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Nicomachean Ethics   


the thing in question, like the captains in the Phoenissae, they are
in a state of faction; for it is not unanimity when each of two
parties thinks of the same thing, whatever that may be, but only when
they think of the same thing in the same hands, e.g. when both the
common people and those of the better class wish the best men to rule;
for thus and thus alone do all get what they aim at. Unanimity seems,
then, to be political friendship, as indeed it is commonly said to be;
for it is concerned with things that are to our interest and have an
influence on our life.
Now such unanimity is found among good men; for they are unanimous
both in themselves and with one another, being, so to say, of one mind
(for the wishes of such men are constant and not at the mercy of
opposing currents like a strait of the sea), and they wish for what is
just and what is advantageous, and these are the objects of their
common endeavour as well. But bad men cannot be unanimous except to a
small extent, any more than they can be friends, since they aim at
getting more than their share of advantages, while in labour and
public service they fall short of their share; and each man wishing
for advantage to himself criticizes his neighbour and stands in his
way; for if people do not watch it carefully the common weal is soon
destroyed. The result is that they are in a state of faction, putting
compulsion on each other but unwilling themselves to do what is just.
7
Benefactors are thought to love those they have benefited, more than
those who have been well treated love those that have treated them
well, and this is discussed as though it were paradoxical. Most people
think it is because the latter are in the position of debtors and the
former of creditors; and therefore as, in the case of loans, debtors
wish their creditors did not exist, while creditors actually take care
of the safety of their debtors, so it is thought that benefactors wish
the objects of their action to exist since they will then get their
gratitude, while the beneficiaries take no interest in making this
return. Epicharmus would perhaps declare that they say this because
they 'look at things on their bad side', but it is quite like human
nature; for most people are forgetful, and are more anxious to be well
treated than to treat others well. But the cause would seem to be more
deeply rooted in the nature of things; the case of those who have lent
money is not even analogous. For they have no friendly feeling to
their debtors, but only a wish that they may kept safe with a view to
what is to be got from them; while those who have done a service to
others feel friendship and love for those they have served even if
these are not of any use to them and never will be. This is what
happens with craftsmen too; every man loves his own handiwork better
than he would be loved by it if it came alive; and this happens
perhaps most of all with poets; for they have an excessive love for
their own poems, doting on them as if they were their children. This
is what the position of benefactors is like; for that which they have
treated well is their handiwork, and therefore they love this more
than the handiwork does its maker. The cause of this is that existence
is to all men a thing to be chosen and loved, and that we exist by
virtue of activity (i.e. by living and acting), and that the handiwork
is in a sense, the producer in activity; he loves his handiwork,
therefore, because he loves existence. And this is rooted in the
nature of things; for what he is in potentiality, his handiwork
manifests in activity.
At the same time to the benefactor that is noble which depends on his
action, so that he delights in the object of his action, whereas to
the patient there is nothing noble in the agent, but at most something
advantageous, and this is less pleasant and lovable. What is pleasant
is the activity of the present, the hope of the future, the memory of
the past; but most pleasant is that which depends on activity, and
similarly this is most lovable. Now for a man who has made something
his work remains (for the noble is lasting), but for the person acted
on the utility passes away. And the memory of noble things is

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