In poverty as well as in other misfortunes, people suppose that friends are their only refuge. And friendship is a help to the young, in saving them from error, just as it is also to the old, with a view to the care they require and their diminished capacity for action stemming from their weakness; it is a help to those in their prime in performing noble actions, for ‘two going together’ are better able to think and to act. – Aristotle
Aristotle “Father of the Western Philosophers” is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant and prolific among the Western philosophers. It’s impossible to say how much he wrote, but the fraction of his work still extant is stunning in scope. Every industry has been influenced by his thinking from Physics, Ethics, Economics, Astronomy more than 3000 years later. While we can still feel his impact in our walks of life, his enduring observations revolved around friendship, to which he saw as one of the true joys of life, and to have a well-lived life, one must have true, meaningful and lasting friendships.
When we were growing up, our parents and grandparents never got tired of explaining the importance of having friends that are of good character and guiding us to be the same. So often they’d warn you not to be seen with so and so from a certain family. And if you didn’t heed the advise, you’d receive a thorough beating that would make you question if they’re really your biological parents. They were RIGHT, always have been! Little did we know they were preparing us for the future . After all they know best. No? This morning, on of my “curiosity killed the cat” routine had me deeply- rooted in philosophy. Aristotle’s thoughts on friendship piqued my curiosity. To that interest, I learnt that he focused on two kinds of friendships that are more accidental than intentional. Oft, we fall in to these kind of friendships unbeknown.
One of the friendships he looked in to was Utility. This kind, both parties are not in it for affection. Rather, in it for the benefit each receives from the other party. Usually temporary; when the benefits ends so does the friendship. A wise person once said; You never know a person until they can’t get what they want from you. A perfect example for this would be; think of a business or work relationship. You may enjoy the time you spend together, but if the situation changes, the connection dwindles as well.
The accidental friendship is based on pleasure. This is very common with the younger generation. This relationship is grounded by the emotion felt at a given time or during certain activity. Be it in sports, adventure or drinking sprees. These two friendships are the most short-lived relationships of our lives. And that’s totally okay, and even necessary, to have accidental friendships as long as all parties enjoy through a mutual interest in something external — but there’s far more out there. The young generation go through phases in what they enjoy. Quite often, friends change along the way. To a great extent our friendships fall into these two accidental categories, and while Aristotle didn’t necessarily see them as bad, he did feel their lack in depth, limited their quality.
Friendship of the good seemed to be Aristotle’s most preferable.This kind of relationship is based on a mutual appreciation of the virtues the other person holds dear. Here, people and the qualities they represent provide the incentive to be in each others lives. Friendships of virtue take time and trust to build, which is entirely dependent on mutual growth.
This relationship endures a lot, because there’s a genuine and general level of goodness required for its existence. People who lack empathy and the ability to care for others seldom develop these kinds of relationships, because their preference tends toward pleasure or utility. We’re more likely to connect at this level with someone when we’ve seen them at their worst and watched them grow or if we’ve gone through a hardship together.
Beyond depth and intimacy, the beauty of these relationships is in how they include the rewards of the other two types. They’re beneficial and pleasurable. When you respect and care for a person, you gain joy from spending time with them, making that call or drop them that Good Morning Beautiful/Handsome text.If you’re a good enough person to warrant such a relationship to begin with, there’s utility there, too. They help maintain your mental and emotional health.
Time and intention is a MUST for them to blossom with trust, admiration, and awe.