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Aug 16 2016

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On friendship…

In another great post from Brain Pickings, Maria Popova muses about friendship and the commodification of the word friend:

I often puzzle over the nature, structure, and function of friendship in human life — a function I have found to be indispensable to my own spiritual survival and, I suspect, to that of most human beings. But during a recent interview on Think Again, I found myself concerned with the commodification of the word “friend” in our culture. We call “friends” peers we barely know beyond the shallow roots of the professional connection, we mistake mere mutual admiration for friendship, we name-drop as “friends” acquaintances associating with whom we feel reflects favorably on us in the eyes of others, thus rendering true friendship vacant of Emerson’s exacting definition. We have perpetrated a corrosion of meaning by overusing the word and overextending its connotation, compressing into an imperceptible difference the vast existential expanse between mere acquaintanceship and friendship in the proper Aristotelian sense.

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from a vintage ode to friendship by Janice May Udry

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from a vintage ode to friendship by Janice May Udry

In countering this conflation, I was reminded of philosopher Amelie Rorty’s fantastic 1976 taxonomy of the levels of personhood and wondered what a similar taxonomy of interpersonhood might look like. I envisioned a conception of friendship as concentric circles of human connection, intimacy, and emotional truthfulness, each larger circle a necessary but insufficient condition for the smaller circle it embraces.“I live my life in widening circles,” Rilke wrote.

Friendship

Read the whole post here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/16/friendship/

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/on-friendship/