam cum illa. Ergo videtur quod vita non convenienter dividatur per activam et contemplativam. Objection 3. Further, the word "life" implies movement, according to Dionysius (Div. Nom. vi): whereas contemplation consists rather in rest, according to (Wisdom 8:1)6: "When I enter into my house, I shall repose myself with her." Therefore it would seem that life is unfittingly divided into active and contemplative.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod Gregorius, super Ezech., dicit, duae sunt vitae in quibus nos omnipotens Deus per sacrum eloquium erudit, activa videlicet et contemplativa. On the contrary, Gregory says (Hom. xiv super Ezech.): "There is a twofold life wherein Almighty God instructs us by His holy word, the active life and the contemplative."
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod illa proprie dicuntur viventia quae ex seipsis moventur seu operantur. Illud autem maxime convenit alicui secundum seipsum, quod est proprium ei, et ad quod maxime inclinatur. Et ideo unumquodque vivens ostenditur vivere ex operatione sibi maxime propria, ad quam maxime inclinatur, sicut plantarum vita dicitur in hoc consistere quod nutriuntur et generant; animalium vero in hoc quod sentiunt et moventur; hominum vero in hoc quod intelligunt et secundum rationem agunt. Unde etiam et in hominibus vita uniuscuiusque hominis videtur esse id in quo maxime delectatur, et cui maxime intendit, et in hoc praecipue vult quilibet convivere amico, ut dicitur in IX Ethic. Quia ergo quidam homines praecipue intendunt contemplationi veritatis, quidam principaliter intendunt exterioribus actionibus, inde est quod vita hominis convenienter dividitur per activam et contemplativam. I answer that, Properly speaking, those things are said to live whose movement or operation is from within themselves. Now that which is proper to a thing and to which it is most inclined is that which is most becoming to it from itself; wherefore every living thing gives proof of its life by that operation which is most proper to it, and to which it is most inclined. Thus the life of plants is said to consist in nourishment and generation; the life of animals in sensation and movement; and the life of men in their understanding and acting according to reason. Wherefore also in men the life of every man would seem to be that wherein he delights most, and on which he is most intent; thus especially does he wish "to associate with his friends" (Ethic. ix, 12). Accordingly since certain men are especially intent on the contemplation of truth, while others are especially intent on external actions, it follows that man's life is fittingly divided into active and contemplative.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod propria forma uniuscuiusque faciens ipsum esse in actu, est principium propriae operationis ipsius. Et ideo vivere dicitur esse viventium ex eo quod viventia per hoc quod habent esse per suam formam, tali modo operantur. Reply to Objection 1. Each thing's proper form that makes it actually "to be" is properly that thing's principle of operation. Hence "to live" is, in living things, "to be," because living things through having "being" from their form, act in such and such a way.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod vita universaliter sumpta non dividitur per activam et contemplativam, sed vita hominis, qui speciem sortitur ex hoc quod habet intellectum. Et ideo eadem est divisio intellectus et vitae humanae. Reply to Objection 2. Life in general is not divided into active and contemplative, but the life of man, who derives his species from having an intellect, wherefore the same division applies to intellect and human life.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod contemplatio habet quidem quietem ab exterioribus motibus, nihilominus tamen ipsum contemplari est quidam motus intellectus, prout quaelibet operatio dicitur motus; secundum quod philosophus dicit, in III de anima, quod sentire et intelligere sunt motus quidam, prout motus dicitur actus perfecti. Et hoc modo Dionysius, IV cap. de Div. Nom., ponit tres motus animae contemplantis, scilicet rectum, circularem et obliquum. Reply to Objection 3. It is true that contemplation enjoys rest from external movements. Nevertheless to contemplate is itself a movement of the intellect, in so far as every operation is described as a movement; in which sense the Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 7) that sensation and understanding are movements of a kind, in so far as movement is defined "the act of a perfect thing." On this way Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv) ascribes three movements to the soul in contemplation, namely, "straight," "circular," and "oblique" [Cf. 180, 6].
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod vita non sufficienter dividatur per activam et contemplativam. Philosophus enim, in I Ethic. dicit quod tres sunt vitae maxime excellentes, scilicet voluptuosa, civilis, quae videtur esse eadem activae, et contemplativa. Insufficienter ergo dividitur vita per activam et contemplativam. Objection 1. It would seem that life is not adequately divided into active and contemplative. For the Philosopher says (Ethic. i, 5) that there are three most prominent kinds of life, the life of "pleasure," the "civil" which would seem to be the same as the active, and the "contemplative" life. Therefore the division of life into active and contemplative would seem to be inadequate.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, Augustinus, XIX de Civ. Dei, ponit tria vitae genera, scilicet otiosum, quod pertinet ad contemplationem; actuosum, quod pertinet ad vitam activam; et addit tertium ex utroque compositum. Ergo videtur quod insufficienter dividatur vita per activam et contemplativam. Objection 2. Further, Augustine (De Civ. Dei xix, 1,2,3,19) mentions three kinds of life, namely the life of "leisure" which pertains to the contemplative, the "busy" life which pertains to the active, and a third "composed of both." Therefore it would seem that life is inadequately divided into active and contemplative.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, vita hominis diversificatur secundum quod homines diversis actionibus student. Sed plura quam duo sunt humanarum actionum studia. Ergo videtur quod vita debeat in plura membra dividi quam in activum et contemplativum. Objection 3. Further, man's life is diversified according to the divers actions in which men are occupied. Now there are more than two occupations of human actions. Therefore it would seem that life should be divided into more kinds than the active and the contemplative.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod istae duae vitae significantur per duas uxores Iacob, activa quidem per Liam, contemplativa vero per Rachelem; et per duas mulieres quae dominum hospitio receperunt, contemplativa quidem per Mariam, activa vero per Martham; ut Gregorius dicit, in VI Moral. Non autem esset haec congrua significatio si essent plures quam duae vitae. Ergo sufficienter dividitur vita per activam et contemplativam. On the contrary, These two lives are signified by the two wives of Jacob; the active by Lia, and the contemplative by Rachel: and by the two hostesses of our Lord; the contemplative life by Mary, and the active life by Martha, as Gregory declares (Moral. vi, 37 [Hom. xiv in Ezech.]). Now this signification would not be fitting if there were more than two lives. Therefore life is adequately divided into active and contemplative.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, divisio ista datur de vita humana, quae quidem attenditur secundum intellectum. Intellectus autem dividitur per activum et contemplativum, quia finis intellectivae cognitionis vel est ipsa cognitio veritatis, quod pertinet ad intellectum contemplativum; vel est aliqua exterior actio, quod pertinet ad intellectum practicum sive activum. Et ideo vita etiam sufficienter dividitur per activam et contemplativam. I answer that, As stated above (1, ad 2), this division applies to the human life as derived from the intellect. Now the intellect is divided into active and contemplative, since the end of intellective knowledge is either the knowledge itself of truth, which pertains to the contemplative intellect, or some external action, which pertains to the practical or active intellect. Therefore life too is adequately divided into active and contemplative.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod vita voluptuosa ponit finem in delectatione corporali, quae communis est nobis et brutis. Unde, sicut philosophus ibidem dicit, est vita bestialis. Propter quod, non comprehenditur sub praesenti divisione, prout vita humana dividitur in activam et contemplativam. Reply to Objection 1. The life of pleasure places its end in pleasures of the body, which are common to us and dumb animals; wherefore as the Philosopher says (Ethic. Ethic. i, 5), it is the life "of a beast." Hence it is not included in this division of the life of a man into active and contemplative.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod media conficiuntur ex extremis, et ideo virtute continentur in eis, sicut tepidum in calido et frigido, et pallidum in albo et nigro. Et similiter sub activo et contemplativo comprehenditur id quod est ex utroque compositum. Et tamen, sicut in quolibet mixto praedominatur aliquod simplicium, ita etiam in medio genere vitae superabundat quandoque quidem contemplativum, quandoque vero activum. Reply to Objection 2. A mean is a combination of extremes, wherefore it is virtually contained in them, as tepid in hot and cold, and pale in white and black. On like manner active and contemplative comprise that which is composed of both. Nevertheless as in every mixture one of the simples predominates, so too in the mean state of life sometimes the contemplative, sometimes the active element, abounds.
IIª-IIae q. 179 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod omnia studia humanarum actionum, si ordinentur ad necessitatem praesentis vitae secundum rationem rectam, pertinent ad vitam activam, quae per ordinatas actiones consulit necessitati vitae praesentis. Si autem deserviant concupiscentiae cuicumque, pertinent ad vitam voluptuosam, quae non continetur sub vita activa. Humana vero studia quae ordinantur ad considerationem veritatis, pertinent ad vitam contemplativam. Reply to Objection 3. All the occupations of human actions, if directed to the requirements of the present life in accord with right reason, belong to the active life which provides for the necessities of the present life by means of well-ordered activity. If, on the other hand, they minister to any concupiscence whatever, they belong to the life of pleasure, which is not comprised under the active life. Those human occupations that are directed to the consideration of truth belong to the contemplative life.

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