Nicomachean Ethics

by: Aristotle

Book X

1

This belief [that pleasure is refilling] seems to have arisen from pains and pleasures in connection with food; for first we are empty and suffer pain, and then take pleasure in the refilling. The same is not true, however, of all pleasures; for pleasures in mathematics, and among pleasures in perception those through the sense of smell, and many sounds, sights, memories, and expectations as well, all arise without [previous] pain.

2

[I]t seems correct to amuse ourselves so that we can do something serious, as Anacharsis says; for amusement would seem to be relaxation. Relaxation, then, is not [the] end; for we pursue it [to prepare] for activity.

3

[S]ome think it is nature that makes people good; some think it is habit; some that it is teaching. The [contribution] of nature clearly is not up to us, but results from some divine cause in those who have it, who are the truly fortunate ones. Arguments and teaching surely do not prevail on everyone, but the soul of the student needs to have been prepared by habits for enjoying and hating finely, like ground that is to nourish seed.