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Benefactors seem to love those whom they benefit more than those who have received benefits love those who have conferred them; and it is asked why this is so, as it seems to be unreasonable. The view most generally taken is that it is because the one party is in the position of a debtor and the other of a creditor; just as therefore in the case of a loan, whereas the borrower would be glad to have his creditor out of the way, the lender actually watches over his debtor's safety, so it is thought that the conferrer of a benefit wishes the recipient to live in order that he may receive a return, but the recipient is not particularly anxious to make a return. Epicharmus no doubt would say that people who give this explanation are ‘looking at the seamy side’1 of life; but all the same it appears to be not untrue to human nature, for most men have short memories, and are more desirous of receiving benefits than of bestowing them.

1 This half-line of verse (Epicharmus doubtless wrote θαμένους) is otherwise unknown.

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