Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Eth. Nic.].
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1124b.1and such men, being unable to carry their prosperity, and thinking themselves superior to the rest of mankind, despise other people, although their own conduct is no better than another's. The fact is that they try to imitate the great-souled man without being really like him, and only copy him in what they can, reproducing his contempt for others but not his virtuous conduct.

ch. 3 For the great-souled man is justified in despising other people—his estimates are correct; but most proud men have no good ground for their pride.

ch. 3

The great-souled man does not run into danger for trifling reasons, and is not a lover of danger, because there are few things he values; but he will face danger in a great cause, and when so doing will be ready to sacrifice his life, since he holds that life is not worth having at every price.

ch. 3

He is fond of conferring benefits, but ashamed to receive them, because the former is a mark of superiority and the latter of inferiority. He returns a service done to him with interest, since this will put the original benefactor into his debt in turn, and make him the party benefited.

ch. 3 The great-souled are thought to have a good memory for any benefit they have conferred, but a bad memory for those which they have received (since the recipient of a benefit is the inferior of his benefactor, whereas they desire to be superior); and to enjoy being reminded of the former but to dislike being reminded of the latter: this is why the poet makes Thetis [Note] not specify her services to Zeus; nor did the Spartans treating with the Athenians [Note] recall the occasions when Sparta had aided Athens, but those on which Athens had aided Sparta.

ch. 3

It is also characteristic of the great-souled man never to ask help from others, or only with reluctance, but to render aid willingly; and to be haughty towards men of position and fortune, 1124b.20but courteous towards those of moderate station, because it is difficult and distinguished to be superior to the great, but easy to outdo the lowly, and to adopt a high manner with the former is not ill-bred, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people: it is like putting forth one's strength against the weak.

ch. 3 He will not compete for the common objects of ambition, or go where other people take the first place; and he will be idle and slow to act, except when pursuing some high honor or achievement; and will not engage in many undertakings, but only in such as are important and distinguished.

ch. 3 He must be open both in love and in hate, since concealment shows timidity; and care more for the truth than for what people will think; and speak and act openly, since as he despises other men he is outspoken and frank, except when speaking with ironical self-depreciation, [Note] as he does to common people.

ch. 3 He will be incapable of living at the will of another, unless a friend,



Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Eth. Nic.].
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