This week in philosophical class, the plan was to discuss about Aristotle’s Ethica Nicomachea. But I was sick on that night, having a sore throat and flu, I couldn’t be bothered to go to Ramphal building for the class. I went straight back home, made some lemonade, took medicine and went to sleep.
Ethica Nicomachea is considered to be one of the most important works on philosophy by Aristotle. I finished fast-reading it 3 days ago and couldn’t really understand anything, at all. But having had a go at its wikipedia page, I think it is a very interesting piece of art and perhaps I should do another reading on it. This time with meticulous attention spared on the smallest details and I guess, it would be really awesome if I can sort of like give comments and summary of the chapters every time I blog.
This time I shall be summarizing Book 1, Chapter 1. If you’re interested in reading it, click here.
Everything that we do, and every questions that we ask is thought to be aimed at some good motives. And because of that, we say that all things should lead to the “good”. But there are some crucial differences that we can observe from the “finished products" or the results. Aristotle once said that it was the nature of the product to be better than the actions that produced them. And because there are so many arts, sciences, and things that we do, there will be so many end results to them. It is sort of like, the outcome of medical sciences is doctor, economist comes out of economics, bread out of flour, table out of the art of carpentry.
But according to Aristotle,
"in all of these ends of the master arts are to be preferred to all the subordinate ends".I don’t quite understand this part. It might have to do with choosing priorities in life. For example, perhaps as a student I have to allocate time for studying, socializing, sleeping and so on. So the master arts for me should indeed be studying. I will be having more fun socializing with friends, and cuddling myself under the duvet in this bleak, cold winter. But, those are not my main arts. Those are just the sidelines, things which are not necessary but are awesomely fun.
"it is for the sake of the former that the latter are pursuit".Meaning that, whatever our main priorities at this very moment, we do need the “not so important things" like just having fun with friends, relaxing and stuffs, but there have got to be some limits to them. Those things are there, just to help us getting the main tasks done. They are not there on their own, without the absolute motive, there is no meaning in the sidelines. There might be some confusion over which and which should we put on the top. Things that we ought to be doing, or things that we just love to do? Ask yourself, ask myself, ask ourselves…
The life of this world is but play and amusement: and if ye believe and guard against Evil, He will grant you your recompense, and will not ask you (to give up) your possessions. (36) If He were to ask you for all of them, and press you, ye would covetously withhold, and He would bring out all your ill-feeling. (37) Behold, ye are those invited to spend (of your substance) in the way of Allah: but among you are some that are niggardly. But any who are niggardly are so at the expense of their own souls. But Allah is free of all wants, and it is ye that are needy. If ye turn back (from the Path), He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you! (38)