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Home > Summa Theologica > First Part of the Second Part > Question 11

Question 11. Enjoyment which is an act of the will

  1. Is enjoyment an act of the appetitive power?
  2. Does it belong to the rational creature alone, or also to irrational animals?
  3. Is enjoyment only of the last end?
  4. Is it only of the end possessed?

Article 1. Whether to enjoy is an act of the appetitive power?

Objection 1. It would seem that to enjoy belongs not only to the appetitive power. For to enjoy seems nothing else than to receive the fruit. But it is the intellect, in whose act Happiness consists, as shown above (Question 3, Article 04), that receives the fruit of human life, which is Happiness. Therefore to enjoy is not an act of the appetitive power, but of the intellect.

Objection 2. Further, each power has its proper end, which is its perfection: thus the end of sight is to know the visible; of the hearing, to perceive sounds; and so forth. But the end of a thing is its fruit. Therefore to enjoy belongs to each power, and not only to the appetite.

Objection 3. Further, enjoyment implies a certain delight. But sensible delight belongs to sense, which delights in its object: and for the same reason, intellectual delight belongs to the intellect. Therefore enjoyment belongs to the apprehensive, and not to the appetitive power.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 4; and De Trin. x, 10,11): "To enjoy is to adhere lovingly to something for its own sake." But love belongs to the appetitive power. Therefore also to enjoy is an act of the appetitive power.

I answer that, "Fruitio" [enjoyment] and "fructus" [fruit] seem to refer to the same, one being derived from the other; which from which, matters not for our purpose; though it seems probable that the one which is more clearly known, was first named. Now those things are most manifest to us which appeal most to the senses: wherefore it seems that the word "fruition" is derived from sensible fruits. But sensible fruit is that which we expect the tree to produce in the last place, and in which a certain sweetness is to be perceived. Hence fruition seems to have relation to love, or to the delight which one has in realizing the longed-for term, which is the end. Now the end and the good is the object of the appetitive power. Wherefore it is evident that fruition is the act of the appetitive power.

Reply to Objection 1. Nothing hinders one and the same thing from belonging, under different aspects, to different powers. Accordingly the vision of God, as vision, is an act of the intellect, but as a good and an end, is the object of the will. And as such is the fruition thereof: so that the intellect attains this end, as the executive power, but the will as the motive power, moving (the powers) towards the end and enjoying the end attained.

Reply to Objection 2. The perfection and end of every other power is contained in the object of the appetitive power, as the proper is contained in the common, as stated above (Question 9, Article 1). Hence the perfection and end of each power, in so far as it is a good, belongs to the appetitive power. Wherefore the appetitive power moves the other powers to their ends; and itself realizes the end, when each of them reaches the end.

Reply to Objection 3. In delight there are two things: perception of what is becoming; and this belongs to the apprehensive power; and complacency in that which is offered as becoming: and this belongs to the appetitive power, in which power delight is formally completed.

Article 2. Whether to enjoy belongs to the rational creature alone, or also to irrational animals?

Objection 1. It would seem that to enjoy belongs to men alone. For Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 22) that "it is given to us men to enjoy and to use." Therefore other animals cannot enjoy.

Objection 2. Further, to enjoy relates to the last end. But irrational animals cannot obtain the last end. Therefore it is not for them to enjoy.

Objection 3. Further, just as the sensitive appetite is beneath the intellectual appetite, so is the natural appetite beneath the sensitive. If, therefore, to enjoy belongs to the sensitive appetite, it seems that for the same reason it can belong to the natural appetite. But this is evidently false, since the latter cannot delight in anything. Therefore the sensitive appetite cannot enjoy: and accordingly enjoyment is not possible for irrational animals.

On the contrary, Augustine says (QQ. 83, qu. 30): "It is not so absurd to suppose that even beasts enjoy their food and any bodily pleasure."

I answer that, As was stated above (Article 1) to enjoy is not the act of the power that achieves the end as executor, but of the power that commands the achievement; for it has been said to belong to the appetitive power. Now things void of reason have indeed a power of achieving an end by way of execution, as that by which a heavy body has a downward tendency, whereas a light body has an upward tendency. Yet the power of command in respect of the end is not in them, but in some higher nature, which moves all nature by its command, just as in things endowed with knowledge, the appetite moves the other powers to their acts. Wherefore it is clear that things void of knowledge, although they attain an end, have no enjoyment of the end: this is only for those that are endowed with knowledge.

Now knowledge of the end is twofold: perfect and imperfect. Perfect knowledge of the end, is that whereby not only is that known which is the end and the good, but also the universal formality of the end and the good; and such knowledge belongs to the rational nature alone. On the other hand, imperfect knowledge is that by which the end and the good are known in the particular. Such knowledge is in irrational animals: whose appetitive powers do not command with freedom, but are moved according to a natural instinct to whatever they apprehend. Consequently, enjoyment belongs to the rational nature, in a perfect degree; to irrational animals, imperfectly; to other creatures, not at all.

Reply to Objection 1. Augustine is speaking there of perfect enjoyment.

Reply to Objection 2. Enjoyment need not be of the last end simply; but of that which each one chooses for his last end.

Reply to Objection 3. The sensitive appetite follows some knowledge; not so the natural appetite, especially in things void of knowledge.

Reply to Objection 4. Augustine is speaking there of imperfect enjoyment. This is clear from his way of speaking: for he says that "it is not so absurd to suppose that even beasts enjoy," that is, as it would be, if one were to say that they "use."

Article 3. Whether enjoyment is only of the last end?

Objection 1. It would seem that enjoyment is not only of the last end. For the Apostle says (Philem. 20): "Yea, brother, may I enjoy thee in the Lord." But it is evident that Paul had not placed his last end in a man. Therefore to enjoy is not only of the last end.

Objection 2. Further, what we enjoy is the fruit. But the Apostle says (Galatians 5:22): "The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace," and other like things, which are not in the nature of the last end. Therefore enjoyment is not only of the last end.

Objection 3. Further, the acts of the will reflect on one another; for I will to will, and I love to love. But to enjoy is an act of the will: since "it is the will with which we enjoy," as Augustine says (De Trin. x, 10). Therefore a man enjoys his enjoyment. But the last end of man is not enjoyment, but the uncreated good alone, which is God. Therefore enjoyment is not only of the last end.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. x, 11): "A man does not enjoy that which he desires for the sake of something else." But the last end alone is that which man does not desire for the sake of something else. Therefore enjoyment is of the last end alone.

I answer that, As stated above (Article 1) the notion of fruit implies two things: first that it should come last; second, that it should calm the appetite with a certain sweetness and delight. Now a thing is last either simply or relatively; simply, if it be referred to nothing else; relatively, if it is the last in a particular series. Therefore that which is last simply, and in which one delights as in the last end, is properly called fruit; and this it is that one is properly said to enjoy. But that which is delightful not in itself, but is desired, only as referred to something else, e.g. a bitter potion for the sake of health, can nowise be called fruit. And that which has something delightful about it, to which a number of preceding things are referred, may indeed by called fruit in a certain manner; but we cannot be said to enjoy it properly or as though it answered perfectly to the notion of fruit. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. x, 10) that "we enjoy what we know, when the delighted will is at rest therein." But its rest is not absolute save in the possession of the last end: for as long as something is looked for, the movement of the will remains in suspense, although it has reached something. Thus in local movement, although any point between the two terms is a beginning and an end, yet it is not considered as an actual end, except when the movement stops there.

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 33), "if he had said, 'May I enjoy thee,' without adding 'in the Lord,' he would seem to have set the end of his love in him. But since he added that he set his end in the Lord, he implied his desire to enjoy Him": as if we were to say that he expressed his enjoyment of his brother not as a term but as a means.

Reply to Objection 2. Fruit bears one relation to the tree that bore it, and another to man that enjoys it. To the tree indeed that bore it, it is compared as effect to cause; to the one enjoying it, as the final object of his longing and the consummation of his delight. Accordingly these fruits mentioned by the Apostle are so called because they are certain effects of the Holy Ghost in us, wherefore they are called "fruits of the spirit": but not as though we are to enjoy them as our last end. Or we may say with Ambrose that they are called fruits because "we should desire them for their own sake": not indeed as though they were not ordained to the last end; but because they are such that we ought to find pleasure in them.

Reply to Objection 3. As stated above (1, 8; 2, 7), we speak of an end in a twofold sense: first, as being the thing itself; secondly, as the attainment thereof. These are not, of course, two ends, but one end, considered in itself, and in its relation to something else. Accordingly God is the last end, as that which is ultimately sought for: while the enjoyment is as the attainment of this last end. And so, just as God is not one end, and the enjoyment of God, another: so it is the same enjoyment whereby we enjoy God, and whereby we enjoy our enjoyment of God. And the same applies to created happiness which consists in enjoyment.

Article 4. Whether enjoyment is only of the end possessed?

Objection 1. It would seem that enjoyment is only of the end possessed. For Augustine says (De Trin. x, 1) that "to enjoy is to use joyfully, with the joy, not of hope, but of possession." But so long as a thing is not had, there is joy, not of possession, but of hope. Therefore enjoyment is only of the end possessed.

Objection 2. Further, as stated above (Article 3), enjoyment is not properly otherwise than of the last end: because this alone gives rest to the appetite. But the appetite has no rest save in the possession of the end. Therefore enjoyment, properly speaking, is only of the end possessed.

Objection 3. Further, to enjoy is to lay hold of the fruit. But one does not lay hold of the fruit until one is in possession of the end. Therefore enjoyment is only of the end possessed.

On the contrary, "to enjoy is to adhere lovingly to something for its own sake," as Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 4). But this is possible, even in regard to a thing which is not in our possession. Therefore it is possible to enjoy the end even though it be not possessed.

I answer that, To enjoy implies a certain relation of the will to the last end, according as the will has something by way of last end. Now an end is possessed in two ways; perfectly and imperfectly. Perfectly, when it is possessed not only in intention but also in reality; imperfectly, when it is possessed in intention only. Perfect enjoyment, therefore, is of the end already possessed: but imperfect enjoyment is also of the end possessed not really, but only in intention.

Reply to Objection 1. Augustine speaks there of perfect enjoyment.

Reply to Objection 2. The will is hindered in two ways from being at rest. First on the part of the object; by reason of its not being the last end, but ordained to something else: secondly on the part of the one who desires the end, by reason of his not being yet in possession of it. Now it is the object that specifies an act: but on the agent depends the manner of acting, so that the act be perfect or imperfect, as compared with the actual circumstances of the agent. Therefore enjoyment of anything but the last end is not enjoyment properly speaking, as falling short of the nature of enjoyment. But enjoyment of the last end, not yet possessed, is enjoyment properly speaking, but imperfect, on account of the imperfect way in which it is possessed.

Reply to Objection 3. One is said to lay hold of or to have an end, not only in reality, but also in intention, as stated above.

The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Online Edition Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol.
Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii.
APPROBATIO ORDINIS
Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L.
Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ

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