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This is the reason why, when we are very much pleased with anything whatever, we do nothing else, and it is only when we are but moderately pleased with one occupation that we vary it with another: people, for instance, who eat sweetmeats in the theatre do so most when the performance is indifferent.
Since then the proper and peculiar Pleasure gives accuracy to the Workings and makes them more enduring and better of their kind, while those Pleasures which are foreign to them mar them, it is plain there is a wide difference between them: in fact, Pleasures foreign to any Working have pretty much the same effect as the Pains proper to it, which, in fact, destroy the Workings; I mean, if one man dislikes writing, or another calculation, the one does not write, the other does not calculate; because, in each case, the Working is attended with some Pain: so then contrary effects are produced upon the Workings by the Pleasures and Pains proper to them, by which I mean those which arise upon the Working, in itself, independently of any other circumstances. As for the Pleasures foreign to a Working, we have said already that they produce a similar effect to the Pain proper to it; that is they destroy the Working, only not in like way.
Well then, as Workings differ from one another in goodness and badness, some being fit objects of choice, others of avoidance, and others in their nature indifferent, Pleasures are similarly related; since its own proper Pleasure attends or each Working: of course that proper to a good Working is good, that proper to a bad, bad: for even the desires for what is noble are praiseworthy, and for what is base blameworthy.
Furthermore, the Pleasures attendant on Workings are more closely connected with them even than the desires after them: for these last are separate both in time and nature, but the former are close to the Workings, and so indivisible from them as to raise a question whether the Working and the Pleasure are identical; but Pleasure does not seem to be an Intellectual Operation nor a Faculty of Perception, because that is absurd; but yet it gives some the impression of being the same from not being separated from these.
As then the Workings are different so are their Pleasures; now Sight differs from Touch in purity, and Hearing and Smelling from Taste; therefore, in like manner, do their Pleasures; and again, Intellectual Pleasures from these Sensual, and the different kinds both of Intellectual and Sensual from one another.
It is thought, moreover, that each animal has a Pleasure proper to itself, as it has a proper Work; that Pleasure of course which is attendant on the Working. And the soundness of this will appear upon particular inspection: for horse, dog, and man have different Pleasures; as Heraclitus says, an ass would sooner have hay than gold; in other words, provender is pleasanter to asses than gold. So then the Pleasures of animals specifically different are also specifically different, but those of the same, we may reasonably suppose, are without difference.
Yet in the case of human creatures they differ not a little: for the very same things please some and pain others: and what are painful and hateful to some are pleasant to and liked by others. The same is the case with sweet things: the same will not seem so to the man in a fever as to him who is in health: nor will the invalid and the person in robust health have the same notion of warmth. The same is the case with other things also.
Now in all such cases that is held to be which impresses the good man with the notion of being such and such; and if this is a second maxim (as it is usually held to be), and Virtue, that is, the Good man, in that he is such, is the measure of everything, then those must be real Pleasures which gave him the impression of being so and those things pleasant in which he takes Pleasure. Nor is it at all astonishing that what are to him unpleasant should give another person the impression of being pleasant, for men are liable to many corruptions and marrings; and the things in question are not pleasant really, only to these particular persons, and to them only as being thus disposed.
Well of course, you may say, it is obvious that we must assert those which are confessedly disgraceful to be real Pleasures, except to depraved tastes: but of those which are thought to be good what kind, or which, must we say is The Pleasure of Man? is not the answer plain from considering the Workings, because the Pleasures follow upon these?
Whether then there be one or several Workings which belong to the perfect and blessed man, the Pleasures which perfect these Workings must be said to be specially and properly The Pleasures of Man; and all the rest in a secondary sense, and in various degrees according as the Workings are related to those highest and best ones.
Now that we have spoken about the Excellences of both kinds, and Friendship in its varieties, and Pleasures, it remains to sketch out Happiness, since we assume that to be the one End of all human things: and we shall save time and trouble by recapitulating what was stated before.
1176b] Well then, we said that it is not a State merely; because, if it were, it might belong to one who slept all his life through and merely vegetated, or to one who fell into very great calamities: and so, if these possibilities displease us and we would rather put it into the rank of some kind of Working (as was also said before), and Workings are of different kinds (some being necessary and choiceworthy with a view to other things, while others are so in themselves), it is plain we must rank Happiness among those choiceworthy for their own sakes and not among those which are so with a view to something further: because Happiness has no lack of anything but is self-sufficient.
By choiceworthy in themselves are meant those from which nothing is sought beyond the act of Working: and of this kind are thought to be the actions according to Virtue, because doing what is noble and excellent is one of those things which are choiceworthy for their own sake alone.
And again, such amusements as are pleasant; because people do not choose them with any further purpose: in fact they receive more harm than profit from them, neglecting their persons and their property. Still the common run of those who are judged happy take refuge in such pastimes, which is the reason why they who have varied talent in such are highly esteemed among despots; because they make themselves pleasant in those things which these aim at, and these accordingly want such men.
Now these things are thought to be appurtenances of Happiness because men in power spend their leisure herein: yet, it may be, we cannot argue from the example of such men: because there is neither Virtue nor Intellect necessarily involved in having power, and yet these are the only sources of good Workings: nor does it follow that because these men, never having tasted pure and generous Pleasure, take refuge in bodily ones, we are therefore to believe them to be more choiceworthy: for children too believe that those things are most excellent which are precious in their eyes.