Plato's Sophist [174-175]

καὶ γὰρ ὁ νοῦς <τὸ κράτιστον> τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ <τὰ κράτιστα> τῶν γνωστῶν, περὶ ἃ ὁ νοῦς (1177a20).

3.) This mode of Being, which satisfies εὐδαιμονία, is συνεχέστατη (a21), that which most of all coheres in itself, that which is more unbroken than anything else. θεωρεῖν τε γὰρ δυνάμεθα συνεχῶς μᾶλλον ἢ πράττειν ὁτιοῦν (a21f.). Our human mode of Being entails that we are able to live more unbrokenly in the mode of pure onlooking than in the mode of acting. For action, in its very sense, is in each case different: according to circumstances, time, people. The constancy of acting, in the extension of a determined nexus of life, is continually interrupted by new commitments, each of which requires a decision. On the other hand, pure onlooking is in itself a uniform unbroken perseverance, which in its very sense cannot be otherwise. For it is an abiding with beings which in themselves cannot be otherwise. Whereas the beings of πρᾶξις can be different in each case and require a decision at every new moment, the pure considering of what is everlasting perseveres, as it were, in an enduring now. This third moment, the συνεχέστατον, is attributed to the comportment we know as the θεωρεῖν of σοφία.

4.) This θεωρεῖν of σοφία is that ἐνέργεια which is ἡδίστη (a2). Aristotle justifies this assertion in the following way: οἰόμεθά τε δεῖν ἡδονὴν παραμεμῖχθαι τῇ εὐδαιμονίᾳ (a22f.). We believe that in the most proper Being of man there is also mixed a corresponding humor, an affective disposition, namely ἡδονή, enjoyment. It is in general constitutive of the Being of a living being to be disposed in this or that way in relation to that with which and for which the living being exists. This basic constitution, which belongs to life, may not be lacking on the highest level of Being of a living being. The question is which mode of Being confers the purest ἡδίστή. ἡδίστη δὲ τῶν κατ᾽ ἀρετὴν ἐνεργειῶν ἡ κατὰ τὴν σοφίαν ὁμολογουμένως ἐστίν (a23f.). Everyone agrees that the purest joy comes from being present to beings κατὰ τὴν σοφίαν, i.e., from pure onlooking. This pure abiding-with, pure presence-to, is in itself the purest disposition in the broadest sense. The purity and stability of this disposition belonging to pure onlooking is again understandable only on the basis of what is thematic in the onlooking, namely what always is. It is not in the least possible for what is everlasting to admit a disturbance, a change, or a confusion in the self-comportment of man as a researcher. Thus it cannot destroy man's disposition from the root up. Man remains, insofar as he attends to th is object, in the same disposition. Therefore the abiding with what always is contains the possibility of διαγωγή, the possibility of a pure tarrying, which has nothing of the unrest of seeking. Seeking, for the Greeks, seeks the disclosure of the concealed, of the λανθάνον.