In Book X of Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, he writes about pleasure and happiness. Aristotle makes the point that happiness and pleasure should not be confused with each other. He argues that pleasure is not good, but a good. Pleasure is not a process, and not all pleasures are desirable, so pleasure is not the supreme Good. However, happiness is not a process. It is an activity that serves as an end itself. Aristotle writes that happiness is our highest goal in life. He touches on the idea of contemplation being our “highest rational faculties” and like happiness, it is an end in itself. This quality is observed in happiness and contemplation, but not in practical activities.
A supreme God could spend an entire lifetime only occupied with contemplation, so humans should strive to achieve this activity through happiness. Aristotle writes that all the moral virtues have to do with aspects of human life. These aspects are necessary in life, but only secondary to the godlike act of contemplation. Humans need to act morally, but it is not a quality needed for contemplation. To contemplate means to admire something, or think about something. I believe that to be truly moral, you often have to contemplate your morals and know what you stand for and believe in. I believe that in order to be moral, you must be capable of deep contemplation and reflection. This differs from Aristotle’s belief that the two are not connected.
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