be as remote as possible from goodness: to call it good is mere disloyalty to morals, brought about by some fantastic or dialectical passion. In excellence there is an essential bias, an opposition to the possible opposite; this bias expresses a mechanical impulse, a situation that has stirred the senses and the will. Impulse makes value possible; and the value becomes actual when the impulse issues in processes that give it satisfaction and have a conscious worth. Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character.
That thought is nature’s concomitant expression or entelechy, never one of her instruments, is a truth long ago divined by the more judicious thinkers, like Aristotle and Spinoza; but it has not met with general acceptance or even consideration. It is obstructed by superficial empiricism, which associates the better-known aspects of events directly together, without considering what mechani-
- Aristippus asked Socrates “whether he knew anything good, so that if he answered by naming food or drink or money or health or strength or valour or anything of that sort, he might at once show that it was sometimes an evil. Socrates, however, knew very well that if anything troubles us what we demand is its cure, and he replied in the most pertinent fashion. ‘Are you asking me,’ he said, ‘if I know anything good for a fever?’ ‘Oh, no,’ said the other. ‘Or for sore eyes?’ ‘Not that, either.’ ‘Or for hunger?’ ‘No, not for hunger.’ ‘Well, then,’ said he, ‘if you ask me whether I know a good that is good for nothing, I neither know it nor want to know it.’”—Xenophon, Memorabilia, iii., 8.