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[1245b] [1] and this is sometimes a passive, sometimes an active experience, sometimes something else. But if it is pleasant to live well oneself and for one's friend also to live well, and if living together involves working together, surely their partnership will be pre-eminently in things included in the End. Hence we should study together, and feast together—not on the pleasures of food and the necessary pleasures (for such partnerships do not seem to be real social intercourse but mere enjoyment), but each really wishes to share with his friends the End that he is capable of attaining, or failing this, men choose most of all to benefit their friends and to be benefited by them. It is therefore manifest that to live together is actually a duty, and that all people wish it very much, and that this is most the case with the man that is the happiest and best. But that the contrary appeared to be the conclusion of the argument1 was also reasonable, the statement being true. For the solution is on the line of the comparison,2 the correspondence being true; for the fact that God is not of such a nature as to need a friend postulates that man, who is like God, also does not need one. Yet according to this argument the virtuous man will not think of anything; for God's perfection does not permit of this, but he is too perfect to think of anything else beside himself. And the reason is that for us well-being has reference to something other than ourselves, but in his case he is himself his own well-being. [20] As to seeking for ourselves and praying for many friends, and at the same time saying that one who has many friends has no friend, both statements are correct. For if it is possible to live with and share the perceptions of many at once, it is most desirable for them to be the largest possible number; but as that is very difficult, active community of perception must of necessity be in a smaller circle, so that it is not only difficult to acquire many friends (for probation is needed), but also to use them when one has got them.

One for whom we feel affection we sometimes wish to prosper in absence from us, but sometimes to share the same experiences. And to wish to be together is a mark of friendship, for if it is possible to be together and to prosper all choose this; but if it is not possible to prosper together, then we choose as the mother of Heracles perhaps would have chosen for her son, to be a god rather than to be with her but in service to Eurystheus. For men would say things like the jest which the Spartan made when somebody told him to invoke the Dioscuri in a storm.3

It seems to be characteristic of one who feels affection for another to debar him from sharing his troubles, and of the person for whom affection is felt to wish to share them. Both these things happen reasonably; for to a friend nothing ought to give so much pain as his friend gives pleasure, yet it is felt that he ought not to choose his own interest. Hence people hinder their friends from sharing their sorrows; they are content to be in trouble by themselves,

1 Cf. Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1244b 2ff., Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1245a.27.

2 i.e. of man with God, Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1244b 7.

3 He doubtless said that being in trouble himself he did not wish to involve the Dioscuri in it (Solomon).

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