The Personalist Project

Comments (3)

Jules van Schaijik

#1, Jan 23, 2012 11:49am

What do you think of the kind of friendships one often develops with persons in the same club, or on the same team, or working the same place?

I am a member, for instance, of the local cycling club, and have developed a kind of friendship with the other riders. They know me, I know them, and we like riding together. I would really miss these relationships if I couldn't go cycling anymore. They are definitely not merely utilitarian, nor hedonistic. But neither, it seems, are they based on the good. I can't even claim a real personal interest in the other riders.

This seems to be a category of friendship that is not often talked about, and yet extremely important for human life.


#2, Jan 23, 2012 1:10pm

That's a good point of discussion. I believe that C.S. Lewis would consider that type of friendship storge. It is not as profound as philia, nor as personal as romantic love, eros. I wouldn't use the term "hedonistic," but I do think that it involves the "pleasure" aspect of friendship discussed by Aristotle. That's essentially what storge is: affection, pleasure. It might even be a mix of utility and pleasure; while you can very well cycle on your own, it is better when you can share your interests with others, for reasons of pleasure, safety, etc. What do you think?

Jules van Schaijik

#3, Jan 23, 2012 4:59pm

I don't have a complete or even semi-complete view of these kinds of friendship. Your post just made me wonder where they would fit into the theories of Aristotle, Lewis or von Hildebrand.

I while back I read Joseph Epstein's book, Friendship: An Expose. I don't remember it well, but it was an easy and rewarding read, and it had some good things to say about the more "ordinary friendships" I had in mind in the comment above.

I can't locate my copy, but a review on Amazon reminds me of Epstein's warning against the tendency to idealize our notions of friendship to such an extent that it becomes very hard to find one. The review quotes him:

At moments in the course of writing this book I had the staggering thought that I seemed to be coming out against friendship... That is not at all what I had in mind when I began... What I wanted was to take some of the air out of the idealization of friendship, so that a friend, like a teacher or a clergyman, need not always feel that he or she is falling short of an impossible ideal. 

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