A Personal Note on Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics’

Aristotle says there is a correct or natural enjoyment to be derived from a given task. For the musician it is the enjoyment when he hears notes played in harmony, building toward some melody. The musician’s enjoyment intensifies his pursuit, and hones his effort toward achieving excellence in his composition, so that his enjoyment—which is impersonal, and found in the task at hand rather than in him—will peak in tandem with the apotheosis of his musical achievement. The wise and virtuous composer who has prudently sought the Good in all his life’s pursuits, will be particularly concerned with achieving excellence in his vocation, and his capacity to enjoy will have been habituated by the noble ends he has oriented himself toward throughout his life, to the point that if he finds himself enjoying his work, too, then it must be because his work is good.

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