C.S. Lewis on True Friendship – The Marginalian

“What’s so scrumptious as a simply and agency encounter of two, in a thought, in a sense?” Emerson marveled in his beautiful meditation on friendship. However what, precisely, is on the coronary heart of this “simply and agency encounter”?

In his insightful 1960 guide The 4 Loves (public library), C.S. Lewis (November 29, 1898–November 22, 1963) picks up the place Aristotle left off and examines the variations between the 4 primary classes of intimate human bonds — affection, essentially the most fundamental and expressive; Eros, the passionate and typically harmful want of lovers; charity, the very best and most unselfish religious connection; and friendship, the rarest, least jealous, and most profound relation.

In one of the crucial lovely passages, he considers how friendship differs from the opposite three kinds of love by specializing in its central query: “Do you see the identical fact.”

Lewis writes:

Lovers search for privateness. Mates discover this solitude about them, this barrier between them and the herd, whether or not they need it or not.


In a circle of true Mates every man is solely what he’s: stands for nothing however himself. Nobody cares twopence about anybody else’s household, occupation, class, earnings, race, or earlier historical past. In fact you’re going to get to learn about most of those ultimately. However casually. They may come out little by little, to furnish an illustration or an analogy, to function pegs for an anecdote; by no means for their very own sake. That’s the kingliness of Friendship. We meet like sovereign princes of impartial states, overseas, on impartial floor, free of our contexts. This love (primarily) ignores not solely our bodily our bodies however that entire embodiment which consists of our household, job, previous and connections. At house, apart from being Peter or Jane, we additionally bear a common character; husband or spouse, brother or sister, chief, colleague, or subordinate. Not amongst our Mates. It’s an affair of disentangled, or stripped, minds. Eros could have bare our bodies; Friendship bare personalities.

Therefore (if you’ll not misunderstand me) the beautiful arbitrariness and irresponsibility of this love. I’ve no responsibility to be anybody’s Pal and no man on the earth has an obligation to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is pointless, like philosophy, like artwork, just like the universe itself… It has no survival worth; quite it’s a kind of issues which give worth to survival.

The 4 Loves is an outstanding learn in its entirety, provocative at occasions however invariably considerate all through. Complement it with Andrew Sullivan on why friendship is a higher reward than romantic love and a curious historical past of the convergence of the 2 in “romantic friendship,” then revisit Lewis on struggling and what free will actually means, the key of happiness, the important thing to authenticity in writing, and his excellent day by day routine.

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