Book 8: Friendship or Love.

Chapter 4: The others are imperfect copies of this.

The friendship of which pleasure is the motive bears some resemblance to the foregoing; for good men, too, are pleasant to each other. So also does that of which the useful is the motive; for good men are useful also to one another. And in these cases, too, the friendship is most likely to endure when that which each gets from the other is the same (e.g.pleasure), and not only the same, but arising from the same source—a friendship between two wits, for instance, rather than one between a lover and his beloved. For the source of pleasure in the latter case is not the same for both: the lover delights to look upon his beloved, the beloved likes to have attentions paid him; but when the bloom of youth is gone, the friendship sometimes vanishes also; for the one misses the beauty that used to please him, the other misses the attentions. But, on the other hand, they frequently continue friends, i.e. when their intercourse has brought them to care for each other’s characters, and they are similar in character.

Those who in matters of love exchange not pleasure but profit, are less truly and less permanently friends. The friendship whose motive is profit ceases when the advantage ceases; for it was not one another that they loved, but the profit.

For pleasure, then, or for profit it is possible even for bad men to be friends with one another, and good men with bad, and those who are neither with people of any kind, but it is evident that the friendship in which each loves the other for himself is only possible between good men; for bad men take no delight in each other unless some advantage is to be gained.

The friendship of good men, again, is the only one that can defy calumny; for people are not ready to accept the testimony of any one else against him whom themselves have tested. Such friendship also implies mutual trust, and the certainty that neither would ever wrong the other, and all else that is implied in true friendship; while in other friendships there is no such security.

For since men also apply the term friends to those who love one another for profit’s sake, as happens with states (for expediency is thought to be the ground on which states make alliances), and also to those who love one another for pleasure’s sake, as children do, perhaps we too ought to apply the name to such people, and to speak of several kinds of friendship—firstly, in the primary and strict sense of the word, the friendship of good men as such; secondly, the other kinds that are so called because of a resemblance to this: for these other people are called friends in so far as their relation involves some element of good, which constitutes a resemblance; for the pleasant, too, is good to those who love pleasant things. But these two latter kinds are not apt to coincide, nor do the same people become friends for the sake both of profit and pleasure; for such accidental properties are not apt to be combined in one subject.

Now that we have distinguished these several kinds of friendship, we may say that bad men will be friends for the sake of pleasure or profit, resembling one another in this respect, while good men, when they are friends, love each other for what they are, i.e. as good men. These, then, we say, are friends simply; the others are friends accidentally and so far as they resemble these.


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