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[5]

But perhaps this inference is really untrue. For as we said at the beginning,1 happiness is a form of activity, and an activity clearly is something that comes into being, not a thing that we possess all the time, like a piece of property. But if happiness consists in life and activity, and the activity of a good man, as was said at the beginning,2 is good and so pleasant in itself, and if the sense that a thing is our own is also pleasant, yet we are better able to contemplate our neighbors than ourselves, and their actions than our own, and thus good men find pleasure in the actions of other good men who are their friends, since those actions possess both these essentially pleasant qualities,3 it therefore follows that the supremely happy man will require good friends, insomuch as he desires to contemplate actions that are good and that are his own, and the actions of a good man that is his friend are such. Also men think that the life of the happy man ought to be pleasant. Now a solitary man has a hard life, for it is not easy to keep up continuous activity by oneself; it is easier to do so with the aid of and in relation to other people.

1 1.7.15. The argument for friendship from the definition of happiness as virtuous and therefore pleasant activity is threefold: ( α) the virtuous actions of our friends give us (by sympathy) the same pleasure as our own; ( β) good activities (e.g. study) can be carried on longer (because less liable to fatigue) ; ( γ) virtuous friends increase our own virtue (as we unconsciously imitate their acts). Hence friends useful and pleasant because virtuous (though not useful or pleasant friends in the ordinary sense) are necessary adjuncts of happiness.

2 1.8.13.

3 i.e., they are good, and they are their own, i.e. like their own.

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