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4. The forms which friendly feeling for our neighbors takes, and the marks by which the different forms of friendship are defined, seem to be derived from the feelings of regard which we entertain for ourselves. A friend is defined as (a) one who wishes, and promotes by action, the real or apparent good of another for that other's sake; or (b) one who wishes the existence and preservation of his friend for the friend's sake. (This is the feeling of mothers towards their children, and of former friends who have quarrelled.1) Others say that a friend is (c) one who frequents another's society, and (d) who desires the same things as he does, or (e) one who shares his friend's joys and sorrows. (This too is very characteristic of mothers.) Friendship also is defined by one or other of these marks.2 [2] But each of them is also found in a good man's feelings towards himself (and in those of all other men as well, in so far as they believe themselves to be good; but, as has been said, virtue and the virtuous man seem to be the standard in everything). [3] For (d) the good man is of one mind with himself, and desires the same things with every part of his nature. Also (a) he wishes his own good, real as well as apparent, and seeks it by action (for it is a mark of a good man to exert himself actively for the good) ; and he does so for his own sake (for he does it on account of the intellectual part of himself, and this appears to be a man's real self). Also (b) he desires his own life and security, and especially that of his rational part. [4] For existence is good for the virtuous man; and everyone wishes his own good: no one would choose to possess every good in the world on condition of becoming somebody else (for God possesses the good even as it is),3 but only while remaining himself, whatever he may be; and it would appear that the thinking part is the real self, or is so more than anything else. [5] And (c) the good man desires his own company; for he enjoys being by himself, since he has agreeable memories of the past, and good hopes for the future, which are pleasant too; also his mind is stored with subjects for contemplation. And (e) he is keenly conscious of his own joys and sorrows; for the same things give him pleasure or pain at all times, and not different things at different times, since he is not apt to change his mind.

It is therefore because the good man has these various feelings towards himself, and because he feels towards his friend in the same way as towards himself (for a friend is another self) , that friendship also is thought to consist in one or other of these feelings, and the possession of them is thought to be the test of a friend. [6]

Whether a man can be said actually to feel friendship for himself is a question that may be dismissed for the present; though it may be held that he can do so in so far4 as he is a dual or composite being, and because very intense friendship resembles self regard. [7]

As a matter of fact, the feelings of self-regard described appear to be found in most people, even though they are of inferior moral worth. Perhaps men share them in so far as they have their own approval and believe in their own virtue; since the utterly worthless and criminal never possess them, or even have the appearance of doing so. [8] Indeed it may almost be said that no morally inferior persons possess them. For (d) such persons are at variance with themselves, desiring one thing and wishing another: this is the mark of the unrestrained, who choose what is pleasant but harmful instead of what they themselves think to be good. (a) Others again, out of cowardice and idleness, neglect to do what they think best for their own interests. And (b) men who have committed a number of crimes, and are hated for their wickedness, actually flee from life and make away with themselves. [9] Also (c) bad men constantly seek the society of others and shun their own company, because when they are by themselves they recall much that was unpleasant in the past and anticipate the same in the future, whereas with other people they can forget. Moreover they feel no affection for themselves, because they have no lovable qualities. Hence (e) such men do not enter into their own joys and sorrows, as there is civil war in their souls; one part of their nature, owing to depravity, is pained by abstinence from certain indulgences while another part is pleased by it; one part pulls them one way and another the other, as if dragging them asunder. [10] Or if it be impossible to feel pain and pleasure at the same time, at all events after indulging in pleasure they regret it a little later, and wish they had never acquired a taste for such indulgences; since the bad are always changing their minds.

Thus a bad man appears to be devoid even of affection for himself, because he has nothing lovable in his nature. If then such a state of mind is utterly miserable, we should do our utmost to shun wickedness and try to be virtuous. That is the way both to be friends with ourselves and to win the friendship of others.

1 i.e., have had a difference which keeps them from meeting, but still leaves them well disposed to each other.

2 These five notes of friendship are taken seriatim in sects. 2-5, and again in sects. 8, 9, but in both cases the fourth is dealt with first.

3 The parenthesis seems to mean that as no one gains by God's now having the good, he would not gain if a new person which was no longer himself were to possess it ( Ross). But ‘and every one . . . whatever he may be’ should perhaps be rejected as interpolated.

4 The MSS. give ‘in so far as two or more of the characteristics specified are present,’ which hardly gives a sense. The words ‘though it may be held . . . self-regard,’ have been suspected as an interpolation.

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