Friday, December 6, 2013

C.S. Lewis and the Meaning of Friendship

From Acculturated:
How does our society undervalue friendship?  One doesn’t need to think too long about how Facebook has changed our understanding of the subject.  In the virtual “community,” one can have thousands of friends, some of whom one might never have met or only know of through degrees of separation.  Though they may never have spent time together, two “friends” can view each other’s lives unfolding (or at least the best, happiest version of a life that is posted) by scanning photos, status updates, and commentary from other people.  They need not share any history, any present experiences, or even hope of meeting in the future. Twitter doesn’t even bother to characterize virtual relationships in terms of friendship; as someone’s “follower,” you need not even hope for reciprocated affection.

To this Lewis would offer, “We picture lovers face to face, but Friends side by side; their eyes look ahead.  This is why those pathetic people who simply ‘want friends’ can never make any.  The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends.  Where the truthful answer to the question, Do you see the same truth? would be, I see nothing and I don’t care about the truth; I only want a Friend,” no Friendship can arise.  There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about…and friendship must be about something…Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travelers.” (Read more.)

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