After this, the next step would be a discussion of friendship, since it is a virtue or involves virtue, and is an absolute necessity in life. No one would choose to live without friends, even if he had all the other goods. Indeed, rich people and those who have attained high office and power seem to stand in special need of friends. For what use is such prosperity if there is no opportunity for beneficence, which is exercised mainly and in its most commendable form towards friends? Or how could their prosperity be watched over and kept safe without friends? The greater it is, the greater the danger it is in. In poverty, too, and in other misfortunes, people think friends are the only resort.
Friendship benefits the young by keeping them from making mistakes, and the old by caring for them and helping them to finish jobs they are unable to finish themselves because of their weakness. And it benefits those in their prime by helping them to do noble actions – ‘two going together’ – since with friends they are more capable of thinking and acting.
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