previous next
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.

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.

load focus Greek (J. Bywater)
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 Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: