Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Aristotle
Pages of Nicomachean Ethics



Previous | Next
                  

Nicomachean Ethics   


useful or pleasant. And thus these friendships are only incidental;
for it is not as being the man he is that the loved person is loved,
but as providing some good or pleasure. Such friendships, then, are
easily dissolved, if the parties do not remain like themselves; for if
the one party is no longer pleasant or useful the other ceases to love
him.
Now the useful is not permanent but is always changing. Thus when the
motive of the friendship is done away, the friendship is dissolved,
inasmuch as it existed only for the ends in question. This kind of
friendship seems to exist chiefly between old people (for at that age
people pursue not the pleasant but the useful) and, of those who are
in their prime or young, between those who pursue utility. And such
people do not live much with each other either; for sometimes they do
not even find each other pleasant; therefore they do not need such
companionship unless they are useful to each other; for they are
pleasant to each other only in so far as they rouse in each other
hopes of something good to come. Among such friendships people also
class the friendship of a host and guest. On the other hand the
friendship of young people seems to aim at pleasure; for they live
under the guidance of emotion, and pursue above all what is pleasant
to themselves and what is immediately before them; but with increasing
age their pleasures become different. This is why they quickly become
friends and quickly cease to be so; their friendship changes with the
object that is found pleasant, and such pleasure alters quickly. Young
people are amorous too; for the greater part of the friendship of love
depends on emotion and aims at pleasure; this is why they fall in love
and quickly fall out of love, changing often within a single day. But
these people do wish to spend their days and lives together; for it is
thus that they attain the purpose of their friendship.
Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in
virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are
good themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their
sake are most truly friends; for they do this by reason of own nature
and not incidentally; therefore their friendship lasts as long as they
are good-and goodness is an enduring thing. And each is good without
qualification and to his friend, for the good are both good without
qualification and useful to each other. So too they are pleasant; for
the good are pleasant both without qualification and to each other,
since to each his own activities and others like them are pleasurable,
and the actions of the good are the same or like. And such a
friendship is as might be expected permanent, since there meet in it
all the qualities that friends should have. For all friendship is for
the sake of good or of pleasure-good or pleasure either in the
abstract or such as will be enjoyed by him who has the friendly
feeling-and is based on a certain resemblance; and to a friendship of
good men all the qualities we have named belong in virtue of the
nature of the friends themselves; for in the case of this kind of
friendship the other qualities also are alike in both friends, and
that which is good without qualification is also without qualification
pleasant, and these are the most lovable qualities. Love and
friendship therefore are found most and in their best form between
such men.
But it is natural that such friendships should be infrequent; for such
men are rare. Further, such friendship requires time and familiarity;
as the proverb says, men cannot know each other till they have 'eaten
salt together'; nor can they admit each other to friendship or be
friends till each has been found lovable and been trusted by each.
Those who quickly show the marks of friendship to each other wish to
be friends, but are not friends unless they both are lovable and know
the fact; for a wish for friendship may arise quickly, but friendship
does not.
4
This kind of friendship, then, is perfect both in respect of duration
and in all other respects, and in it each gets from each in all

Previous | Next
Site Search