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Further; just as in respect of the different virtues some men are termed good in respect of a certain inward state, others in respect of acts of working, so is it in respect of Friendship: I mean, they who live together take pleasure in, and impart good to, one another: but they who are asleep or are locally separated do not perform acts, but only are in such a state as to act in a friendly way if they acted at all: distance has in itself no direct effect upon Friendship, but only prevents the acting it out: yet, if the absence be protracted, it is thought to cause a forgetfulness even of the Friendship: and hence it has been said, “many and many a Friendship doth want of intercourse destroy.”
Accordingly, neither the old nor the morose appear to be calculated for Friendship, because the pleasurableness in them is small, and no one can spend his days in company with that which is positively painful or even not pleasurable; since to avoid the painful and aim at the pleasurable is one of the most obvious tendencies of human nature. They who get on with one another very fairly, but are not in habits of intimacy, are rather like people having kindly feelings towards one another than friends; nothing being so characteristic of friends as the living with one another, because the necessitous desire assistance, and the happy companionship, they being the last persons in the world for solitary existence: but people cannot spend their time together unless they are mutually pleasurable and take pleasure in the same objects, a quality which is thought to appertain to the Friendship of companionship.
The connection then subsisting between the good is Friendship par excellence, as has already been frequently said: since that which is abstractedly good or pleasant is thought to be an object of Friendship and choiceworthy, and to each individual whatever is such to him; and the good man to the good man for both these reasons. (Now the entertaining the sentiment is like a feeling, but Friendship itself like a state: because the former may have for its object even things inanimate, but requital of Friendship is attended with moral choice which proceeds from a moral state: and again, men wish good to the objects of their Friendship for their sakes, not in the way of a mere feeling but of moral state.).
And the good, in loving their friend, love their own good (inasmuch as the good man, when brought into that relation, becomes a good to him with whom he is so connected), so that either party loves his own good, and repays his friend equally both in wishing well and in the pleasurable: for equality is said to be a tie of Friendship. Well, these points belong most to the Friendship between good men.
But between morose or elderly men Friendship is less apt to arise, because they are somewhat awkward-tempered, and take less pleasure in intercourse and society; these being thought to be specially friendly and productive of Friendship: and so young men become friends quickly, old men not so (because people do not become friends with any, unless they take pleasure in them); and in like manner neither do the morose. Yet men of these classes entertain kindly feelings towards one another: they wish good to one another and render mutual assistance in respect of their needs, but they are not quite friends, because they neither spend their time together nor take pleasure in one another, which circumstances are thought specially to belong to Friendship.
To be a friend to many people, in the way of the perfect Friendship, is not possible; just as you cannot be in love with many at once: it is, so to speak, a state of excess which naturally has but one object; and besides, it is not an easy thing for one man to be very much pleased with many people at the same time, nor perhaps to find many really good. Again, a man needs experience, and to be in habits of close intimacy, which is very difficult.
But it is possible to please many on the score of advantage and pleasure: because there are many men of the kind, and the services may be rendered in a very short time.
Of the two imperfect kinds that which most resembles the perfect is the Friendship based upon pleasure, in which the same results accrue from both and they take pleasure in one another or in the same objects; such as are the Friendships of the young, because a generous spirit is most found in these. The Friendship because of advantage is the connecting link of shopkeepers.
Then again, the very happy have no need of persons who are profitable, but of pleasant ones they have because they wish to have people to live intimately with; and what is painful they bear for a short time indeed, but continuously no one could support it, nay, not even the Chief Good itself, if it were painful to him individually: and so they look out for pleasant friends: perhaps they ought to require such to be good also; and good moreover to themselves individually, because then they will have all the proper requisites of Friendship.
Men in power are often seen to make use of several distinct friends: for some are useful to them and others pleasurable, but the two are not often united: because they do not, in fact, seek such as shall combine pleasantness and goodness, nor such as shall be useful for honourable purposes: but with a view to attain what is pleasant they look out for men of easy-pleasantry; and again, for men who are clever at executing any business put into their hands: and these qualifications are not commonly found united in the same man.
It has been already stated that the good man unites the qualities of pleasantness and usefulness: but then such a one will not be a friend to a superior unless he be also his superior in goodness: for if this be not the case, he cannot, being surpassed in one point, make things equal by a proportionate degree of Friendship. And characters who unite superiority of station and goodness are not common. Now all the kinds of Friendship which have been already mentioned exist in a state of equality, inasmuch as either the same results accrue to both and they wish the same things to one another, or else they barter one thing against another; pleasure, for instance, against profit: it has been said already that Friendships of this latter kind are less intense in degree and less permanent.
And it is their resemblance or dissimilarity to the same thing which makes them to be thought to be and not to be Friendships: they show like Friendships in right of their likeness to that which is based on virtue (the one kind having the pleasurable, the other the profitable, both of which belong also to the other); and again, they do not show like Friendships by reason of their unlikeness to that true kind; which unlikeness consists herein, that while that is above calumny and so permanent these quickly change and differ in many other points.
But there is another form of Friendship, that, namely, in which the one party is superior to the other; as between father and son, elder and younger, husband and wife, ruler and ruled. These also differ one from another: I mean, the Friendship between parents and children is not the same as between ruler and the ruled, nor has the father the same towards the son as the son towards the father, nor the husband towards the wife as she towards him; because the work, and therefore the excellence, of each of these is different, and different therefore are the causes of their feeling Friendship; distinct and different therefore are their feelings and states of Friendship.