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[1235b] [1] when it dies, as a corpse is useless—but people that have a use for it keep it, as in Egypt. Now all these factors1 seem to be somewhat opposed to one another. For like is of no use to like and opposition is farthest removed from likeness, and at the same time opposite is most useless to opposite, since opposite is destructive of opposite. Moreover some think that to gain a friend is easy, but others that it is the rarest thing to recognize a friend, and not possible without misfortune, as everybody wants to be thought a friend of the prosperous; and others maintain that we must not trust even those who stay with us in our misfortunes, because they are deceiving us and pretending, in order that by associating with us when unfortunate they may gain our friendship when we are again prosperous.

Accordingly a line of argument must be taken that will best explain to us the views held on these matters and at the same time solve the difficulties and contradictions. And this will be secured if the contradictory views are shown to be held with some reason. For such a line of argument will be most in agreement with the observed facts: and in the upshot, if what is said is true in one sense but not true in another, both the contradictory views stand good.

There is also a question as to whether what is dear to us is the pleasant or the good. [20] If we hold dear what we desire (and that is specially characteristic of love, for "None is a lover that holds not dear for aye"2), and desire is for what is pleasant, on this showing it is the pleasant that is dear; whereas if we hold dear what we wish, it is the good; but the pleasant and the good are different things.

We must therefore attempt to decide about these matters and others akin to them, taking as a starting point the following. The thing desired and wished is either the good or the apparent good. Therefore also the pleasant is desired, for it is an apparent good, since some people think it good, and to others it appears good even though they do not think it so (as appearance and opinion are not in the same part of the spirit).3 Yet it is clear that both the good and the pleasant are dear.

This being decided, we must make another assumption. Things good are some of them absolutely good, others good for someone but not good absolutely; and the same things are absolutely good and absolutely pleasant. For things advantageous for a healthy body we pronounce good for the body absolutely, but things good for a sick body not—for example doses of medicine and surgical operations; and likewise also the things pleasant for a healthy and perfect body are pleasant for the body absolutely, for example to live in the light and not in the dark, although the reverse is the case for a man with ophthalmia. And the pleasanter wine is not the wine pleasant to a man whose palate has been corrupted by tippling, since sometimes they pour in a dash of vinegar, but to the uncorrupted taste.

1 i.e. likeness, contrariety, utility (Solomon).

2 Eur. Tro. 1051.

3 i.e. are different psychological experiences.

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    • Euripides, Trojan Women, 1051
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