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as for instance when he is asleep, or has ceased to function from some other cause; but virtue in active exercise cannot be inoperative—it will of necessity act, and act well. And just as at the Olympic games the wreaths of victory are not bestowed upon the handsomest and strongest persons present, but on men who enter for the competitions—since it is among these that the winners are found,—so it is those who act rightly who carry off the prizes and good things of life. [10]

And further, the life of active virtue is essentially pleasant. For the feeling of pleasure is an experience of the soul,1 and a thing gives a man pleasure in regard to which he is described as ‘fond of’ so-and-so: for instance a horse gives pleasure to one fond of horses, a play to one fond of the theater, and similarly just actions are pleasant to the lover of justice, and acts conforming with virtue generally to the lover of virtue. [11] But whereas the mass of mankind take pleasure in things that conflict with one another,2 because they are not pleasant of their own nature, things pleasant by nature are pleasant to lovers of what is noble, and so always are actions in conformity with virtue, so that they are pleasant essentially as well as pleasant to lovers of the noble. [12] Therefore their life has no need of pleasure as a sort of ornamental appendage,3 but contains its pleasure in itself. For there is the further consideration that the man who does not enjoy doing noble actions is not a good man at all: no one would call a man just if he did not like acting justly, nor liberal if he did not like doing liberal things, and similarly with the other virtues. [13] But if so, actions in conformity with virtue must be essentially pleasant.

But they are also of course both good and noble, and each in the highest degree, if the good man judges them rightly; and his judgement is as we have said. [14] It follows therefore that happiness is at once the best, the noblest, and the pleasantest of things: these qualities are not separated as the inscription at Delos makes out— “ Justice is noblest, and health is best,
But the heart's desire is the pleasantest—,

” for the best activities possess them all; and it is the best activities, or one activity which is the best of all, in which according to our definition happiness consists. [15]

Nevertheless it is manifest that happiness also requires external goods in addition, as we said; for it is impossible, or at least not easy, to play a noble part unless furnished with the necessary equipment.4 For many noble actions

1 Not an experience of the body (cf. 10.3.6), even the case of ‘bodily pleasures.’ This brings pleasure within the definition of happiness as “an activity of the soul.”

2 Morally inferior people like things that are only pleasant ‘accidentally,’ i.e. owing not to some quality inherent in the thing but to something extraneous to it, viz. some depravity of taste or temporary affection in the person. Hence not only do different people think different things pleasant but the same person thinks the same thing pleasant at one time and unpleasant at another—and so repents today of his indulgence yesterday; or he desires two incompatible things at once, or desires a thing with one part of his nature that he dislikes with another, so that there is a conflict between his desires, or between his desire for pleasure and his wish for what he thinks good (see Bk. 9.4, esp. 4.8-10, and contrast 4.5.)

3 The word is especially used of an amulet hung round the neck or fastened round a limb

4 It was one of the public duties of rich citizens at Athens to equip the chorus and actors of a drama at their own expense. One so doing was called χορηγός (chorus-leader, as no doubt originally he was), and the dresses, etc., he supplied, χορηγία. The latter term is frequently used by Aristotle to denote the material equipment of life, and has almost or quite ceased to be felt as a metaphor.

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