Let it be assumed by us that pleasure is a certain movement of the soul, a sudden and perceptible settling down into its natural state…
And if pleasure consists in the sensation of a certain emotion, and imagination is a weakened sensation, then both the man who remembers and the man who hopes will be attended by an imagination of what he remembers or hopes. This being so, it is evident that there is pleasure both for those who remember and for those who hope, since there is sensation.
Therefore our recollections are pleasant, not only when they recall things which when present were agreeable, but also some things which were not, if their consequence subsequently proves honorable or good; whence the saying: “Truly it is pleasant to remember toil after one has escaped it,” and, “When a man has suffered much and accomplished much, he afterwards takes pleasure even in his sorrows when he recalls them.”
The lovesick always take pleasure in talking, writing, or composing verses about the beloved; for it seems to them that in all this recollection makes the object of their affection perceptible.
Love always begins in this manner, when men are happy not only in the presence of the beloved, but also in his absence when they recall him to mind.
This is why, even when his absence is painful, there is a certain amount of pleasure even in mourning and lamentation; for the pain is due to his absence, but there is pleasure in remembering and, as it
were, seeing him and recalling his actions and personality.
A friend also is among pleasant things, for it is pleasant to love … just as it is pleasant to be loved; for in this case also a man has an impression that he is really endowed with good qualities, a thing desired by all who perceive it; and to be loved is to be cherished for one’s own sake.
And since that which is in accordance with nature is pleasant, and things which are akin are akin in accordance with nature, all things akin and like are for the most part pleasant to each other, as man to man; horse to horse, youth to youth.
And since things which are akin and like are always pleasant to one another, and every man in the highest degree feels this in regard to himself, it must needs be that all men are more or less selfish;
for it is in himself above all that such conditions are to be found.
Since, then, all men are selfish, it follows that all find pleasure in what is their own, such as their works and words. That is why men as a rule are fond of those who flatter and love them, of honor, and of children; for the last are their own work.