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And change is pleasant; by the definition, because change is a relapse into the normal condition of our nature: ‘the constant repetition of the same thing causing a (vicious) excess of the settled state’. It is this vicious excess which is represented in the proverbial μηδὲν ἄγαν, ne quid nimis, ‘toujours perdrix.’ When we have reached a ‘settled state’, as a state of health finally established by a gradual course of medical treatment, the medical applications which were repeatedly employed during the cure should be at once discontinued or the state of body will be vitiated: and so in all cases when a state has reached its acme or normal condition anything that causes it to exceed this is injurious. Eating and drinking too much are other cases in point; when the system is settled or satisfied, the repetition of the acts of eating and drinking disturbs the harmonious balance and produces discomfort or disease. The same expression occurs in Eth. N. VII 13, 1153 a 4, ἀναπληρουμένης τε τῆς φύσεως καὶ καθεστηκυίας, where from the contrast of the two participles the first plainly signifies the state of progress towards satisfaction, and the second the complete or satisfied state; and so the Paraphrast explains it, πληρωθέντες ἡδόμεθα κ.τ.λ.: and similarly ἐν τῇ καθεστηκυίᾳ ἡλικίᾳ, Thuc. II 36, means, a confirmed and settled, mature and vigorous time of life, when the age of growing is over. And in general, all excess is vicious; as the Pythagoreans and Plato (Philebus) held, and Aristotle himself proves by induction in the establishment of the doctrine of the mean, in the Nicom. Ethics, II. The concluding words of the seventh book of the Nic. Eth. may serve as a commentary on this topic; μεταβολὴ δὲ πάντων γλυκύτατον, κατὰ τὸν ποιητήν, διὰ πονηρίαν τινά: (i. e. imperfection: we are always wanting a change, because we never are in a ‘complete state’). ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος εὐμετάβολος ὁ πονηρός, καὶ ἡ φύσις ἡ δεομένη μεταβολῆς: οὐ γὰρ ἁπλῆ οὐδ᾽ ἐπιεικής. The ‘poet’, referred to here and in the Rhetoric, is Euripides, Orest. 234, ἦ κἀπὶ γαίας ἁρμόσαι πόδας θέλεις χρόνιον ἴχνος θείς; μεταβολὴ πάντων γλυκύ. The ‘changeableness’ of the bad man in the illustration, is deduced, I presume, from the axiom that right is one, error and wrong infinite, ἐσθλοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἁπλῶς παντοδαπῶς δὲ κακοί: see the whole passage from which this apothegm is taken, Eth. Nic. II 5, ult. 1106 b 29, ἔτι τὸ ἁμαρτάνειν πολλαχῶς τὸ δὲ κατορθοῦν μοναχῶς κ.τ.λ. It is this pleasure which is felt in change that makes men and things pleasant that present themselves to us or happen ‘after an interval’; ‘because they bring a change from our present condition or circumstances, (this is a di-version or a-musement,) and at the same time that which can be used (or enjoyed) only at intervals is rare’: but rarity makes things ‘better’, c. 7, 14, 29, 32, or gives them a preference over others in value and importance—not necessarily however in the amount of pleasure which may be derived from them; though in many cases, such as the possession of any rare object, print, coin, gem, in a collection, it certainly does.
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