And （ α
） no one
would choose to retain the mind of a child throughout his life, even though he continued
to enjoy the pleasures of childhood with undiminished zest; nor （ δ
） would anyone choose to find enjoyment in doing some
extremely shameful act, although it would entail no painful consequences. Also （
） there are many things which we should be
eager to possess even if they brought us no pleasure, for instance sight, memory,
knowledge, virtue. It may be the case that these things are necessarily attended by
pleasure, but that makes no difference; for we should desire them even if no pleasure
resulted from them.
It seems therefore that pleasure is not the Good, and that not every pleasure is
desirable, but also that there are certain pleasures, superior in respect of their
specific quality or their source, that are desirable in themselves.
Let this suffice for a discussion of the current views about pleasure and pain.
We may ascertain the nature and quality of pleasure more clearly if we start again from
Now the act of sight appears to be perfect at any moment of its duration; it does not
require anything to supervene later in order to perfect its specific quality. But pleasure
also appears to be a thing of this nature. For it is a whole, and one cannot at any moment
put one's hand on a pleasure which will only exhibit its specific quality perfectly if its
duration be prolonged.
It follows also that pleasure is not a form of motion.1
For every motion or process of change
involves duration, and is a means to an end, for
instance the process of building a house; and it is perfect when it has effected its end.
Hence a motion is perfect either when viewed over the whole time of its duration, or at
the moment when its end has been achieved. The several motions occupying portions of the
time of the whole are imperfect, and different in kind from the whole and from each other.
For instance, in building a temple the fitting together of the stones is a different
process from the fluting of a column, and both are different from the construction of the
temple as a whole; and whereas the building of the temple is a perfect process, for
nothing more is required to achieve the end proposed, laying the foundation and
constructing the triglyphs are imperfect processes, since each produces only a part of the
design; they are therefore specifically different from the construction of the whole, and
it is not possible to lay one's finger on a motion specifically perfect at any moment of
the process of building, but only, if at all, in the whole of its duration.
And the same is true of walking and the other forms of locomotion. For if locomotion is
motion from one point in space to another, and if this is of different kinds, flying,
walking, leaping and the like, and not only so, but if there are also differences in
walking itself （for the terminal points of a race course are not the same as
those of a portion of the course, nor are those of one portion the same as those of
another; nor is traversing this line the same as traversing that one,2