Life is not a romantic comedy. If anything, it is more of an epic journey that oozes with dramatic fluctuations and foments peril. Nothing more or less, life is just a sequence of neediness and satisfaction, entwined into a demented sense of enjoyment for the creator entity that studies this majestic experiment.
Unfortunately, neediness is one of the fundamental drives of all living organisms. However, whereas in the animal kingdom neediness is defined as the drive for survival, forcing creatures to instinctively fight to cover any arising needs, humans rationalise the arising needs and define rules and excuses for the actions they take towards fulfilling them. Of course, human rationalisation is nothing more than a bunch of pathetic excuses; the most basic approach of reason will prove that they are just a pile of incoherent answers to carefully placed questions. Questions formed in such a way as to not even scratch the surface of the matters they offend.
…One of the most basic needs of humans is that of companionship. It appears that through the aeons, men have become puppets on strings attached to notions well-fed and maintained by whichever principle decides there’s profit in doing so.
The strings quiver, the puppets dance.
So what happens if one attempts to sever these strings?
Aristotle says that no man can live alone, unless he is a God or a beast; and I’m not one to go against the quotes of such a historical figure. But, what if one attempts to put this quote into historical context?
In our day and time, what is there that a man would be missing if life was to brush him ashore a devastated world that would still have every single tangible object and all living organisms – save for the notion of friendship?
Okay, just for the sake of argument, I’ll give you the sentiment of nostalgia and all the romantic excuses that you can come up with for the absence of friends, but, after you dig into the essence of true friendship, what are the practical implications that derive from the absence of friends?
Truthful answer: there is none.
Life can be broken down into the absolute essentials of fortune and honesty. Give me a steady venue of income and a bunch of trustworthy people and you can have the rest of the world as your friends. Take up the wager and see who will be crying for the most part.
For friends are not the beautiful images painted by Disney moving pictures, Aesop’s tales and the idealised notion that we incept, since the very first years of our lives. Friends are the strings that keep us from becoming all that we should, all that we could and all that we would, if it wasn’t for their applied notion of friendship that -somehow- implies the expression of ideas and notions that will corrupt a person’s inner drive for achievement. Being it excellence or something far darker, but the person’s own, nonetheless.
Truth be told, I have nothing against my friends. Then again, this is only the case because I choose to have none.
Why? Because of their needs. Their needs come in extreme contradiction to mine. If I am to preserve the man that I became and I’ve come to like through the years, I choose to cover my own needs instead of constantly, hectically, radically working on either covering their needs or saving them from self-contradicting sparks of needs that are not even their own.
In fact, friends are mere individuals whose friendship embodies a greater need. It might be anything from just an ear to listen to a catholic plan for world domination; but, in any case, friends are there for as long as that specific need prevails.
…Truthfully, I’m just tired.
Most of all, I’m disappointed.
Disappointed in all those that either claimed to be, or anyway role-played as, friends, but, most importantly, I’m disappointed in my very own self.
Because I let others describe my life for me; and that alone, is a fatal mistake in the world I’m painting for a better tomorrow.
In the sense of everyday life, friends are those who will gather to discuss another friend, in the absence of that friend. Friends are those who will not overlook their own image of excellence when it comes to comparing it, side by side, to either their friends or their friends’ choices for life.
In the sense of everyday life, friends are the voiced beliefs, nailed through the heart onto past convictions. They are the buzzing sound of farraginous bearings imposed as universal truths, as ultimate, homogeneous ideals.
In an astronomical metaphor, where the universe is made up by an individual and his/her friends, friends are those planetary objects in the universe that cannot withstand or ignore the spots on their combined, universal, immaculate excellence; always judging based on their private data, collected since birth to that day. Slowly, certainly, the objects fade out, towards other systems, the orbits change, until at some point, for shorter or longer periods, that individual will have to populate the universe alone. It doesn’t matter whether the individual believed in them, or even perhaps depended on them. They subside and they depart.
If the person was a sun, he/she will shine; if he/she had always been a star, he/she will fade and die in oblivion.
…True friends are nothing short of a fantasy.
Even worse, true friendship is a luxury so highly overrated that, to me, it simply appears to be of great value to those only who maintain its perseverance through the years. What’s the point?
Life is not meant to be shared with marionettes who simply look out for their own satisfaction. Granted, each and every moment one lives in the company of a trusted friend is a little treasure that will be of great importance as the years pass and the old soul will have nothing and no one left but its very own anamneses. Maybe that is the sole reason why people endure through all those stupid, useless and absolutely pointless human interactions.
For the true moment of solitude at the end of this journey. A man needs a pillow of memories to rest his head on when the end comes.
Other than that, what’s the value in depending on people who will either extend their ego over your cry for attention, or even help; people who will burn bridges to be with someone (rightfully or wrongfully so), people who will choose to let go of you just as you had decided to let go of the things that made you the person you were.
In all honesty, friendship is the extensive pest that would be family, if family was not limited within the boundaries of the chain defined by a blood relation. The only good thing that comes out of friendship is the collection of memories that in the passing of years seems to eradicate all the dark moments and glorify all the little, silly, happy experiences. All in a work of art, weaved as the final presentation before the curtain falls on that final moment.
Romanticism aside, friends are a pest. They are the sum of worry of rejection and strings of behaviour and fear of acceptance and anxiety of diversion and agony of self-expression and…
Friends are all those things that will not allow a person to grow. In extreme conditions, friends are all those things that will not allow a person to be.
A people are only as good as their ties will allow them or push them to become. It is fairly healthy to say that a loving family will always push people to try harder. Some, since I already extended friends as the controlling voice of family, will imply that friends too push their friends to try harder.
Towards what end? What friend, what man, what sensible and right-in-their-mind individual can truthfully say that what friends judge as right, is honestly correct for the individual? But, even more importantly, what friend, what man, what higher form of intelligence really drives their friends towards excellence bigger than their own?
Friends are the anchors that keep the individual from shooting upwards to better choices. Nobody, no one, ever, wishes to witness a friend accomplishing more than them. Not unless it means some kind of profit for themselves too.
Granted, people will argue that a life without friends is a sad life without laughter and joy. A party of people who will gather for a coffee on an odd afternoon does not fall into the friendship category. There will always be someone to share a laugh or two with. That does not necessarily imply the birth of a new friendship. Because friendship itself would imply and impose a set of rules and a framework of dignity, integrity, honesty and decency that no human -no matter what age, sex or geographical location- can ever dignify.
Because humans have mistaken the ideal of friendship for something of much less importance.
Friendship does not grant amnesty.
Friendship, at best, grants tolerance. But, tolerance exploited only proceeds rationalisation; and rational thought, when dealing with betrayed trust, will neither succumb to lesser sympathies, nor value previous anamneses of sparks of friendship.
Sparks of friendship do not equal friendship. They are a mere substitute for mammals with nothing better to do; it should be valued just as such.
So, in the end, perhaps Aristotle himself was not referring to friends. Perhaps he was just referring to everyday acquaintances that will simply spice up the day. Or perhaps, he was referring to sexual relationships that connect people to one another. We will never know; but, certainly, using that quote to prove that friendship is invaluable, is nothing short of cheap.
If anything, man is better off friendless. Adversaries can always be distinguished. Friends are less prone to identification. They have the advantage of not having to reveal the needs hidden behind the active endeavour of hunting for a new friend.