Intention: On Friendship

Monday Motivation.Inspiration.Gratitude…and all that good stuff: friendship.

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From Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“What is so delicious as a just and firm encounter of two, in a thought, in a feeling?”

In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis examines four main categories of intimate human bonds:
Affection, the most basic and expressive;
Eros, the passionate and sometimes destructive desire of lovers;
Charity, the highest and most unselfish spiritual connection;
and Friendship, the rarest, least jealous, and most profound relation.

He asks the question of friendship: “Do you see the same truth?”

Lovers seek for privacy. Friends find this solitude about them, this barrier between them and the herd, whether they want it or not.

In a circle of true Friends each man is simply what he is: stands for nothing but himself. No one cares twopence about anyone else’s family, profession, class, income, race, or previous history. Of course you will get to know about most of these in the end. But casually. They will come out bit by bit, to furnish an illustration or an analogy, to serve as pegs for an anecdote; never for their own sake. That is the kingliness of Friendship. We meet like sovereign princes of independent states, abroad, on neutral ground, freed from our contexts. This love (essentially) ignores not only our physical bodies but that whole embodiment which consists of our family, job, past and connections. At home, besides being Peter or Jane, we also bear a general character; husband or wife, brother or sister, chief, colleague, or subordinate. Not among our Friends. It is an affair of disentangled, or stripped, minds. Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.

Hence (if you will not misunderstand me) the exquisite arbitrariness and irresponsibility of this love. I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gave value to survival.”

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