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“Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these well wish alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves”
The topic of friendship is one discussed in one of Aristotle’s most popular works, Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle believes that humans have virtues, one in particular being friendship. Aristotle believes that there are three different types of friendship; that of utility, friendship of pleasure, and virtuous friendship. He argues that friendship should be highly valued and he goes on to explain his theories that break down into self-love. If you don’t love yourself, how are you going to love someone else? One should be living towards virtue, taking care of themselves and always trying to improve for their overall greater good. The highest form of friendship, shown in the passage above, is friendship of virtue. This type of friendship is based on a person wishing the best for their friends regardless of utility or pleasure. This friendship is long lasting and tough to obtain because these types of people are hard to come by and it takes a lot of effort to obtain. Friendship is necessary for life because life without friends is an unhappy one.
I agree with the idea that friends are necessary to live a good life. I agree with Aristotle because I have had a firsthand relationship like the one he discussed. From my own experience, I can attest to the ideology of friends forming a second family and a sense of security. I moved away from home two years ago to attend St. John’s, it was a interesting adjustment to make, a lonely one to say the least. I went through my days missing something, I knew there was more to life than the one that I was leading. I studied abroad in Paris during the spring semester of 2016 and that experience changed my life. Not only from a cultural standpoint, but also in terms of friendship. I met the person that was the piece that I had been missing for more than just the past two years, but my whole life, she is my friend Sydney. She has taught me the true meaning of friendship, the one addressed by Aristotle. I believe our friendship emulates his words exactly. We both love each other but we also love ourselves. We are complete opposites but in a beautiful way because we are able to both bring something to the table. She brings optimism and a carefree spirit to my more realistic and grounded approach. We are yin and yang. It is a friendship I see transcending time and space because we both try to help the other improve in more ways than one. It is infrequent and rare and requires a lot of time and familiarity but I know that it is a special one because from the moment we stepped onto the Paris campus, she felt like home. We have been through what most others can only imagine, living in another country, but we did it together and that will stay with us for a lifetime. I celebrate and embrace her successes as I would my own and I am there for grievances as I would want someone to be there for me. She is there in that way as well but also is there to always listen while I try to problem solve. I think a lot of people living in today’s society are focused on the self and competing with one another to get to that next level. Often times forgetting that it takes a village, one needs a sense of community to achieve their goals and friends by their side to help them along the way. I also think the key element to a virtuous friendship is that of self-love, not in a selfish way but trying to better yourself for you and your friend. Always trying to be the best possible person that you can be to add to the friendship so you two can both benefit. Two people that are able to grow together will be friends forever.
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