4. If, then, the perfect life is within human reach, the man attaining it attains happiness: if not, happiness must be made over to the gods, for the perfect life is for them alone.
But since we hold that happiness is for human beings too, we must consider what this perfect life is. The matter may be stated thus:
It has been shown elsewhere that man, when he commands not merely the life of sensation but also Reason and Authentic Intellection, has realised the perfect life.
But are we to picture this kind of life as something foreign imported into his nature?
No: there exists no single human being that does not either potentially or effectively possess this thing which we hold to constitute happiness.
But are we to think of man as including this form of life, the perfect, after the manner of a partial constituent of his entire nature?
We say, rather, that while in some men it is present as a mere portion of their total being- in those, namely, that have it potentially- there is, too, the man, already in possession of true felicity, who is this perfection realized, who has passed over into actual identification with it. All else is now mere clothing about the man, not to be called part of him since it lies about him unsought, not his because not appropriated to himself by any act of the will.
To the man in this state, what is the Good?
He himself by what he has and is.
And the author and principle of what he is and holds is the Supreme, which within Itself is the Good but manifests Itself within the human being after this other mode.
The sign that this state has been achieved is that the man seeks nothing else.
What indeed could he be seeking? Certainly none of the less worthy things; and the Best he carries always within him.
He that has such a life as this has all he needs in life.
Once the man is a Sage, the means of happiness, the way to good, are within, for nothing is good that lies outside him. Anything he desires further than this he seeks as a necessity, and not for himself but for a subordinate, for the body bound to him, to which since it has life he must minister the needs of life, not needs, however, to the true man of this degree. He knows himself to stand above all such things, and what he gives to the lower he so gives as to leave his true life undiminished.
Adverse fortune does not shake his felicity: the life so founded is stable ever. Suppose death strikes at his household or at his friends; he knows what death is, as the victims, if they are among the wise, know too. And if death taking from him his familiars and intimates does bring grief, it is not to him, not to the true man, but to that in him which stands apart from the Supreme, to that lower man in whose distress he takes no part.