The Nicomachean Ethics Book 7, Chapter 7 (1150a10-1150b29)
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Book 7, Chapter 7 (1150a10-1150b29)
- In terms of pleasure and pain, it's possible to be a superhero of self-restraint (able to resist temptation better than most) or superwimp (unable to resist what most people can).
- So we can be either steadfast or soft in resisting. Most people are in between.
- A licentious person loves pleasures excessively and cannot be changed. He chooses vice and loves it. No shame there.
- Some don't choose but are overcome by pleasure (or by a desire to avoid pain).
- A person who does terrible things without being overpowered by desire is just awful and scary. How would such a person act if he were actually prompted by something?
- In this case, a licentious person is worse than a person with a lack of self-restraint. A person LSR is merely "soft."
- A steadfast person "holds out" against something; a self-restrained person kicks that something's butt. So to be self-restrained is way better.
- A soft or delicate person is a kind of wimp: he can't hold out against even the things that everyone else can withstand.
- It's the effort that matters. No one will blame you if, after a good struggle, you give in to strong pleasures or pains.
- Aristotle dissects lack of self-restraint and finds that it's part lack of impulse control, part weakness.
- People lacking self-restraint might be weak in their resolve. They deliberate and choose well, but can't stick to their resolution. Others just don't really think.
- Those who're nervous/excitable or depressive seem to be the most impetuous. They appear to follow imagination rather than reason.