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But it is also true to say of the man of good character that he performs many actions for the sake of his friends and his country, and if necessary even dies for them. For he will sacrifice both money and honours and in general the goods that people struggle to obtain, in his pursuit of what is <morally> fine. For he would rather have intense pleasure for a short time than quiet pleasure for a long time; rather live finely for one year than indifferently for many; and rather do one great and glorious deed than many petty ones. This result is presumably achieved by those who give their lives for others; so their choice is a glorious prize. Also the good man is ready to lose money on condition that his friends shall get more; for the friend gets money, but he himself gains fineness <of character>, so he assigns himself the greater good. He behaves in the same way too with regard to political honours and positions; all these he will freely give up to his friend, because that is a fine and praiseworthy thing for him to do. So it is natural that he is regarded as a man of good character, since he chooses what is fine in preference to anything else. He may even give up to his friend opportunities for doing fine actions, and it may be a finer thing for him to become the cause of his friend’s doing them than to have done them himself. Thus we see that in the whole field of praiseworthy conduct the good man assigns himself the larger share of what is fine. It is right, then (as we said before62), to be self-loving in this sense; but not in the sense in which most people are self-loving.ix.Are friends necessary for happiness?There is a disputable point also with regard to the happy man: whether he will need friends or not. For it is maintained that the supremely happy, who are self-sufficient, have no need of friends, because they have their good things; therefore 621169a11–15.BOOK IX
172與人文對話In Dialogue with Humanity1015202530being self-sufficient they need nothing further; but a friend, who is “another self”, supplies what a man cannot provide by his own efforts. Hence the line “When Fortune smiles on us, what need of friends?”63Yet it seems paradoxical that, while attributing all good things to the happy man, we should not assign him friends, who are considered to be the greatest of external goods. Besides, if it is more characteristic of a friend to confer than to receive a benefit, and doing good to others is characteristic of virtue and the good man, and it is better to do a kindness to a friend than to a stranger, the good man will need friends to receive his benefits. Hence arises a further question: Does one need friends more in prosperity or in adversity? because the unfortunate need people to be kind to them, and the fortunate need people to be kind to.