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Nicomachean Ethics   


as living together (since while it people who are in need that desire
benefits, even those who are supremely happy desire to spend their
days together; for solitude suits such people least of all); but
people cannot live together if they are not pleasant and do not enjoy
the same things, as friends who are companions seem to do.
The truest friendship, then, is that of the good, as we have
frequently said; for that which is without qualification good or
pleasant seems to be lovable and desirable, and for each person that
which is good or pleasant to him; and the good man is lovable and
desirable to the good man for both these reasons. Now it looks as if
love were a feeling, friendship a state of character; for love may be
felt just as much towards lifeless things, but mutual love involves
choice and choice springs from a state of character; and men wish well
to those whom they love, for their sake, not as a result of feeling
but as a result of a state of character. And in loving a friend men
love what is good for themselves; for the good man in becoming a
friend becomes a good to his friend. Each, then, both loves what is
good for himself, and makes an equal return in goodwill and in
pleasantness; for friendship is said to be equality, and both of these
are found most in the friendship of the good.
6
Between sour and elderly people friendship arises less readily,
inasmuch as they are less good-tempered and enjoy companionship less;
for these are thou to be the greatest marks of friendship productive
of it. This is why, while men become friends quickly, old men do not;
it is because men do not become friends with those in whom they do not
delight; and similarly sour people do not quickly make friends either.
But such men may bear goodwill to each other; for they wish one
another well and aid one another in need; but they are hardly friends
because they do not spend their days together nor delight in each
other, and these are thought the greatest marks of friendship.
One cannot be a friend to many people in the sense of having
friendship of the perfect type with them, just as one cannot be in
love with many people at once (for love is a sort of excess of
feeling, and it is the nature of such only to be felt towards one
person); and it is not easy for many people at the same time to please
the same person very greatly, or perhaps even to be good in his eyes.
One must, too, acquire some experience of the other person and become
familiar with him, and that is very hard. But with a view to utility
or pleasure it is possible that many people should please one; for
many people are useful or pleasant, and these services take little
time.
Of these two kinds that which is for the sake of pleasure is the more
like friendship, when both parties get the same things from each other
and delight in each other or in the things, as in the friendships of
the young; for generosity is more found in such friendships.
Friendship based on utility is for the commercially minded. People who
are supremely happy, too, have no need of useful friends, but do need
pleasant friends; for they wish to live with some one and, though they
can endure for a short time what is painful, no one could put up with
it continuously, nor even with the Good itself if it were painful to
him; this is why they look out for friends who are pleasant. Perhaps
they should look out for friends who, being pleasant, are also good,
and good for them too; for so they will have all the characteristics
that friends should have.
People in positions of authority seem to have friends who fall into
distinct classes; some people are useful to them and others are
pleasant, but the same people are rarely both; for they seek neither
those whose pleasantness is accompanied by virtue nor those whose
utility is with a view to noble objects, but in their desire for
pleasure they seek for ready-witted people, and their other friends
they choose as being clever at doing what they are told, and these
characteristics are rarely combined. Now we have said that the good
man is at the same time pleasant and useful; but such a man does not

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