Book 01
Chapter 02
We are all trying to get at "the good" of life.

Now, if there is a point to us doing what we do, if there is something that we want just in order to have it and not so that we can then get at something else instead ... Put it another way, if it is not the case that whenever we get something, we are forever only doing that for some other thing (and obviously if that were the case then we would just go on and on up to infinity), then it has got to be case that what we are really [ultimately] trying to get at is this thing that we call "the good".

If that is so, then it seems like it ought to follow that whether or not we know about what "the good" is will make a big difference on our lives. Who is more likely to score a hit and who is more likely to miss -- the person that is shooting at something or the person that is just shooting? Knowing "the good" is like having a something to be aiming at.

So let us try to figure out what "the good" is. We should try and figure out what sciences are about "the good" and which of our thinking abilities can get hold of this thing and work it.

It seems like if "the good" is going to be made as the goal of any of the arts then it should be the art that is set over and above all of them. That would be Politics. Through Politics it is decided what sciences get studied and which each class of citizens should learn and up to what point they should learn them. Also, we see even the arts and sciences that people think to be the best of all -- we see them to come under Politics: Strategy, Economics, Rhetoric all come under Politics.

Since Politics uses what comes out of the sciences and since Politics lays down the law as to what we are to do and avoid doing, this means that whatever it is that Politics is for will be (ultimately) what those other things are for also (like, for instance, how (1) making a bridle is for (2) riding horses and (2) riding horses is for (3) the military strategy, so also (1) knowing economics is for (2) making policy and (2) making policy is for (3) this thing we are about to say). If Politics is going to be for anything, what can it be for but "the good of man"?

"The good" means the same thing whether we are talking about one person or a whole state. Yet "the good" for a whole state seems to be a much greater thing than it would be for one person. So to get "the good" for the state instead of for a person is something higher and better.

What we want to figure out about here is "the good", and in a way, based on what we just went over, you can also say that we are figuring out about Politics as well.


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