previous next
[1246a] [1] in order that they may not appear from selfish considerations actually to choose the joy of their friend's grief and furthermore to find it a relief not to bear their misfortunes alone. And as both well-being and companionship are desirable, it is clear that companionship combined with even a lesser good is in a way more desirable than separation with a greater good. But as it is not clear how much value companionship has, at this point men differ, and some think it is friendly to share everything in company, and say, for instance, that it is pleasanter to dine with company though having the same food; others wish to share only in well-being, because, they say, if one supposes extreme cases, people experiencing great adversity in company or great prosperity separately are on a par. And it is much the same as this in regard to misfortunes also; sometimes we wish our friends to be absent, and do not want to give them pain when their presence is not going to do any good, but at other times for them to be present is most pleasant. And the reason of this contrariety is very easily explained; it comes about because of the things stated before,1 and because to behold a friend in pain or in a bad state is a thing we absolutely shun, as we shun it in our own case, but to see a friend is as pleasant as anything can be, for the reason stated,2 and indeed to see him ill if one is ill oneself; so that whichever of these is more pleasant, it sways the balance of wishing him to be present or not. [20] And it fits in that the former occurs in the case of inferior people, and for the same reason; they are most eager for their friends not to prosper and not to be absent if they themselves have to suffer adversity. Hence sometimes suicides kill those whom they love with themselves, as they think that they feel their own misfortune more if their loved ones are to survive3; just as, if a man in trouble had the memory that he had once been prosperous, he would be more conscious of his trouble than if he thought that he had always done badly.

1 Cf. Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1245b 26-1246a 2.

2 Cf. Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1245a 26-b 9.

3 In the Greek this clause is left to be understood.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1884)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, 7.1245a
    • Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, 7.1245b
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: