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So, conversely, it is perhaps fitting that we should go uninvited and readily to those in misfortune (for it is the part of a friend to render service, and especially to those in need, and without being asked, since assistance so rendered is more noble and more pleasant for both parties); but to the prosperous, though we should go readily to help them (for even prosperity needs the cooperation of friends),1 we should be slow in going when it is a question of enjoying their good things (for it is not noble to be eager to receive benefits). But doubtless we should be careful to avoid seeming churlish in repulsing their advances, a thing that does sometimes occur.

It appears therefore that the company of friends is desirable in all circumstances. 12.

As then lovers find their greatest delight in seeing those they love, and prefer the gratification of the sense of sight to that of all the other senses, that sense being the chief seat and source of love, so likewise for friends (may we not say?) the society of each other is the most desirable thing there is. For (i) friendship is essentially a partnership. And (ii) a man stands in the same relation to a friend as to himself2; but the consciousness of his own existence is a good; so also therefore is the consciousness of his friend's existence; but this3 consciousness is actualized in intercourse;

1 Cf. 8.1.1 fin., 2 fin.

2 See chap. 4 and 9.5.

3 Or possibly, ‘and friendship is realized in intercourse,’ a separate reason for the thesis of the first sentence.

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