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and if to be conscious one is alive is a pleasant thing in itself (for life is a thing essentially good, and to be conscious that one possesses a good thing is pleasant) ; and if life is desirable, and especially so for good men, because existence is good for them, and so pleasant (because they are pleased by the perception of what is intrinsically good) ; [10] and if the virtuous man feels towards his friend in the same way as he feels towards himself (for his friend is a second self) —then, just as a man's own existence is desirable for him, so, or nearly so, is his friend's existence also desirable. But, as we saw, it is the consciousness of oneself as good1 that makes existence desirable, and such consciousness is pleasant in itself. Therefore a man ought also to share his friend's consciousness of his existence, and this is attained by their living together and by conversing and communicating their thoughts to each other; for this is the meaning of living together as applied to human beings, it does not mean merely feeding in the same place, as it does when applied to cattle.

If then to the supremely happy man existence is desirable in itself, being good and pleasant essentially, and if his friend's existence is almost equally desirable to him, it follows that a friend is one of the things to be desired. But that which is desirable for him he is bound to have, or else his condition will be incomplete in that particular. Therefore to be happy a man needs virtuous friends. 10.

Ought we then to make as many friends as possible? or, just as it seems a wise saying about hospitality— “ Neither with troops of guests nor yet with none

2— so also with friendship perhaps it will be fitting neither to be without friends nor yet to make friends in excessive numbers. [2] This rule would certainly seem applicable to those friends whom we choose for their utility3; for it is troublesome to have to repay the services of a large number of people, and life is not long enough for one to do it. Any more therefore than are sufficient for the requirements of one's own life will be superfluous, and a hindrance to noble living, so one is better without them. Of friends for pleasure also a few are enough, just as a small amount of sweets is enough in one's diet. [3] But should one have as many good friends as possible? or is there a limit of size for a circle of friends, as there is for the population of a state? Ten people would not make a city, and with a hundred thousand it is a city no longer; though perhaps the proper size is not one particular number, but any number between certain limits.

1 Perhaps to be emended ‘of its goodness,’ cf. l. 5 of the Greek. It is consciousness of life as good that makes it pleasant and desirable.

2 Hes. WD 715

3 But cf. 8.6.3.

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