Temperance

Only humans are moral, because morality arises at a uniquely human level of existence.

1.) All natural things have automatic responses to stimuli and effects, but not all of them can be trained. Hit a rock with a bat and it will respond differently from a sponge, but one can’t repeat the action as a part of some sort of training. As Aristotle put it, you can’t train a rock to fly by throwing it in the air.

2.) In addition to automatic responses, some higher animals can also be trained. If dogs experience pains from certain stimuli, whether by the conscious action of a trainer or by the random action of the environment, they will avoid things associated with those stimuli in the future.

3.) Humans have not just automatic responses and the effects of being trained, but can also train themselves. Learning French in a class is neither an automatic response or a conditioned response arising purely from a trainer or the environment but is, at least in part, an action one asserts on himself to create habits by his own initiative.

4.) Angels have neither automatic responses, the effects of training, nor the need to train automatic responses in themselves. An angel knows all it will ever naturally know (in first act) from the first moment of his existence, and all that will ever be revealed to it in the next moment of his existence. His choices aren’t made against a backdrop of automatic responses or environmental and/ or hereditary factors, nor do his free choices lead to ingrained habits.

Human beings are thus uniquely self-trainers. To visualize our basic moral state, think of a dog trainer who, even while training the dog, also feels the yank of his own choke chain. We don’t just issue the command but feel the physical effects of deprivation or pleasure. The angel just commands with no part of him to rebel or enjoy; the dog feels just the pain or joy with no power to command it to happen and not happen, only humans in statu unione corporis have an experience arising from both founts.

 

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