Humans therefore must carry out all actions and functions that make them into human beings and distinguish them from animals. Aristotle concludes that what distinguishes human beings from animals is their capacity of rational thinking. We are therefore happy as human beings when we do well what makes us human and distinguishes us from other species.
But to seek happiness and fulfillment is not all that makes us human – human beings are also inherently very social beings and are political animals (Politics I.2) who seek to live in communities. Aristotle thinks that the state is the highest form of community, but at this point we should bear in mind that at his time the form of state and government Aristotle was most familiar with was the Greek polis, or city state, a relatively small entity both in geographic terms and in terms of population size.
To Aristotle the polis encompasses all other human associations, from the family nucleus to clans to trade associations. A polis must have a constitution by which the lives of all citizens are organized and it must have a ruler, or law giver. It is important that the polis aims to achieve the highest good for all its citizens. In turn, as human beings are political animals, they can only achieve the good life by organizing themselves as citizens in a state. Citizenship may include holding a public office or serving as an administrator, but always includes some form of direct involvement and service rendered to the polis.
Aristotle has three steps in mind, according to the age of a citizen: at a young age a citizen should serve as a soldier to defend his state, in middle age he should hold a public or administrative office and as an older citizen he should carry out religious duties. Citizens should be awarded for their efforts depending how much they have contributed to the running of the state.
Aristotle warns against excess in any form and advocates moderation and inclusiveness. The rich and the poor should