Page:The ethics of Aristotle.djvu/249
slight extent, desiring as they do unfair advantage in things profitable while they shirk labour and service for the common good: and while each man wishes for these things for himself he is jealous of and hinders his neighbour: and as they do not watch over the common good it is lost. The result is that they quarrel while they are for keeping one another to work but are not willing to perform their just share.
[Sidenote: VII] Benefactors are commonly held to have more Friendship for the objects of their kindness than these for them: and the fact is made a subject of discussion and inquiry, as being contrary to reasonable expectation.
The account of the matter which satisfies most persons is that the one are debtors and the others creditors: and therefore that, as in the case of actual loans the debtors wish their creditors out of the way while the creditors are anxious for the preservation of their debtors, so those who have done kindnesses desire the continued existence of the people they have done them to, under the notion of getting a return of their good offices, while these are not particularly anxious about requital.
Epicharmus, I suspect, would very probably say that they who give this solution judge from their own baseness; yet it certainly is like human nature, for the generality of men have short memories on these points, and aim rather at receiving than conferring benefits.
But the real cause, it would seem, rests upon nature, and the case is not parallel to that of creditors; because in this there is no affection to the persons, but merely a wish for their preservation with a view to the return: whereas, in point of fact, they who have done kindnesses feel friendship and love for those to whom they have done them, even though they neither are, nor can by possibility hereafter be, in a position to serve their benefactors.
[Sidenote: 1168_a_] And this is the case also with artisans; every one, I mean, feels more affection for his own work than that work possibly could for him if it were animate. It is perhaps specially the