Adam Smith: On Love and Resentment
In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, the famous Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith makes an interesting observation upon love and resentment:
"Love does not judge of resentment, nor resentment of love. Those two passions may be opposite to one another, but cannot, with any propriety, be said to approve or disapprove of one another." (Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments, edited by Knud Haakonssen, Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), Part III, Chapter V, page 131)I'm not certain what Smith intends by this. My hunch is that he means to say that the moral sentiments are fundamental and thus have to be acknowledged and taken as the brute facts upon which to base moral theory and to ground moral action.
I don't know that Jane Austen was aware of Smith's observation, but she might well disagree, for her novel Pride and Prejudice could as well have been titled Love and Resentment since the novel seems to be about the power of love to overcome even a "resentful" temperament like that of Darcy. Austen might rather appeal to I Corinthians 13: 4-7 for St. Paul's views on what love is and does:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (New International Version, italics mine)I'll have more to say of this another time.