We’re reading Nicomachaen Ethics in my Philosophy 100 class. In Book IX Aristotle talks about friendship and what it requires. The three kinds of friendship he describes are:
1. utility: where each party finds something of use in the other
2. pleasure: whether it be simply enjoying each others company or sharing a common interest
3. complete: where self-interest is put aside and total moral virtue towards each other is key.
Aristotle claims that one should only have very few complete friendships for they require a lot of work and attention to keep strong. It was also said that there should be no justice among complete friends, meaning one shouldn’t expect everything to remain even. We should be willing to do anything for our friends even if that means not being at even with them. That being said, there are certain necessities for friendship:
-there should be a conscious reciprocity, meaning that the love within the friendship should be able to go both ways
-and that doing things for your friend isn’t something done merely out of goodwill for them. We should be willing to do those things out of complete love for them and not out of charity.
The reason I’m writing about this is because after I heard all of this, I realized that my friendships are always like this. I always seem to need justice within my friendships. This feeling probably comes from the pride within all of us. CS Lewis talked about pride in Mere Christianity as an ugly beast inside of us that works completely against all the good we hope for. It therefore is linked to humility. I want to be able to serve and love my friends without the expectation of eventual justice. It’s a daily battle I think we all fight.
That’s my two pennies.