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20: Emotional Conflict and the Divided Self

PART III: Emotional Conflict and Structure of the Mind
20: Emotional Conflict and the Divided Self
The next two chapters look forwards and backwards. They supply a missing piece of the Stoic controversy with others on the psychology of emotion. But they also provide a background to Christian treatments of temptation will and divided will.

We have seen in Chapter 3 that Zeno Chrysippus and Seneca seem to think emotion involves akrasia lack of control in the sense of conflict with one's better judgement.1 It does so at the stage when one is carried away (ekpheresthai efferri). I have claimed that Seneca's descriptions of this lack of control in anger are highly realistic. But this creates a problem for the Stoics because Plato had argued that such emotional conflict shows the self to be divided into different kinds (eidē) or parts of soul. Chrysippus however and those Stoics who follow him believe the relevant aspect of the self the command centre (hēgemonikon) to be free from partition. It contains not parts but only powers namely appearance impulse assent and reason which are no more separated from each other than the taste and smell of an apple.2 Admittedly appearances arrive at the command centre from the five senses and the five senses can be described as distinct parts of the physical pneuma or spirit which constitutes the soul as can the parts that control the voice or reproduction.3 But the command centre itself has no parts and three of its powers are not as distinct as they sound since impulse is sometimes treated as a kind of assent and assent is an act of reason as we saw in Chapter 2. To understand how Chrysippus avoids splitting the command centre we must see why Plato insisted the soul must be split.

Plato's argument for dividing the soul
Plato's argument in the Republic for dividing the soul is partly based on an analogy with his division of society but partly on a logical point.4 He says that the same thing would never undergo or be or do opposites at the same time in the same respect in relation to the same object. Yet a very thirsty person finding water he knows to be contaminated can want to drink this drink5 and want not to drink it at the same time. These are opposite states of mind related to the same drink so it cannot be the same single thing that has these opposite desires after all.
It requires further argument (which I shall not discuss) to show that there are precisely three such things that they are in the soul and that they are properly described as the rational (logistikon) high-spirited (thumoeides) and appetitive (epithumētikon). In his earlier work the Phaedo he had distinguished only two conflicting things body and soul and had treated the soul as unitary. His conclusion in the Republic is that there are three kinds (eidē) and that they are in the soul.6 Later in the Timaeus he will locate them in different parts of the body so that they become three parts of the soul.7 But I am concerned with the logical argument which establishes no more than that there are at least two things which have the simultaneous opposite desires. The conclusion is still a strong one. It is not the obvious point that there are different desires but the claim that there are distinct kinds or parts which have these desires.
It is much harder than one might suppose to say what if anything is wrong with the logical argument but a passage in Pseudo-Plutarch helps. The question turns partly on the meaning of ‘opposites’ (enantia). Aristotle defined opposites in some passages as two properties belonging in the same range (e.g. colour) but separated to the maximum distance from each other8 as are black and white. To take one of Plato's own examples pushing and pulling are separated by the intermediate possibility of exerting no pressure in either direction. It is true that such opposites as pushing and pulling cannot coexist simultaneously in that we cannot with exactly the same point on our own bodies push and pull simultaneously one and the same point on another body. But is this true of all opposites? What about readiness to push and readiness to pull? Why should I not have these opposite potentialities simultaneously? This point is explicitly made by Pseudo-Plutarch about opposite capacities in general. And might not opposite desires be more like opposite readinesses or capacities? Plato biases the result by comparing the two opposite desires to pushing and pulling rather than to a readiness to push and a readiness to pull. Pseudo-Plutarch's objection deserves to be quoted:
Capacities are such that however many there may be each is seen as belonging to the subject as a whole. But the rational and irrational do not have this relation to the soul but are thought to be sections of the whole soul and to do different things in it. And that is for a plausible reason that they are opposites and for opposites to belong together in a single thing in the same respect [is thought impossible].
[But it must be considered whether this principle is] true. For perhaps nothing prevents opposites belonging together in the way described if they are capacities (dunameis) and are not taken as activities (energeiai). It is impossible to exercise reason and unreason or to make well and ill both at the same time. But the capacity for making well and for making ill can belong to the same thing at the same time and the capacity of exercising reason and of exercising unreason can belong to the soul at the same time while the corresponding activities cannot also belong.9
Plato's changing recognition of akrasia and its causes
When Plato moves beyond the logical argument for a division to the further argument that we must distinguish a third part of the soul the thumos which exercises indignation in alliance with reason but is distinct from it he introduces the extra division by telling the story of Leontius:
But I once heard something which I believe that Leontius the son of Aglaion was coming up from the Piraeus under the north wall from outside and observed corpses lying beside the public executioner. At the same time he had an appetite (epithumein) to look and again felt disquiet and turned himself away. For a while he fought and [440 A] covered his face. But overcome (kratoumenos) by appetite he stretched his eyes ran towards the corpses and said ‘See for yourselves you wretches replenish yourselves with the beautiful sight’… Now this story means that anger (orgē) sometimes makes war on the appetites as being distinct from them… So in many other cases too when [440 B] appetites force (biazesthai) somebody against his reasoning (logismos) do we not observe him reviling himself and directing an angry spirit (thumousthai) against that within him which is being forced (biazomenon)?10
This passage is innovative for a new reason. It abandons an idea found in earlier dialogues and discussed in Chapter 1 that we never want to take what we think (oiesthai) to be a bad or the less good course of action. Some such view is several times put by Plato into the mouth of Socrates although in the Protagoras Socrates is speaking dialectically against Protagoras and claims only that such a view follows if we accept Protagoras’ idea that ‘the pleasant is good’. The view is that it is causally impossible (not in our nature) to be willing (ethelein) to do something (the example that will concern us is look at corpses) while making the comparative assessment (oiesthai) that another course would be better. Much the same treatment is given to acting as to willingness to act.
If then the pleasant is good no one who either knows or thinks (oietai)11 that things other than what he is doing are better (beltiō) and possible will still do what he is doing when it is possible to do the better. Nor is being overcome by yourself anything other than ignorance (amathia). Nor is being master of yourself anything other than wisdom. (All agreed.) What then? Do you say that ignorance is having a false opinion and being mistaken about things that matter a great deal? (All agreed.) Then another result is that nobody voluntarily (hekōn) goes after bad things nor after what he thinks (oietai) to be bad nor is it as it seems in human nature to be willing (ethelein) to go after what one thinks (oietai) bad instead of good things. And when one is compelled to choose one of two evils no one will choose the greater when it is possible to choose the lesser.12
A similar view recurs in dialectical contexts in Plato's Gorgias and Meno. What one really wants (boulesthai) is good not bad. The interlocutor's rival claim that one can have an appetite for (epithumein) things one thinks and knows (hēgeisthai gignōskein) to be harmful and bad is neither confirmed nor denied. It might be thought that the view of appetite envisaged as Socratic must be the same as what he is made to say about action namely that appetite is in some sense directed at what seems good (dokei) or in the case of comparative judgements better. But that is less than certain because a parallel passage13 says that appetite (epithumia) is directed at pleasure boulēsis at the good.
It is in pursuit (diōkein) of the good then that we walk when we walk thinking (oiomenoi) that better (beltion) and conversely we stand when we stand for the sake of this same thing the good. (Yes.) So we kill if we kill anybody and exile people and confiscate their goods thinking (oiomenoi) it better for us to do this than not? (Quite so.) So those who do these things do them all for the sake of the good? (I say so.) Then we have agreed that what we really want (boulesthai) is not what we do for the sake of something else but the thing for whose sake we do those things. (Yes.) Then we do not really want (boulesthai) to butcher or exile from cities or confiscate goods just like that without qualification. Rather we really want (boulesthai) to do that if it is beneficial but if it is harmful we do not really want it (boulesthai) since it is the good that we really want (boulesthai) as you say yourself. We do not really want (boulesthai) what is neither good nor bad nor what is bad. Right? Do I seem to you to be speaking the truth Polus or not? Why do you not answer? (It is true.) Then if we agree on this if anyone whether a tyrant or an orator kills another or exiles him from the city or confiscates his goods thinking (oiomenos) that is better for himself but it happens to be worse he surely does what seems good to him (dokei). Right? (Yes.) Does he then also do what he really wants if this happens to be bad? Why do you not answer?14
What then? Do those who have an appetite (epithumein) for bad things as you say and who believe (hēgeisthai) that bad things harm the person to whom they come—they know (gignōskein) presumably that they will be harmed by them? (Necessarily so.) But do these people not think (oiesthai) that those who are harmed are more wretched in so far as they are harmed? (That too is necessarily so.) But are the wretched not unfortunate? (I think so.) Is there then anyone who really wants (boulesthai) to be wretched and unfortunate? (I don't think so Socrates.) No one then really wants (boulesthai) bad things Meno if he does not really want (boulesthai) to be like that. For what else is being wretched than having an appetite for bad things and getting them? (You are probably right Socrates and no one really wants (boulesthai) bad things.)15
The contrast could hardly be greater with the later passage quoted from Plato's Republic. In that story Leontius believes that looking at the corpses is bad and probably the worse course of action certainly not the better. But he wants to look and he does look. The most that could be pleaded is that this is not what Leontius really wants (boulesthai). But it can hardly be maintained that he is not willing (ethelein) to look. Indeed Plato keeps reiterating that Leontius does have such an appetite (epithumein).
It is noteworthy that Plato robs himself of the device later used by the Stoics of saying that there is a rapid oscillation in Leontius’ evaluations. For it is at the very moment of looking that he curses his eyes ‘See for yourselves you wretches replenish yourselves with the beautiful sight.’
The story seems to contradict what was said both about action and about desire in the early dialogues because Leontius both acts and is willing to act in the context of a comparative assessment when he believes this course of action bad and does not believe it better. But Plato does still retain one element from the earlier dialogues. For he then insisted that what one really wants (boulesthai) unlike what one has an appetite for is good. So too in this part of the Republic he maintains that no one is satisfied (arkein) with getting apparent good but people seek (zētein) real good and the soul pursues (diōkein) and does whatever it does for the sake of (heneka) real good.16 We are not told quite how to apply this to the case of Leontius.
Another view which is still maintained by Plato even in his later writings17 is that giving in to temptation is not voluntary (hekōn). The only qualification is that one may injure people voluntarily but one is still never voluntarily unjust.18 There is a contrast with the view of Plato's pupil Aristotle that giving in to temptation is voluntary.19 But what is new for Plato in his Republic is that the source of involuntariness no longer has to be lack of the right opinion. Leontius has the right opinion that it is bad to look and he gives in to temptation not through lacking this opinion but because he is forced (biazesthai) by the strength of his appetite. In his last work the Laws Plato still lists force (bia) in this case the force of spirited anger (thumos) as one of the causes of wrongdoing.20 Aristotle responds that we cannot infer from the fact that reason and desire subject each other to force that the soul as a whole is subjected to force (bia) when we give in to temptation. For force is defined by him as an external cause and the action of desire is not external to the soul.21
The dialogues that follow the Republic not only continue to deny that wrongdoing has to be due to lack of true opinions.22 They reveal an expanding sensitivity to the variety of ways in which we can be led into temptation. The Phaedrus offers the very subtle idea that a false opinion can exist alongside a true opinion. In resisting sexual temptation the charioteer representing reason may know that the temptation is wrong. But the worse of the two horses representing appetite speaks to the charioteer and
thinks it right (axioi) in return for its many labours to have a little enjoyment.23
Aristotle seems to overlook this possibility when he says that opinion does not oppose right reason.24 Among the other causes of wrongdoing Plato's last work the Laws lists not only the force (bid) of anger as we have already noticed but also pleasure which he says persuades with forcible deception (apatēbiaios). Mere ignorance (agnoia) the lack of true opinion is distinguished from this deception as a third source of wrongdoing.25 Various texts list still other alternatives to simple ignorance. There is discord (stasis)26 lack of control (akrateia)27 unwillingness to learn (amathia)28 along with intemperance (akolasia) and cowardice (deilia).29
In one respect Plato probably stays faithful to the ideas of his early Socrates. True philosophical knowledge would prevent you from giving in to temptation. When Leontius gives in he has only true opinion not knowledge. Only in this different sense of the absence of true knowledge does ignorance remain a necessary condition for wrongdoing. Aristotle agrees explicitly with Socrates that true knowledge is not overcome by passion.30 But Plato abandons the view he ascribed to Socrates in his early works that true opinion is not overcome.
Plato's division of the soul applies to the soul as it is in the present life and as it will be for most people when they are reincarnated in future lives. In the Phaedrus Plato even applies his division to the souls of the gods.31 But he also allows that some people may escape reincarnation.32 At the end of the Republic he suggests that the soul in its ideal state would be unitary.33 In the Timaeus he calls the two lower parts of the soul mortal.34 Thus the unitary soul of the earlier Phaedo is now seen as a possible future ideal.
Aristotle: how akrasia can occur without a conflict of opposites
After Plato's expanding awareness of the many causes of giving into temptation or going against one's better judgement I confess to some disappointment at finding Aristotle attempting to reduce the cases to one. But he has a motive and his attempt does involve an excellent account of the different forms inattention can take.
Aristotle's main discussion of akrasia in book 7 of the Nicomachean Ethics starts from Socrates’ view. In so far as Socrates denies that akrasia happens Aristotle says his view conflicts with obvious facts but on the other hand Aristotle is prepared to consider Socrates’ view that ignorance is responsible. He only insists that we must get clearer what sort of ignorance.35 I think his strategy is to explain how akrasia can occur without the conflict of opposing attitudes that Plato ascribes to Leontius.
This is done in 7. 3. First we must distinguish the major premiss which in several examples represents a dietary policy say that one must not eat heavy food. This premiss I take it represents what has been chosen as a matter of policy (proairesis) after deliberation (bouleusis).36 This premiss is known and Socrates’ view is endorsed that it cannot be blotted out from our consciousness by passion. Aristotle's reason I conjecture is the non-Socratic one that so much thought goes into the choice of deliberate policies that they are not likely to be blotted out in this way.37 But the akratēs can still act against his proairesis and this will be due to an imperfect grasp of the minor premiss38 which concerns matters of sense perception39 for example ‘This food is heavy’. Appetite for a particular food might in a variety of ways impair the realization that it was heavy. First a person might possess the knowledge but not use it.40 Then he might possess it only in a way as a person who is mad asleep or drunk might be said to possess knowledge.41 This is the alternative which Aristotle favours in the end42 although not before trying out such other formulas as that the person does not possess the minor premiss or possesses it in a way that does not amount to knowing it.43 There are many states between ignorance and inattention.
Aristotle envisages two rival bits of reasoning. One I conjecture runs ‘Avoid heavy food [a chosen policy or proairesis]. This food is heavy’. The other is specified as ‘Everything sweet is pleasant. This is sweet’. Of the minor premisses (‘This is heavy’ ‘This is sweet’) only the second is actually working because the first is obscured by the appetite for sweetness.
So when the universal premiss is present which forbids tasting and the other premiss that everything sweet is pleasant and this is sweet and the latter premiss is actually working and appetite happens to be present the one premiss tells us to avoid this but appetite drives us.
The chapter finishes:
Since the last premiss (teleutaia protasis) is an opinion about perceptibles and controls action he either does not have this through being in a state of passion or has it in such a way that to have it is not to know it but to utter it like the drunk man uttering the words of Empedocles. Because the last term (eskhatos horos) is not universal and is not thought to be so much a matter of knowledge as the universal it looks as if what Socrates was after happens. For passion does not conquer [reading periginetai] what is thought to be knowledge in the proper sense—that is not dragged about by passion—rather it conquers the perceptual knowledge.44
In other words the passion for sweetness is not in head-on collision with the proairesis to avoid heavy food. Instead it works by partially blotting out the perceptual knowledge that this food is heavy. Aristotle is happy to treat an uncontrolled appetite for sweet things as a pathos despite Galen's subsequent warning noted in Chapter 14 that an uncontrolled appetite for cakes may not be a pathos.45
There is a rival minority interpretation of Aristotle46 although I am not myself persuaded by it which construes the teleutaia protasis here at 1147b9 not as the last (i.e. the minor) premiss but as the last proposition i.e. the conclusion e.g. ‘Avoid this food!’ In that case the person who gives in to temptation after all has the premisses needed and fails only in appreciating the imperative conclusion which follows from them. I doubt myself whether teleutaia protasis can refer to the conclusion which is elsewhere said to be an action not a proposition47 and which in any case is not a perceptual proposition as the teleuaia protasis is meant to be.48 Moreover an earlier passage had connected giving in to temptation with ignorance of the minor premiss49 and the present passage is introduced not as offering an alternative explanation but as describing the same thing from another point of view.50
What is true is that in a work which I believe to have been written earlier book 5 of the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle did envisage the akratēs acting with knowledge:
If to treat someone unjustly is simply to injure him voluntarily and to do it voluntarily is to do it knowing (eidōs) whom one is acting on with what instrument and how and if the akratēs injures himself voluntarily then he would suffer injustice voluntarily and one could treat oneself unjustly.51
Although Aristotle goes on to reply that in injuring oneself (blaptein) knowingly one is not treating oneself unjustly (adikein) he does not retract the suggestion that the akratēs acts knowingly. I have argued elsewhere that the same is true of the adjacent chapter in book 5. The akratēs fits under the third category of offences along with those who knowingly (eidōs) commit an injustice but are not unjust.52
If however we return to Aristotle's main discussion of akrasia in Nicomachean Ethics book 7 it looks as if he has reverted so far in the direction of Socrates’ view that there would be no need to accept Plato's argument for a division of the soul. The division was made necessary by the akratēs appearing to have opposite desires at the same time. But Aristotle's akratēs does not appear to be in opposite states. In so far as his knowledge is obliterated that the food is heavy he does not desire to avoid it. Accordingly Aristotle rejects Plato's tripartition in On the Soul 3. 9 432a22–b7 and distinguishes not so much parts as different capacities in the soul.53
In spite of this we find that Aristotle does after all use Plato's appeal to emotional conflict to show that there is a ‘nature’ (phusis) in the soul besides reason54 and he calls it by Plato's name the appetitive (epithumētikon) or more generally the desiderative (kai holōs orektikon).55 In order to justify his appeal to Plato's argument Aristotle might need to urge that the knowledge that the food is heavy (and hence the desire to avoid it) is not completely obliterated. And indeed Aristotle does allow that the person who is mad asleep or drunk can be said to possess knowledge in a way56 while in book 5 I have claimed he allows the akratēs to act with full knowledge.
The Stoics
I turn now to the Stoics. Since Chrysippus believes that the relevant aspect of the soul its command centre or reason is unitary he has to give a different account of emotional conflict. His answer is that reason is a single thing but in emotional conflict it oscillates between rival judgements and oscillates so rapidly that we do not notice the oscillation.
We have seen in Chapter 3 that all emotion seems to be thought of by Chrysippus as involving akrasia in the sense of conflict with one's better judgement that all emotion is thought by him to involve an oscillation of reason between conflicting judgements and that this may be why all emotion is described as a fluttering (ptoia) although that description has an earlier history.57 The main account of oscillation is the following:
Some people say that emotion is not different from reason and that there is not a distinction and struggle between two things but a turning of unitary reason in each direction without our noticing it because of the sharpness and speed of the change. We are not conscious that it is the same thing in our soul with which the soul naturally feels appetite repentance anger fear and is carried by pleasure towards misconduct and gets hold of itself again while it is being carried. For appetite and anger and fear and all such things are wrong opinions and judgements which occur not in some one part of the soul. Rather they are tiltings (rhopai) yieldings (eixeis) assents impulses and in general particular activities of the entire command centre which shift in a short space of time. It is just as children's fights exhibit violence extreme volatility and transience because of their weakness.58
The oscillation described is sometimes between full-scale assents and impulses and there needs to be assent and impulse if there is to be emotion. But it is also allowed that sometimes it is between mere inclinations to assent or dissent (tiltings and yieldings). We might agree with the Stoics that oscillation does sometimes happen. It has even been postulated as the explanation of stammering that there is an oscillation between wanting to speak and wanting not to speak.59 But it is hard to believe that all emotion involves an oscillation and an oscillation too rapid to notice. The Stoics would have been able to give a different answer if they had seen that as explained above there is a flaw in Plato's reasoning about opposites. If a readiness to push and a readiness to pull can coexist in the same arm then perhaps in the same unitary reason we can simultaneously entertain the opposite judgements which Posidonius sees Chrysippus as postulating that the object of temptation is beneficial and that it is not.60 More than this the judgements between which Seneca imagines us oscillating are not even opposites: ‘It is right for me to be avenged because I have been injured’ and ‘I must be avenged come what may’.61 There should then be even less obstacle to these judgements being simultaneously entertained in a unitary reason.
At least one Stoic Posidonius avoided the need for oscillation either between judgements since his irrational capacities of the soul make no judgements or between desires since these could no doubt be simultaneously entertained by different capacities of the soul. I have discussed in Chapters 3 and 6 to what extent Posidonius may have been anticipated by earlier Stoics by Zeno Cleanthes or Panaetius in recognizing Plato's divisions. But in one respect Posidonius does not follow Plato since he distinguishes only capacities of the soul not kinds (eidē) or parts. To this extent he is conforming to early Stoic doctrine. The distinction between capacities and parts became important in controversy between the Stoics and Platonists. The latter were accused of dividing the soul into three parts. The Neoplatonist Longinus replied by borrowing the Stoic idea that only capacities not parts need to be distinguished62 and by complaining in response to the Stoic Medius that once we go beyond the Stoic command centre we find them postulating a total of eight parts. There is not only the command centre itself but the five senses and a further two parts concerned with voice and reproduction.63
Some of the Church Fathers reflecting on moral struggle were impelled to postulate two wills in us while at the same time having to resist heretical suggestions that we have two souls. Origen was one such person. When St Paul says that flesh and spirit war against each other so that we do not do what we will to do64 this should not be taken as endorsing the idea that we have a second soul material in character with a will of its own directed towards evil. This had been the view of the heretic Valentinus in the second century AD and was already known to Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus.65 Paul's talk of the flesh is a reference not to the will of such a soul but to the body's strivings. There are indeed two wills in us says Origen but they are the higher will of our spirit and the lower will of our soul.66
Among the writings of the desert Fathers there are some falsely ascribed to Evagrius’ master Makarios and said to have been circulating by the AD 370s or 380s.67 Here we find the will of the flesh distinguished and talk of not surrendering the whole inclination of one's will.68
Augustine on will and double will
Augustine like Origen knows and rejects a theory that we have two minds or souls but the theory he attacks comes from the Manichaeans.69 Although he rejects the idea of two souls he endorses the idea that we have two wills. The experience of struggling against lust convinces him that we have a spiritual and a carnal will.70 The distinction of wills is indeed inevitable if lust opposes the will yet is as he will say in the City of God about all emotions71 itself an act of will. Augustine's recognition of two wills parallels Plato's recognition of two opinions that of the bad horse that sexual indulgence is all right (axioi) and that of the charioteer that it is not.72 But Plato puts his contrast in terms of opinion not of will.
One result of there being two wills is that as recognized by Pseudo-Makarios it may not be the full will (plena voluntas) that gives a command.73 Moreover in the case of reluctant action I believe Augustine allows one can act with something less than the full will.74 Of course if one is satisfied with one's decision the will becomes whole and unitary. But this does not happen automatically at the moment of choice judging from the possibility Augustine acknowledges of acting with less than the full will.75
Yet if we attend more subtly even (etiam) what anyone is compelled to do unwillingly (invitus) he does by his will if he does it. It is because he would prefer something else that he is said to do it unwillingly (invitus) that is wanting not to (nolens). He is compelled to act by some evil and he does what he is compelled to do through willing to avoid or remove from himself the evil. For suppose his will is so great that he prefers not doing this to not suffering that. Then indubitably he will resist the compulsion and not do it. Hence if he does it it is not indeed with his full (plena) and free will. But because the effect follows his will we cannot say that control (potestas) over his act was missing.76
Conditional willing
A number of Augustine's distinctions recur among later medieval authors when they seek to explain Christ's saying
‘My Father if it be possible let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt.’77
This saying is of particular interest because on the interpretation I offered in Chapters 2 and 15 it is close to the Stoic ideal of desiring only with the reservation (hupexairesis Latin exceptio) ‘if Zeus wills’ or ‘if nothing interferes’. Risto Saarinen78 has described how Peter of Poitiers (1130–1205) called this ‘willing with a condition (cum condicione)’. There was a dispute in the twelfth century as to whether one had actually willed the thing if the condition (God's willing it) was not fulfilled. Peter thought not and some who took this view described such willing as velleity (from vellem ‘I would will’) because one was only disposed to will if the condition was fulfilled. The parallel with Stoic ‘wanting with reservation’ has already been mentioned in Chapter 15.
Thomas Aquinas agrees that Christ's will for the cup to pass was not absolute (absoluta) but relative (secundum quid) to no obstacle being discovered by his reason. He explains that it was willed not in accordance with the rational will but in accordance with sensual movements and with the natural will he had as a human.79 Like Augustine then Thomas appeals to different wills.
The monothelite controversy
I shall mention one last distinction of wills because it was the centre of interest of Maximus the Confessor whose ideas will recur in the next chapter. As a sop to those who believed heretically that Christ had only one nature not two (human and divine) it was suggested in the seventh century that perhaps he had only one will. Monothelitism might be accepted in place of monophytism. But the compromise provoked an uproar. Maximus argues that Christ had two wills but that the prayer for the cup to pass from him shows they were in harmony. He did not like us have a gnomic will which depends on opinion and deliberation. And so his human will could not oppose the divine.80