The Nicomachean Ethics Book 9, Chapter 4 (1166a1-1166b29)
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Book 9, Chapter 4 (1166a1-1166b29)
- Aristotle says that a mother exhibits all the signs of friendship toward her children: she wishes the best for them and does everything good for them.
- A friend is also someone who shares our lives and likes many of the same things.
- This is also a lot like how a good person feels about himself. He certainly wishes the best for himself and does good things for himself. He does all this to honor his rational soul.
- A good person is a good friend to himself, never wishing even to be a more fortunate person or other than he is.
- The friend is second self. So in order to be a good friend to others, we have first to be a good friend to ourselves. Cliché, yes. But Aristotle started this whole thing.
- But don't corrupt people also love themselves lots and take pleasure in their wicked ways? Aristotle denies that such people live harmoniously with themselves.
- Therefore, they can't really have the quality of true friendship with others.
- Seriously evil people also hate themselves and try to escape their own company as much as possible.
- They have nothing lovable about them, so it's really hard for them to find something to love about themselves. Harsh.
- Also, a corrupt person is totally miserable, getting no pleasure that isn't followed by regret. Aristotle's advice? Stop being a wicked person and you'll have more friends.