SPidge Tales

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Friendship

I have lived in Burlington, VT, Washington, DC, Saranac Lake, and good ole Rensselaer. Lots of people come into and out of my life. I have had some really good friends; yet, how many will be lasting? How many will I stay in touch with as the years go by? Chances are, only a handful. That does not mean that I have only had a few good friends. I think that is just the nature of life in our increasingly globalized world. Modern transportation affords us the opportunity to connect with people on every corner of the earth. I have friends from all parts of New York, throughout New England, and the rest of the country, as well as from places like Montreal, France, Ireland, and elsewhere. If I lived a century ago, I would probably only have friends within 100 miles of where I was born. Now, people come into and out of lives at places such as college, and also for me, summer camp, where you spend so much time together that you closely bond, yet after the experience, we each go in our separate directions, only catching up once every few months, then every few years—each time meeting up, knowing that things will never be the same, never be as good as they were; also knowing that you are not the same person as before, bringing to question whether had our initial meeting come now rather than the past, and in this situation, if we even could have been as close of friends.

I am not a big fan of Nietzsche, criticisms of which I will get into some later date on this blog. However, he has a passage on friendship that I find beautiful; one that nails the existential angst at our fruitless attempt to hold onto what may only be meant to be fleeting rays of sunshine.

Star friendship – We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did – and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see each other again; perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us. That we have to become estranged is the law above us; by the same token we should also become more venerable for each other and the memory of our former friendship more sacred. There is probably a tremendous but invisible stellar orbit in which our very different ways and goals may be included as small parts of this path; let us rise up to this thought. But our life is too short and our power of vision too small for us to be more than friends in the sense of this sublime possibility. – Let us then believe in our star friendship even if we should be compelled to be earth enemies. Nietzsche, "Human, All Too Human" II: I, 231

1 Comments:

Anonymous bernie said...

Great stuff on friendship. Absolutely right about mobility and its effects. We're always moving on to something else in life-i.e. Washington-Albany. When I look back, it's like all these fragmented experiences with a bunch of people, many of whom have gone their own way. But as Nietzsche says, there's something magic in those moments, even more so when we live in the faith and hope of our Lord.

8:30 PM  

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