[1249b] [1] and also in regard to large and small amount of property and of good fortune. Now in what preceded1 we stated the standard 'as reason directs'; but this is as if in matters of diet one were to say 'as medical science and its principles direct,' and this though true is not clear. It is proper, therefore, here as in other matters to live with reference to the ruling factor, and to the state and the activity of the ruling factor, as for example slave must live with reference to the rule of master, and each person with reference to the rule appropriate to each. And since man consists by nature of a ruling part and a subject part, and each would properly live with reference to the ruling principle within him (and this is twofold, for medical science is a ruling principle in one way and health is in another, and the former is a means to the latter), this is therefore the case in regard to the faculty of contemplation. For God is not a ruler in the sense of issuing commands, but is the End as a means to which wisdom gives commands (and the term 'End' has two meanings, but these have been distinguished elsewhere2); since clearly God is in need of nothing. Therefore whatever mode of choosing and of acquiring things good by nature—whether goods of body or wealth or friends or the other goods—will best promote the contemplation of God, that is the best mode, and that standard is the finest; [20] and any mode of choice and acquisition that either through deficiency or excess hinders us from serving and from contemplating God—that is a bad one. This is how it is for the spirit, and this is the best spiritual standard—to be as far as possible unconscious of the irrational part of the spirit, as such.

Let this, then, be our statement of what is the standard of nobility and what is the aim of things absolutely good.

1 Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1222a 6-10, b 7, 1232a 32f.

2 End or 'final cause' (οὗ ἕνεκα) denotes (1) the person or thing for whose good something is done, (2) the purpose for which it is done. God is the Final Cause in the latter sense: cf Aristot. Phys. 194a 32-36, Aristot. De anima 415b 2, Aristot. Met. 1072b 2 (Solomon).

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