SELECT PASSAGES FROM ARISTOTLE’S NICOMACHEAN ETHICS
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BOOK II, CHAPTER IV
Actions, then, are called just and temperate when they are such as
the just or the temperate man would do; but it is not the man who
does these that is just and temperate, but the man who also does them
as just and temperate men do them. It is well said, then, that it
is by doing just acts that the just man is produced, and by doing
temperate acts the temperate man; without doing these no one would
have even a prospect of becoming good.
But most people do not do these, but take refuge in theory and think
they are being philosophers and will become good in this way, behaving
somewhat like patients who listen attentively to their doctors, but
do none of the things they are ordered to do. As the latter will not
be made well in body by such a course of treatment, the former will
not be made well in soul by such a course of philosophy.
BOOK IV, CHAPTER VIII
The ridiculous side of things is not far to seek, however, and most people
delight more than they should in amusement and in jestinly.
The boor, again, is useless for such social intercourse; for he contributes
nothing and finds fault with everything. But relaxation and amusement
are thought to be a necessary element in life.
BOOK X CHAPTER VI
Happiness, therefore, does not lie in amusement; it would, indeed, be
strange if the end were amusement, and one were to take trouble and
suffer hardship all one's life in order to amuse oneself.
Now to exert oneself and work for the sake of amusement seems silly and
utterly childish. But to amuse oneself in order that one may exert oneself,
as Anacharsis puts it,seems right; for amusement is a sort of relaxation,
and we need relaxation because we cannot work continuously. Relaxation, then,
is not an end; for it is taken for the sake of activity.